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Observercast Episode 14: Your Lyin Eyes

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I'm observer editor Arnold Hamilton and I Mary Ann Martin and this is observer. Cast your weekly deep dive into Oklahoma politics policy powered by the Oklahoma Observer. Democracy Foundation the Covic nineteen pandemic exposed huge holes in Oklahoma Safety Net. Whether it was unequal access to distance learning for our school kids are unequal access to emergency healthcare state government proved itself remarkably unprepared for an emergency. How could this happen? Simple buydell state services were starved for more than a decade by a Republican controlled State House that pursued anti-tax Guru grover norquist bill a shrinking government. To the point. You can drown the rest in the bathtub. Oklahomans are now dealing with a painful reality. You get what you pay for. And what Oklahoma is getting is the government equivalent of the gang. That couldn't shoot straight they. Chaos is especially painful for the state's newly unemployed as the nation's unemployment rate skyrocketed to fourteen point seven percent highest since the greatest depression Oklahoma experienced the nation's largest percent increase in claims. Four thousand. Three hundred twenty five percent compared with the previous period of any state according to the Economic Policy Institute nearly one in five Oklahomans has filed for unemployment. It is true that Oklahoma is not alone in its struggle to keep up with the avalanche of unemployment applications. Other states are swamped as well. But nearly two months into the nation's economic shutdown too many increasingly desperate out of work oklahomans remain unable to access a twentieth century system technologically during a twenty-first-century. Emergency in fact it never know. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Was Anything But a Well oiled machine if you listened only to the Administration Sunshine Rainbows Meredith Four Hundred. Thirty two thousand seventy six unemployment claims filed since March fifteenth. Only sixty. Three thousand five hundred eighty nine still pending four hundred. Thirty two million dollars in state and federal Out Out of Work Oklahoma's their PR spin also emphasizes a favourite Republican bogeyman. Where public assistance is involved? The potential for rampant fraud the governor his team report intercepting as many as seventy five thousand. Suspicious unemployment claims so far. That's hardly surprising. Scammers come out of the woodwork. Whenever there's an emergency but is it prudent to give priority to potential fraud. Assigning more than three hundred state workers to investigate. Potentially bogus claims when so many out of Work Oklahoma and still get the benefits. They're legitimately entitled to and sorely need. The administration strategy further came under fire when it was learned. His team discussed asking the federal government. Stop sending additional six hundred dollars per month. Emergency payments to Oklahoma's unemployed because the extra benefit might somehow serve as a disincentive to return to work as the economy reopens almost from the day. Pandemic related jobless claims skyrocketed state representative. Mickey Dahlan's has gotten an earful from constituents about the state's unemployment system. He's been in regular contact with the agency trying to determine what's working and what's not and how best to help his constituents navigate. What can be a confusing system. Recently representative Dahlan's became so frustrated with the agencies erratic responses that he took to social media to air his concerns the administration loudly claims the bring a business in Customer Service. Mindset to governing. It wasn't fact a central facet of his campaign. The Secretary of Digital Transformation David Ostra who also comes from the private sector did not employ best practices in crisis communications response to it is decidedly a customer service problem when responding to Representative Don Statement on Facebook. Decrying delays in payments. In fact Ostro put out a press release firing back at statement as partisan politics then oster said on. Kfc Channel Five that there have been quote absolutely no delays whatsoever unquote in the payment of unemployment insurance claims. We invited representative Dahlan's to talk with us in more detail about what his constituents are telling him and what he experienced when he their state representative tried to help them and we ask of the thousands of Oklahomans who are newly unemployed. Who are you going to believe you or you're lying My name is Mickey Dolphins and I'm a state representative in Oklahoma City a Dad. I've got two kids. I've got a daughter. Who's six months old and a son who's about to turn to on May seventh so this Thursday? We've got a big At Home Birthday Party planned my Dad. He bought him one of those little jeeps that she can sit and write in which is pretty cool because nowadays they make it to where not only kid. The kid driving. He's only going to be too so they have remote control now on them to lock preference. Yes definitely he starts you know. Run it into a tree or something I can divert it myself without a run over there like our parents did with said you know where there's like. The coach in the passenger seat like has the emergency brake. That's right so we're pretty excited about that. And on the outside of the legislature. I work for a nonprofit. I'm the executive director of the Energy Assists Foundation and Also do some work with some other nonprofits so I enjoy serving and I love our state. Tell us about your district in Oklahoma City. Yeah House district. Ninety three was a Republican district. I ran for office in two thousand