Bobby (Bob) Wilks, 84

Born September 20, 1937

Died August 17, 2022

Richard Glen Byrd, 60

Born September 1, 1961

Died August 16, 2022

Larance S. Hill, 67

Born October 20, 1954

Died August 15, 2022

Joan Ann (Benge) Gladd, 87

Born December 28, 1934

Died August 14, 2022

Linda McDonald, 79

Born July 20, 1943

Died August 14, 2022


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Friday, July 15, 2022, 7:38 AM

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, held a press conference Thursday morning to call for immediate inflation relief for Oklahoma families.

Democrats expressed the need for financial relief for Oklahoma families before the 2022 legislative session began. A month and a half past the conclusion of the legislative session, Democrats say the Republican supermajority has failed to follow through.

“We have had opportunities recently to provide relief,” Virgin said. “House Republicans and Governor Stitt joined House Democrats to call for an end to the state grocery tax. Democrats called for an end to the fuel tax, but Republicans tabled that measure.”

The Democratic Caucus renewed the call for immediate inflation relief in the wake of Panasonic rejecting a more than $700 million tax incentive.

“With yesterday’s announcement that Panasonic would locate to Kansas and not Oklahoma, House Democrats think it is appropriate to discuss shifting our focus from attracting this billion-dollar company to using that money to provide relief to Oklahoma families,” Virgin said. “We now have an opportunity to provide Oklahomans relief at the grocery store and the gas pump.”

Now that Panasonic decided not to locate here, Democrats believe it’s necessary to understand what kept the company from choosing Oklahoma.

“We heard yesterday that proximity to Texas was a reason the company chose Kansas, but anyone with a basic understanding of geography knows that Oklahoma is closer to Texas,” Virgin said. “It seems that there is probably more to the story.”

Considering Panasonic’s commitment to an inclusive work environment, House Democrats said questions are needed about whether or not Oklahoma’s extremist laws against abortion and the 2SLGBTQ+ community contributed to the decision.