Podcast Ep. 51 | Too Close for Missiles

In this episode, Andy & Scott are joined by Commander Scott Downey, USN, Retired, for what starts out as a discussion of current events and the run-off election but what ends up being a rather vulnerable conversation between a liberal and a conservative.

Articles Discussed

hat Oklahomans Are Telling Their Legislators

State office independents running as a team on open government

Oklahoma’s plan for Medicaid work requirements is a dangerous experiment that will put the health of thousands of Oklahomans at risk

Education funding remains a contentious debate

Oklahoma gave Boeing $90 million in incentive money, along with a few other breaks

Pruitt Watch

EPA watchdog faults Scott Pruitt's $3.5 million security costs



Honestly, the main takeaway from this episode is that most Oklahomans probably agree on a surprising number of political policies.

A point of personal privilege, from Andy: Over the past couple of years, I've grown to respect Scott Downey an awful lot. He's about twenty years older than I am, so his perspective on marriage, parenting, and navigating the workplace are personally valuable to me. Additionally, he is a former Navy fighter pilot with combat experience and, at one time, held the record for the most landings on an aircraft carrier. Those stories are very different...many funny, many inspiring, and many others just incredibly painful. General Sherman famously said "War is hell," and based on some of the stories I've heard from Commander Downey, that quote is completely true.

Scott and I would often discuss the current political climate in Oklahoma before class, and while we certainly butted heads on a few issues, we found that we agreed on policy just as often as we disagreed. Perhaps more importantly, we both made a point to listen to the other person's perspective and work to find common ground. I think we both hoped to change the other person's mind on certain issues, so we started with what we had in common first and then worked on the peripheral stuff. Did it always work? Certainly not! But we both have a better understanding of the other side, we're still friends, and our friendship is stronger because of it. 

Update 9/8/18 @ 10:00am - I just received the following text message from Scott Downey, and am sharing it here with his permission: 

I read your take aways at 12:41 AM, almost texted you then. That's some of the nicest things anyone's ever said about me although you give me l more credit than I'm due. And your readers, donors, board members, listeners should know that my reasonable, courteous discussions with you have altered my positions on many things, some large some small - I would say this shows that Lets Fix This is effective.


Pulling Back from Partisanship

School has started, 2018 campaigns are kicking off, and interim studies are being conducted - it's a typical fall at the Oklahoma State Capitol. This is the time of year is typically when the thrashing tide of partisan pressure recedes and we begin to see calmer heads prevail as the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle attempt to take on a more collaborative, almost hopeful tone through the winter. But this year is different. 

Leadership, Vision and Legacy

Leadership, Vision and Legacy

A lot of folks, myself included, have commented on the lack of leadership among our state legislature and other statewide elected officials. That deficiency has been highlighted repeatedly this year by the legislature's fledgling attempts to fix the budget. From the Governor's highly unpopular plan to tax services to the recent communication break down among legislative leaders, the people responsible for guiding our state's financial well-being have left the public feeling, well...honestly, pretty scared about the future. 

It's time to Save Our State

It's time to Save Our State

Yesterday we joined more than two dozen nonprofit and professional organizations to announce the Save Our State budget plan. This three-year budget blueprint is far more than just the gimmicky fixes that the legislature often passes - this plan puts Oklahoma on a real, sustainable path to prosperity. It steers us away from more devastating budget cuts and allows us to actually invest in education, public safety, healthcare, and transportation.

A New Deal for Oklahoma

A New Deal for Oklahoma

Just over 84 years ago, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office and delivered his first inaugural address. The speech mostly was about the Depression, which was (and still is) the worst financial crisis in American history. However, if you read it now, you'd think he was talking to us about Oklahoma's present budget situation. We've been saying things are bad, and hearing FDR's words echo across history gives our current situation some much-needed context. The familiar phrase "those who choose to ignore history are doomed to repeat it" has never felt more relevant.

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the Cycle

Most of my career has been spent working in the mental health field, which isn't exactly known for being lucrative. (For reference, it's likely that NASA will put a man on Mars before I will pay off my student loans.)  But, it's good, honest work and I have always appreciated the opportunity to serve a group of people who have complex, sometimes painfully difficult needs. It is truly a privilege to be bear witness to the depth and darkness of a person's life, to hear their secrets and their fears, and to be a living testament to the struggles and suffering they have endured. 

You Must Get Involved

You Must Get Involved

A lot of people started this legislative session feeling fairly optimistic - we believed the new leadership in the Oklahoma House & Senate were going to be thoughtful, reasonable, and empowering to the people of Oklahoma. We were prepared for the news of yet another revenue failure and an $878 million budget shortfall, but with so many people at the Capitol agreeing that the state isn't bringing in enough recenue to cover its expenses, we thought that we'd see multiple revenue measures pass through both chambers relatively quickly.

Why We're Here

A few hours ago I watched President Obama deliver his farewell speech to the nation. It was a good speech - warm, reflective, inspiring. All the things you'd want an outgoing, two-term president's speech to be. After the speech I did some laundry and did some tidying up around the house, but I couldn't stop thinking about one passage of the speech that resonated with me so strongly that it kinda weirded me out.

Knowing Your Limits

Several months ago Together Oklahoma invited me to write a blog about the importance of self care for advocates, and at the time I eagerly agreed. We had just finished the 2016 state legislative session and everyone was exhausted, including myself. I knew I had done a terrible job at self care - Let's Fix This began more-or-less on accident and blossomed more quickly than I had ever imagined. In response, I gave it my all without consideration for what it would mean for my physical or mental health. By the time the legislature proclaimed sine die near the end of May, I had a full-blown sinus infection, middle school-grade acne, and a sleep debt that could only be counted on both hands and feet. I was the poster child for "How not to take care of yourself."

The Plan for 2017

Wow, what a year it's been! It's hard to imagine that it was just 8 months ago I created a Facebook event and invited a bunch of people to join me at the Capitol to talk to our lawmakers about the dire situation in which we found ourselves. That event exceed my wildest expectations and it was clear that the public was thirsty for way to be involved, so we held another event, and then another, and then another. Since April, we've mobilized thousands of Oklahomans - most of them just regular folks who, like me, had never done anything political in their lives. We've worked hard to create opportunities for people to engage with their government in meaningful ways. We've fostered conversations between the public and their legislators wherever we can - at the Capitol, on social media, at restaurants, and even in bars. And that was just the first year!

Counting Every Penny

The Oklahoman recently published an editorial written by Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker-elect Charles McCall (R-Atoka), in which he states that before the legislative sessions starts in February, the House will hold budget hearings for the top five appropriated state agencies. (He doesn't mention which agencies, but they are Education, Health, Human Services, Public Safety, and Transportation.)