sixteen after being furloughed as a teacher due to the education budget cuts and I started going door to door and listening to people and if they asked I share my story and ended up flipping the district from red to blue. And I've held the seat ever since two thousand sixteen were blue collar Community and we enjoy eating and family and we have really strong work at the end values. And it's just very community oriented oriented down here or were really close with all of our neighbors on the streets and not only and within our own block but throughout the entire district and even outside of it so we love South Oklahoma City and were so excited to raise her family here. Raise our kids here. And it's just been a great experience in honor of my life to represent them for the past forty years so we contacted you because. I think everyone knows that the decline in the economy or I duNno. I think declines actually pretty a pretty generous attorney with the plunge of the economy in the past six or seven weeks The rise in unemployment in this day the state's unemployment system has really struggled to keep up with demand Unemployment just last fall and tell you how Clinton was when employment unemployment rates were optimal in the state Thankfully I have not had to deal with it At the worst times. And so we noticed your We noticed your posts yesterday about the continuing challenges with unemployment system. So can you tell us what what what what kind of precipitated your posts yesterday? Yeah I'd like to rewind to about a month and a half ago when the pandemic really started to kick in and businesses started closing A lot of people with who are W. Two workers could file for traditional unemployment benefits or regular unemployment benefits without left a whole group of self employed workers who are left high and dry because their income dried up because they weren't able to work and so congress passed I believe on March thirtieth the cares act and apart provisions in that act would extend and strengthen unemployment benefits to individuals who are self employed and so the federal government sent additional funds to states To give them an additional six hundred dollars per week in addition to what these people would qualify for which is only forty percent of their total weekly wages and so the idea behind six hundred to add that to it as an incentive to stay home to help curb the spread in level it out. And so it's been a fiasco to say the least and it's important to acknowledge that other states have had severe issues but not quite to the severity that we have experienced in Oklahoma nothing to the severity of a workforce group having zoom meeting in discussing ways in which to withhold the six hundred dollars. I had just mentioned people because they feel that it is a disincentive for them to go back to work. That's when I really started to get upset and wanted to come out. is not someone for because prior to that for the previous month trying to basically help troubled. Evan from their questions Where people were coming on my page and I was basically serving as a conduit of information from the Oese To my constituents and other people across the state and that was going okay but over time they kept changing it up and it kept delaying and there were things that just weren't matching up from what leadership was saying and from what people are really experiencing and then when it came to the pandemic unemployment assistance that was the cares act. That would help. Extend unemployment to self-employed individuals whenever the application for that gut really ambiguous and the questions might as well been worded by iota. In how confusing I had to go off and do something about it and so I had obviously contacted the Director Robertson. Who is very new to the job? She has hired ten weeks ago From the private sector and she was unaware of many issues that were holding people's claims up for example. A self employed person was being required to list to sell to to list to work search requirements. Why would a self-employed person? Who's trying to get their business back up and going required to go out and search for work search requirements. She didn't know that was on there. That particular question was an on or it's not on the regular unemployment claims and to my knowledge it hasn't been fixed yet so throughout the month I was asking them in requesting and demanding that these issues be addressed and fixed and they just weren't and that led me to believe that one either this is intentionally designed to hold people up in their application process in receiving their benefits or two. It's incompetence and it could be the competence to mask the failure that they have They they have that has resulted in them. Not being able to get this such financially the these funds that are so important to people right now to get those two into the people into their hands of Oklahoma and It's just a complete and utter failure so I collected my thoughts and just wrote him out and consulted my wife inch and she said yeah it needs to be said so I put it out there and then Unfortunately instead of the OEM or the director I mean not particularly Robin but The secretary of digital transformation instead of just owing up to sending others has been a failure and we are working on it and we are so empathetic with the people who are suffering. We are trying to get this out the door and into the hands of Oklahomans. It's been the complete opposite. It's been misleading numbers. Showing hundred thirty. Six thousand claims have been paid out. It's like it. What the governor saying on a weekly basis in his press conferences so disconnected and untruthful from what is actually happening in the trenches and people's homes in our neighborhoods and so with all of