Vacation, y'all! 

In a May 25 editorial, Gov. Brad Henry encouraged readers to "see Oklahoma first" this summer, and soon I will be sending the "Read Y'All" governor an invoice for a replacement keyboard. You see, I spit coffee out of my mouth with such velocity upon reading his comment that my keyboard was forced to find home in the recycle bin.


The governor's intentions are laudable and his desire to promote Oklahoma parks, lakes and resorts should be a priority for a sitting executive. But the irony stacks up so fast that you need wings to rise above it, particularly when such a statement comes from the desk of a governor who has spent the vast majority of his vacation time not only outside of the great state of Oklahoma, but in Mexico.


Evidently, Henry's public relations campaign for the state is working out very well in Mexico, because recent reports indicate that Mexican citizens are flocking to Oklahoma in record numbers, resulting in the most sweeping immigration reform in our nation being signed into law. But, I digress.


Henry wrote (presumably from his laptop while sitting poolside in Cancún), "If you enjoy outdoor recreation, Oklahoma has some of the best fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking and water sports to be found anywhere."


He is absolutely correct, but that isn't the real issue, is it? His statement is reminiscent of the Mitt Romney claim of being a "lifelong hunter," when it came out later he actually had been out in the field only twice in his life. Two very, very long hunts we presume. Are we setting our expectations far too high for our governor? Is it unrealistic to expect our governor to spend his vacation time within the state he governs?


If we can't get our chief executive to spend his taxpayer-funded salary to utilize Oklahoma parks, how can we expect the average Oklahoman to do so? (So much for the whole "leadership by example" axiom.) KFOR-TV Channel 4 reported that between 2005 and 2006, "Gov. Vacation Y'All" billed the taxpayers of Oklahoma nearly $260,000 for out-of-state travel. Some trips, of course, were business-related, but the fact that taxpayers have had to foot the security detail bill for vacations to Mexico is offensive on many levels, and for the governor to have the audacity to write an editorial promoting Oklahoma destinations is the height of hypocrisy.


In other words, don't expect to see any party pictures on the Internet of the governor at LakeTexoma anytime soon.


Having the privilege to host a Sunday evening outdoor program on Fox Sports Radio KEBC-AM 1340 (shameless plug) focusing on the great Oklahoma outdoors, I have traveled the state to hunt, fish, camp and review Oklahoma's many outdoor opportunities, and I am yet to hear a single story around the Gorilla campfire about Henry being seen enjoying a wildlife management area, a state park or one of our many lakes.


We've heard more stories about Bigfoot sightings in Oklahoma parks than Brad Henry sightings.

Black, the artist formerly known as "The 400-Pound Gorilla," is a political consultant and former talk show host living in Edmond.


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Ron Black

Voice Overs... Now is Your Time! @ Mustang High School

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