What makes Oklahoma unique is the stateâs populist roots, valuing work and labor over the almighty dollar.
That was the message Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello brought to Newcastle when he spoke before a small crowd Friday, April 11 at Bigg Papaâs.
Part of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerceâs Breakfast with the Legislators program, Costello spoke largely about his officeâs work to reform workerâs compensation, and how legislators in Washington, D.C. would not be so quick to regulate if they understood the burden regulation puts on small business.
â(Democrat) George McGovern ran for President in 1972, but what I admire about McGovern was his honesty,â Costello said. âAfter that, he went to form a business for the first time in his life ... he encountered for the first time the nanny state regulations.â
If McGovern had understood how federal regulations strangle businesses before his term in government, the staunchly liberal U.S. senator would have been a âmore effective legislator,â Costello said, citing an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
Costello touted the stateâs efforts to lower workersâ comp costs by changing the process from an adversarial system to an administrative one. Citing neighboring state Arkansas, Costello spoke about how Oklahoma has been able to lower costs by minimizing the role of lawyers in the process.
âItâs supposed to be workerâs comp, not lawyerâs comp,â Costello said.
As the 2014 legislative session begins to wrap up, Costello told attendees that Oklahomans have to be mindful of how they want the next 125 years to pan out.
âPlaces like Detroit have failed, but we still expect the government to provide an economic stimulus,â Costello said. â The great things that happen in Oklahoma happen because people follow their dreams.â
After speaking, Costello answered a few questions, championing the privatization of elevator inspections and the repeal of common core.
âCommon Core is one of the best-worst ideas ever,â he said, stating that education reform should be about empowering parents and communities to make the best decisions for their childrensâ educations, not dictating curriculum from the state house or Capitol Hill for the benefit of corporations.
âKids are not an economic unit. They are made in the image of God,â Costello said.