that and accumulation. I said you know I'm not going to try to help. Oese anymore when they keep moving the goalposts. And so I decided to I actually felt an obligation to say something on behalf of not only my constituents but the thousands and thousands of Oklahoma's who've been messing in commenting on my post and emailing and just looking for some help so here we are today where now. Oh yes see is putting out press releases taking personal shots Heh My Post and I just find it absurd that you have a state agency. Criticizing me for fighting for Oklahoma's who've lost their jobs and keeping trying to keep an agency under accountability. They're coming at me as for being partisan would not one time. Did I mention anything about political party and never have I? I don't mind if you're a republican or Democrat independent Libertarian. I'm going to work for you and other Oklahoma and the same is hard as I can and so I felt it was a bit childish. You know unreasonable for them to do that. But I did. Respond and I'm more willing to get this done. I want more than anything to get these funds in the hands of Oklahomans. But I don't think that they should be painting the picture. They are not telling the truth on the reality of how things all right now. Now this can't be a unique to your district right and and your situation other other. Legislators must be hearing from constituents as well on these sorts of issues of certainly and people have told me that they have reached out to their representatives senators and some replies. Some help for the majority of the people who've told me anyway. They haven't received a response so that may be one reason. Why our messaging me so much? Melissa is hitting an affecting every corner of Oklahoma and I mean from what we're hearing from. Oese and the governor is it matching up with what people are saying and trying to trying to convey to those in charge. How much of this do you think is a result of Oklahoma being uniquely? Ill prepared for a catastrophic event like this I just I. I have to believe based on the budgets that we've seen over the last decade or so that L. Ese in particular. Since that's what we're discussing here probably Is is way behind the curve technologically and staffing wise and experience wise and and and that's a perfect storm for the economist. We're seeing here right. Yeah that's correct. Oese Ese is not state appropriated. They receive their funds from the federal government but from conversations. I've had with retired. Oese employees when they do receive those funds or when they had in the past they would allocate the dollars toward increasing or beefing up their system's ability to detect fraud instead of updating this archaic system. That's thirty plus years old So the obviously I've heard from current people in Oese that the culture there is everyone's a fraud and that's just kind of the mantra that's passed from the top down and this is not an attack at all or criticism on those Level those agents. Who are taking calls and doing their very best to are overwhelmed. And working with an outdated system. This is a directive toward Leadership in that agency and in holding them accountable and ultimately holding the governor accountable. Because that's that's the buck stops with him but No I hats off to those. Oese employees who are trying their hardest to do their jobs. We've heard that those employees who are in Oklahoma who are taking these calls have been helpful. Unfortunately I know. Oese has hired Call services outside of the state and even outside of the country and they can. They can answer 'cause anonymously and not have to give claimants their name or information and unfortunately we've heard too many instances of them being very rude and name calling toward claimants who are at their wit's end and exhausted and just wondering how they're going to pay ranch or their mortgage or put food on the table or by their medicine. That's the reality. Were in leadership not to acknowledge that into even empathize and and to even acknowledged that this is the reality of things. It makes it so much worse. So let let me let me make sure. I understand what you're saying. So basically when the governor's getting up there and saying that they've brought in what is he said. Three hundred five hundred more employees to Answer calls to see what they actually did was out that work. An outside vendor. Who's answering the questions about a process? That's unique to the state of Oklahoma. That's that is confirmed on the level. One claims agents and their job is to basically answer the phone. Take give the claim at a ticket number and then pass that that claim onto a level two agent. I don't know if the level two agents are hired outside of the state or not and I think with us to magic. We have two hundred of those but I know for fact there are about nine hundred level one claim agents who are outside of the state so rather than hiring Oklahoma who need the work contracted it out yet. That's the sad part about that is. Oese tout's itself as a job connector. They have the match as her whole. One of their whole objective is to help people get work. Help people find work? Yeah and so they. They used another service to nate used. An actual company. That does this for a living connects people around the country and you not side in Canada. There have been several cases of people talking to Canadians. And obviously they have no idea they just take their information and and listen to these people who are very exhausted and then they just say well we're GONNA pass it onto a level two agent and that can be weeks in if not over a month that people still been waiting for level two agent but I have to question their process for awarding this contract. I mean four weeks time right. You