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A Cornett However...

By: Richard Engle

I was at an event and got stuck talking to a musician. I am not musically inclined, so to make conversation, I asked him about the difference between a trumpet and a cornet. Knowing me he responded, “A Trump-ette is likely to be conservative, a Cornett however...”

I live in Oklahoma City and have during the entire tenure of Mick Cornett as Mayor. We have had occasion to visit before and during his terms in office. He is a nice guy. He is intelligent and he has strong communication skills. He is not a conservative by any definition.

Some will say he was a good manager of our city. Well, we have a city manager to do that. They can point to the recent MAPS projects, but should note that they are built with funds from a tax increase he supported, but the city is now faced with the costs of operation of those projects and little to nothing was done to prepare for those costs. In the waning days of his final term another tax increase was passed at his urging and those funds may well be used to plug the gap in his planning.

The most important project in the recent MAPS plan is the convention center. Any observant citizen of the city will know that it has been mired in problems and delays. He cannot be credited with a success in this matter.

His campaign seems to be taking credit for the Thunder. Nearly all of us are pleased to have a big league team, and more that they are finding success. As the team is a private business, and an expensive one, the credit should first go to the investors who bought a team in Seattle and then moved them to Oklahoma. Second, if a public entity is to be credited, the state legislature made a significant “investment” in the team. Finally, the person most directly involved in the city government’s role in getting the team here is former State Senator David Holt who has now succeeded Cornett at City Hall. Holt even wrote a popular book entitled, Big League City.

There may be little opportunity for a mayor to establish conservative credentials, but there are opportunities for the opposite. As Mayor, Mick Cornett wrote a letter to Congress to discourage any repeal of the “Affordable Care Act” also known as Obamacare. In his letter he says, “The effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be most heavily felt at the local level, so it is our responsibility to protect the citizens of our cities and metro areas. The new GOP plan is bad for cities, bad for people who live in cities and bad for people who provide healthcare in cities.” He continued by stating that “healthcare is not a privilege; it is a human right.”

It should be noted that this was not a simple note to a single member of Congress. This was a formal and public letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Cornett was the primary signatory and the head of the organization.

Does it need to be stated that conservatives do not favor Obamacare?

What of other issues of import to conservatives? Cornett has no record nor known stated opinions or policies that could be considered pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, or favoring smaller government. Regarding the final matter, he is quite proud of his expansion of government in Oklahoma City. His tenure as Mayor, the longest in city history, did not include a single significant improvement in efficiency or cost reduction in city services.

The other GOP candidates have variant levels of conservative credentials. Mick Cornett not only lacks the same, he has abundant evidence of the opposite.

No one who votes for Mick Cornett will have any cause to consider themselves to be a conservative, and if the OKGOP nominates him it abolishes the moniker “conservative” from its description.

Richard Engle is the author of the novel, The Last American President. He is also a Past President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies which is the nation’s largest and oldest Republican support organization. Richard was twice elected to his local city council and twice elected to the Oklahoma delegation to the Republican National Convention including serving on the National Rules Committee in 2000 where he successfully placed a minority report on the floor of the convention – the first, and most recent since Ronald Reagan did the same in 1976. He also served on the 2012 Republican National Committee Standing Committee on Rules in the meeting preceding the Tampa convention.

Richard is President of BellWest America. Richard and Denise, his wife of over 30 years, live in Oklahoma City. Until recently Denise Engle served as Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the State of Oklahoma and prior to that she was a Deputy Insurance Commissioner in Oklahoma. Richard speaks and writes often on political matters. Richard can be reached at 405.640.9219 or

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