Tough decision on special session

by Jessica Garvin

I’ve been praying over what decision to make regarding the call for a special session to address vaccine mandates. I’ve had numerous discussions with constituents on both sides of the issue – some believe that the government should not get involved, while others believe the government should interject and stop individuals from mandating vaccines in their private businesses.

Some ask that I sign on, which supports the idea that a private business owner’s personal freedom doesn’t matter. I cannot fathom telling someone that they don’t have the authority to make decisions regarding their own business. However, I’m also not okay with people losing their jobs over their medical choices, which should always remain a personal decision. Unfortunately, I’m challenged with deciding whose personal freedoms are more important – the employee or employer. Each decision will result in someone being angry, but I believe both individuals have equal rights.

Last session, I voted to create a fund for our Attorney General to fight against federal overreach, like that of the vaccine mandates. As Republicans, we believe the government shouldn’t interfere in business operations. However, there is a group of Republicans requesting the Legislature go into special session to do just that. Republicans have many core values, two of those being limited government and personal freedom. Now these two fundamental beliefs are in conflict. 

I cannot tell you how many times over the past months that people have ‘threatened’ to run a candidate against me in 2024 because of my decision to not yet support a special session. However, our attorney general has been successful in his pursuit to stop the federal government’s unconstitutional mandates. A week of special session would cost approximately $120,000; and it’s difficult justifying spending additional funds to address an issue that our attorney general is already fighting with lawsuits that have been successful so far.

I’m blessed to get to be your Senator, but when my first term is over, I know God has a plan for me. I don’t know if He’ll even call me to run again, but I have peace in knowing that He has a plan, and I’m confident in knowing that His plan is perfect. Because of that confidence, threats of an opponent, should I even choose to run again, don’t bother me.

I’ve been considering the difference between politics and public policy. Mr. Larry Hosek, of Wayne, recently sent an email regarding legislation a colleague has filed to ‘fix’ education. With his permission, I’m sharing a part of that email: “This bill is for nothing more than cheap political points and does not change anything. It is political pandering by someone who does not know what really goes on in a classroom, to people who also do not know… It will reflect the will of the ruling party.” 

To Mr. Hosek’s point, there are some bills filed for ‘political pandering,’ and those bills are just politics. He also mentioned that bills such as these “reflect the will of the ruling party”. I couldn’t have defined politics any better. This type of law is simply overturned if and when a different party takes control. They often appeal to a legislator’s voter base, earn publicity, and look good on a mailer during campaign season. I’m not here to rack up points for campaign season. 

Public policy is timeless. So unfortunately for those who are recruiting a candidate for the next election, I’m not focused on that. I believe that I was called to do the right thing, right now, and to spend my four years in office creating public policy that will benefit all Oklahomans, regardless of their political party, while using my conservative beliefs as the foundation for my decisions. Although Mr. Hosek was referring to an education bill, I believe his points apply to everything we do in the legislature and is a good reminder to focus on good public policy, not politics.

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov or call (405) 521-5522.



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