know I mean that's essentially how long it took them to announce that they had hired all these new people you know how exactly I mean there. There's a procurement process for the State of Oklahoma to award contracts. I mean it's just like this systematically throughout this whole crisis this whole year there's been at will I would just say with. Governor stood in general that there's this there's this constant question mark like how did they award that contract. What was the bidding process? You know 'cause there's no way you could have been out a contract through the state processes in the amount of time. They said that they on boarded what five hundred new claims agents level one claims agent. So I it just seems that there's a lot of sidestepping Being lost in the process. Correct in the name of expediency. I guess but Boy I'm sorry go. Rhino is any of this Mickey them of could could some of this be dealt with under the governor's emergency powers. Yeah that's correct quite like the medicine that we spent two million dollars on the Tim is For for issue for symptoms other than cove in nineteen. We later found out so yeah I would imagine. Under the governor's emergency powers. He was able to do a lot of this stuff without a much legislative oversight we have yet to see exactly what these funds have been spent on We are asking the legislatures asking for that transparency from the executive branch. So it sounds to me like from from we're used to this Tone and focus has been set from above for some time. Now this has been this whole it almost a an indifference to the plight of newly unemployed in Oklahoma. A may worst now of course in the midst of the pandemic but instead prioritizing sort of this this notion that somehow we have rampant fraud occurring in the system. And that's where the focus really ought to be instead of hurting Instead of focusing on the needs of those are newly unemployed of who are desperate to sort of keep their lives and talk while they search for other jobs. That's correct that seems to be. The executive are that seems to be the directors narrative now as the third of these eighty thousand number club. Fraud claims out there right now and no doubt there is fraud people employers getting letters and and but the thing is Oese's not paying that money out the only way a claim it gets paid out as if they provide two forms of identification. One has to be a photo. Id so that it'd be a birth certificate passport driver's license plus your social security number. And then after that so that the person would be would be paid out so all of these people trying to game the system They're trying to say they worked for this employer. They're getting the employers getting their letter. The isn't paying them out. So they're not losing any money on these fraudulent the these bad apples Instead I feel like they're focusing much of the attention on this topic and not on actually getting money into the claim hands who are truthfully honestly hurting and that's another frustration point and when we talk about the federal cares acted provided thirteen additional weeks of unemployment benefits to people who have already exhausted their claims. These are people who are definitely vetted. They've already got their cards. They're in the system. The money from the federal government has air three or four weeks ago. I A month ago. Ese said it would be ready to implement first since I has come around. I haven't heard an update. It has not been implemented people who have exhausted their benefits are not getting their thirteen additional weeks. Nfl I stand corrected by the thousands of people literally. Thousands of people can connecting with me in contact me and I've yet to read anyone getting those those benefits and Oese hasn't put anything out. There started implementing p. e. You see they say it's programming issue. The governor claims he's the very best they've got the best people on on this end. They can't put a disclaimer even on the P. U. A application that. A person doesn't need to actually file works search benefits. If you not trying to trip people up you would put that on there. So you don't if you don't put you're actually looking for work nate. Won't you can't claim that weeks benefits and you won't get paid the following Monday or Tuesday so at assistant unnecessarily complicated question than some holding people up and then going back to fraud. I mean to to not be able to give that thirteen week extension to the people who are already in the system is another way of just holding up funds for no reason so I want to touch on two two issues here too so I all I've seen reports while I'm add to the list Let me write them all down before I forget my questions. So the first thing is the cards that people receive the Oklahomans received their benefits on debit cards. Those come from a third party vendor as well Again speaking from personal experience here. What have you heard about from constituents about their difficulty in receiving their cards in accessing funds on those cards while the difficulties are plentiful the conduit is the third party vendor that the state has contracted within conduit also has got also contracts with other states and they have run out of cards multiple times. Sometimes people will receive a car but not have funds often more often. They'll have funds in their account but they don't have a card so they can't. They can't access their money. Oese has been trying to create a way to just do direct deposit into a person's bank account without needing the card. That's been in the process for three to four weeks now. It still hasn't happened so yeah without the card. You're in trouble and then Unfortunately USPS is really struggling so it could take twenty days for someone to get their card. And if you have the fifteen dollars you can expedite it within three days. But there's another barrier for people who just don't have the additional fifteen bucks laying around so yeah conduit and requiring. The car has been a huge obstacle for people and their ability to access their funds. So the other thing too. You know the it it if I understand what you're saying Then you know Oese it sounds to me like what you're saying is Oese has been changing the required documentation on claimants Like there's been kind of moving goalposts. Sometimes in people have to continually re-submit documentation to verify their identity. Is that correct? Yeah that's a great question. