Monday, August 13, 2018

Rep. Teague speaks out about deceptive group targeting conservative legislators

There's a shady "dark money" group out there that's targeting conservative Republican legislators, while under the name Conservative Alliance PAC. It's anything but conservative, and the DC-based group is using deceit and flat-out lies to try to amputate conservatism from the Oklahoma Legislature.

State Rep. Tess Teague (R-Choctaw) is one of the conservatives being targeted by the group during the runoff election; Teague recently posted the following rebuttal to their attacks:

State Rep. Tess Teague, R-Dist. 101
It appears as though an out-of-state organization is attacking myself and other conservatives in the Legislature, sending mail and unsolicited text messages to our constituents with the same message that we "voted against a teacher pay raise four times." It would almost be laughable if it wasn't so disrespectful to voters because this is intentional deceit. You're being lied to. So let's talk about facts. In 2017, the House passed HB1114, the teacher pay raise bill. It passed the House with a vote of 92-7 (five democrats and two republicans voted no), but the Senate refused to hear it. If they had, we would have successfully raised teacher pay a year before the walkout. It would have been the first time teacher pay had been raised since 2006. Since the Senate ultimately failed our bill, we tried again in 2018. This time we passed HB1023XX (teacher pay raise) and HB1026XX (support staff pay raise) and these bills also passed the Senate, were signed by the Governor and became law. This happened the week before the walkout.

I voted for all three of these pieces of legislation. What I didn't vote for were packages of massive taxation which included Step Up, A+, A++ and HB1010XX. I voted against all four of them. If out of state entities are saying I voted against teacher pay raises four times because I voted against taxation four times, I would say they're very confused. Since when is raising taxes synonymous with supporting education? It's not. I voted in favor of every single teacher pay raise and yet people who want conservatives out of the House will try to convince you that I'm anti-education. I voted for every single teacher pay raise but the OEA has targeted my district for a "day of action" - I vote in support of teachers but the OEA doesn't care about that, they have a vested interest in a different agenda of raising taxes and getting rid of conservatives. The argument I've faced is that the tax raises were necessary to pay for the teacher pay raise - that's also not true. Even our House leadership has come out and said that we wound up having such a surplus that we could have paid for the raises without new or increased taxation. This has been what conservatives have been saying since day one. I'm thankful for an economy on the rise and there's been a lot of work put into making sure our state pulled itself out of the deficit we were in. On the national level, we finally have a president committed to growing the economy as evidenced by our 4.1% GDP growth – the former administration only got to 1.6%. I'm proud of the Legislature for righting our financial ship here at home and it is exciting to see Oklahoma's thriving economy. But I am absolutely heartbroken that the rhetoric of "raising taxes is the only way to do it" won during session and that those of us with the foresight to see past the politics are being demonized for doing the right thing: supporting education AND protecting taxpayer's wallet.

On August 25 when the OEA targets my district with their "day of action" I need your help. Conservatives, this is our day of action. I won't let my voters be lied to. Stand with me and say "enough is enough" - these kind of tactics won't win over our country and they won't win over our state. Let me know if you'd like to join my group of volunteers from now until August 28, every little bit helps.


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