Gary Richardson released the following statement calling for the end of the weeklong teacher walkout.
"I have said from the beginning I believe the teachers' outrage over the lack of leadership at the State Capitol was justified. But my support turns to anger when the union tactics are less about education and more about pushing a liberal agenda demanding higher taxes and increased government spending.
Working Oklahomans took a pay cut in order to fund a teacher pay raise -- and that's something I don't take lightly.
The state approved almost $500 million in new taxes to provide a $6,100 raise for every teacher and to allocate $50 million more for classrooms which is even more than they originally requested. Yet the union pushes for even more tax hikes and school districts are starting to declare cancellations for Monday.
The results of state wide standardized testing, which began this week, is a critical factor in determining our federal education funding. If the union continues their push for more and more taxes, Oklahoma risks losing close to $700 million in federal funds, and the union will have to answer for that.
I encourage individual teachers and school board members across Oklahoma to evaluate, without union interference, whether the walkout has strayed from its original purpose.
In politics, as in life, no one gets everything they want."
Gary Richardson is a native Oklahoman, a former US Attorney appointed by President Reagan and founder of a nationally-renowned law firm in Tulsa.
For more information on Gary Richardson’s campaign for Governor of Oklahoma visit his website at www.GaryRichardson.org.