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. I asked P. You. A applicants says pandemic unemployment assistant applicants who are self employed to file for regular unemployment get denied and then file for a and and then so they would do that. And then they came around with this P. You A free application. That would eliminate the need for self employed people to file for regular you. I get denied so they can go straight to this well. They tried this for about four or five days and there were some major issues. The director said that their mainframe couldn't handle it so instead of telling people that they removed the pre application. They just removed. The Lincoln. Didn't tell anyone and myself and other caucus members were trying to file for P. Just to get an feel the experience for what it was like there was nowhere to be found on the website for three days and then finally they put it back up and that was about the time. I started receiving multiple messages in my inbox saying that they went to check on the status of their claiming. They noticed that their social security number had been changed in every one of them had the same common comment that the last four digits of the social security number had been changed six two zero nine so while you have the SC talking about. All of this fraud is sounds like an sounds. Like I'm not saying it is but it sounds like they are system wasn't secure enough to keep people from going in and changing claim it's social security numbers and that could be the real fraud. That's something I've asked to look into if denied it. They said we haven't had any issues like that but that there again. That's one thing that they're saying doesn't match up with what a lot of random people are privately. Messaging me and telling me that has changed. So now they're back to the process where. Pa CLAIMING HAS TO FILE regular you. I get denied and then file for p. a but the the whole work search requirement question hasn't been addressed even after being acknowledged by the director by direct. Roberson so so these rules for applying the supply to the applicants or has it changed for all you why applicants. North self-employed employed applicants. And they'll say well that never beforehand were. These people qualified are eligible to for unemployment benefits. But now if you're regular W worker. The process is much less complicated much less difficult and like I said it may. None of this may be intentional but it is not an excuse. Their incompetence is not excuse. They are leaders of the state and they're failing the people who need money the most I have to wonder you know if they can't change the rules in the system you know like the algorithms in the system to To account for the differentiation between an employment claims rights there between the P The p way in the traditional. Ui Claims. I really have to wonder how they can differentiate the additional funds coming from the federal government in But claims would have gotten from the state you know what I'm saying like so I really wonder about the validity of the amounts. Folks are getting week to week as they should be based on the changes at the federal level I mean if they can make those changes to the amounts they distribute to claim. It's I I guess what I'm saying is how can they do any of it correctly if they can't make these slight changes into the system and it would be great if they could just acknowledge that they're having difficulties. And give some people some clarification instead of telling people all. This is very efficient in. We're we're just kicking butt in. These claims are going out by the by the day That is just a completely different story from what people are actually experiencing and I mean they pull a report right. Why can't they just pull a detailed report of? Here's how many claims have been administered right. Here's how many are you claims. That's something that you definitely brought up. Your post was now. These are not unique claims either total claims four hundred thousand. Total claims correct Why why can't the Oklahoma public see this is a this is a detailed report of here? Are the total claims. Here's how much has been paid out. Is I think that's something that we should be able to see right here. here's how much has been paid out here. How many people have cleaned for P. way here NIA did not. I mean there's they should be able to pull a detailed report on this. They've attempted to do that. Like A my last press release for the they address. My Post put in there like I said. Four hundred thirty thousand Claims those aren't unique but then it talks about how much they paid out. They are also including the six hundred dollars from the federal government in that but now that they're giving some numbers but still. I think there's a little bit spin on him. But yeah those. Those reports should be available to the public. If they aren't already they should be well it clearly. It's clear from what you're saying that there's a fair amount of Cya going on over there. Also in the governor's office or you know up the ladder there. What what can the legislature due to Provide the necessary oversight and get things moving in in. What should it be doing? Yeah it's a good question. I've considered asking the attorney general to look into this and I know that states like Florida have filed lawsuits from the those claimants. Who aren't who are experiencing similar difficulties? So probably the best way about it is to have the AG take a look just to make sure that what they're saying is actually matching up. I'm sorry I'm just I think of all the questions we've had this year. This one has the most flabbergasted at the lack of transparency in the lack of accountability. I mean pull the Dang report with detailed information But also it's really troubling. They're pulling the pull the politics card in saying that. You're playing politics. You're watching out for your constituents in that's your job. That's right and as a representative. I haven't obligation to see oversee agencies. And make sure that they're doing right by constituents and so by. May just won't holding an agency accountable and then getting accused of being a partisan is Just very very disappointing. And I'm surprised to state agency as important as important as has see right now is making those yet. I mean I'm just I'm shocked in and I just wanted to backtrack a little bit so The current Director of Oese that you said she was just hired ten weeks ago. Correct Robertson. She hasn't been very responsive and absorb that that might computer turned off. Direct Robertson has been very responsive and You know she she. We have contact and we talk and she for example didn't know that that was an issue on the application. There are a lot of issues I bring up that. She's not aware of. I think she tries to get it fixed. And you know or she says and it just doesn't it's not working but she was appointed to the director of Oese by Governor Stat Ten to twelve weeks ago. She came from the private sector from a company called. Wego look in. I believe she's had some other experience with startups and getting them built up and the idea was for her to come over to see and am build up and you know the pandemic hit really hard and you know everyone's kind of caught off guard so you know to her credit. It's been ten weeks. She's only been at the helm but for the past. Gosh fifteen years yes. Oese should have been addressed. I just I know that. The culture there is Everyone's a fraud people on unemployment unemployment to sit home and just eat cheetos. That's the type of thinking that comes from the top of Ese and not not directed toward direct Robertson but Just the others who have been there for a long time. And this is information comes straight from several constituent constituents who had worked for thirty plus years with Oese and that that mentality and that culture of you know social safety nets are a bad thing must stop and I hope that won't stop until they've been personally affected with job loss but that's one of the issues with having these very rich Business Type People in office. I would be hard pressed if any of them have experienced layoffs. Or you know going without tour you know trying to hold out for a job that actually pays health that provides health insurance. I mean it's not like they're going to go down and Blake. Oh help wanted the first help wanted. They pick like they've got families. People want to ensure that the jobs they go for our like the previous ones were they have health insurance and that they are having the benefits they need to protect their families and that can sometimes take up to twenty six weeks. And I would remind everyone that just about three weeks. Before the pandemic hit we were fighting. A bill in the legislature that would reduce unemployment benefits from twenty six weeks to down to thirteen and would be very good luck Having anyone mentioned that bill again how many of our constituents are suffering in who will need the full twenty six weeks plus it is no thirteen given provided by the federal government but unfortunately with the governor making his hasty decision to open the economy. Back up Massages of a hairstylist. A lot of places where income's going to be very tight for a while because people still aren't one hundred percent confident or even fifty percent confident with getting back into the you know And back into the public They are going to need partial unemployment benefits but with the way the governor has created. This is going to make it even more difficult for them to acquire the funds. They need to get by. While the economy's China Rev back up I mean the fact is it wasn't just Democrats that got laid off six weeks ago. It could across the state of Oklahoma in its entirety. It's not just your just your district. It's across the state so for them to claim that you're simply making this. A partisan issue is absolutely absurd. I mean it. All things infuriates me that they think this is a partisan issue as Ryan and I have heard for many of my colleagues across the aisle who are fed up with C. And they are getting hard questions from their constituents and our constituents are very very frustrated but so far no one's come out and criticized this failure in the incompetence in in how they're not providing what the services that they're supposed to be providing for Oklahoma's I mean but it's actually refreshing call. It was what it is. It's incompetence it really is unfortunately unfortunately elections matter and I hope people will remember this when the holes and that that's about the only way we can affect change going forward is to remember these experiences at affected us personally and knowing that there is a better way to do this. There's there's a way to invest in people to invest in social safety nets like Oese that can be a lifesaver not only for the individual but for the economy and situations like this. I have no idea why they're talking about holding up funds for people who need it that are going to go straight to. The grocery store are going to put the money straight back into the economy. That's the number one way proven over and over again to get the economy back up is by giving the people who don't have any money money to get by because it's go straight back into the businesses that need them versus a hedge fund versus a 401k versus any of these other ways that don't directly impact the economy. I couldn't Might my blood pressure has increased quite a bit in the last thirty five minutes L. Well no I'm just I'm just shaking my head you can see me. I'm just sitting here shaking by head and thinking you know if you were in the shoes of someone who's trying to work through this system And and it's just being rebuffed at at at almost every turn it just you know you think. Blood pressure's up I know you know. Can you imagine what it's from those folks And I think about a lot of the business owners who I think are interesting counterpart to the ones that we saw at the department the Department of Commerce meeting where they're trying to figure out a kick people off of unemployment so they so they would go back to work like the like. That's the problem right in. I think about a lot of this. Small Business Owners You know my family being But a lot of us a lot of our friends here in Norman. A lot of the ones you've seen Oklahoma City who are who are actively grappling with what it means to open backup in what it means for their employees in what it means for the public in a pair that with I suppose that against These businesses Big Business who are trying to get people back to work to pad their bottom line more than anything else in it. It just hits me really hard that there is such a difference in such a disconnect between these two mentalities it. You don't see one trying to keep people from getting what's there. What what they do. But you've seen other who who don't care about the general welfare in striking to me and people need to remember that the government works for them. It's not the other way around. Why would the Oh yes? He create a special email for employers to use to report the employees. Who aren't coming back to work. They needed the first thing they needed to have was an email for employees to report report employers. Who aren't providing safe. Working Conditions Sanitation social distancing even P p. e. These are the types of things. Government should be looking out for the individual not the industry and as complete opposite. What we seen with this current administration not agree more. I mean to be quite frank. So Arnold want anything else. No thank you for joining us. I know that you've got your hands full in many ways this this whole of virtual legislating. It's got to be a weird deal once. This is all a conversation curtness for that. Yeah so anyway. Oh I enjoy that anytime. Thank you so much Maryann Arnold. I appreciate you having me all these Birdie. Oh we just had one last week and it's like the best thing in the middle school. Yeah we have we to find the you know the good parts in there are there are always good parts. But we'll keep pushing forward and my message to Oklahomans. Is I notice? Exhausting and many people are beyond the point of tears but the last thing we need to do is give up. We won't give up. Give up you give up. We'll keep pushing forward and we're going to hold those who are making these decisions making it more difficult. We'll hold them accountable together and just stick with me. Stick with us and we'll see it through but we'll get through it and we'll make. We'll make those who are doing all of this. We'll hold them. Accountable wanted to thank representative dollars for speaking with us. The Next Observer Castle head Wednesday evening may thirteenth for the beginning of our discussion. The state budget as seen through the state's judicial branch in justice system and once again remind everyone to request absentee ballot. Now for all of the coming twenty twenty elections at okay. Datta backslash elections also if you're interested in sponsoring observer cast please give me Arnold Hamilton a call at four zero four seven eight eight seven zero zero or drop me an email at a Hamilton. Ok Observer Dot Org you can also support observer casts with a tax deduction tax deductible donation to the Oklahoma Observer Democracy Foundation. His mission is to help. Create a better more informed. Oklahoma help keep us on the air visit. Okay Observer Dot Org and Click on the donate button on the upper right side of the homepage. In fact now is the perfect time to do so. Thanks to the covert nineteen cares act and stimulus package. Non ITEMIZE IRS can take up to a three hundred dollar above the line charitable income tax deduction for cash donations made in two thousand eight hundred. Twenty suffer folks who take the standard deduction if you give three hundred dollars to nonprofits Oklahoma Observer Democracy Foundation. You'll get the three hundred dollar tax break. In addition to the standard deduction we also encourage you to subscribe to the Oklahoma Observer. Now in our fifty second year of comforting the afflicted and afflicting comfortable we have a special digital subscription rate for observer cast listeners. Only a dollar ninety nine a month for the first year. That's fifty percent off the usual rate for monthly digital subscribers. Just use the coupe. Coupon Code Observer. Cast checking out to get the discount rate and finally we want to thank Norman. Stare deck for the music that you've heard during this episode Learn more about jared at jared DECK MUSIC DOT COM

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