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From a (Republican) Reader’s Perspective

April 27, 2014

One long-time follower of this blog wrote me last week to explain why he/she finds Janet Barresi unacceptable as a member of the Republican Party.

RINO or HYPOcrisy

Before I get going on this blog, I think it would be prudent to give some background information. I am a Republican. Yes, I am a Republican because I was 18 when the greatest President of modern times was President: Ronald Reagan. So there you go, I am a Reagan Republican. I am a Reagan Republican because the Gipper believed in limited government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, family values, and standing for liberty and freedom.  One of my favorite Reagan quotes is “that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts”. Why did I tell you about my personal political philosophy? Simply put, as a card carrying conservative Republican, I’m tired of being called a liberal by someone who is more liberal than me!

I believe our current State Supt of Public Instruction is a RINO who is crying “wolf” in order to convince the voters that she is in fact a conservative. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term RINO, it stands for Republican In Name Only.  Here is why I believe the RINO tag fits:

Barresi constantly and continuously disagrees with the Republican platform. The National and Oklahoma Republican platform vehemently opposes Common Core. Barresi not only served on the Common Core testing consortium, but she has publicly stated many, many times how she is in favor of the Common Core standards.

Her chief of staff is the former lobbyist of OEA, the group Barresi constantly refers to as the Liberal Union. I guess this makes her chief of staff one of those “Liberal Union Bosses” Barresi likes to talk about.  I personally know her chief of staff. He is a good guy with a bad job. But still, would a true conservative candidate be advised by a former employee of the group they see as the epicenter of everything wrong with government?

Barresi constantly advocates for the increase of Federal and State control while working feverishly to limit local control! This is the complete opposite of a conservative value. The Tulsa World reported a story about how Barresi called the US Dept. of Education to ask for their help to keep Common Core State Standards from being repealed in Oklahoma. Barresi is currently opposing a bill that would eliminate the over testing of our children. Barresi is currently opposing a bill that would allow parents a vital voice in the academic decisions of children. Barresi is currently supporting a bill that would eliminate a local community’s ability to decide on charter schools in favor of a statewide board ran by our government to make these decisions. You tell me, would any true conservative be pro government expansion and anti local control and anti individual rights?

Barresi strongly supports sending more and more of your tax dollars to out of state vendors; especially testing vendors. Barresi sits as the chairwoman of the board and directs $13.4 million dollars of taxpayer money to Indiana, so they can force children as young as 8 years old into taking high stakes tests. Reagan said it was the job of the government to get out of the individual’s way, so they can become whatever God has intended for them to be. Well, JB is sending your tax dollars to Indiana, so the government can tell you want your child should be when they grow up!

There are more than 20 Republican legislators who are on record as actively advocating for her primary opponent in the upcoming election. If 20 conservative Republican legislators are willing to publicly state they do not want work with you, how can you call yourself a conservative?

Barresi is a member of Jeb Bush’s inner circle. Jeb might be the most non conservative Republican in the party!

Barresi tells people what they want to hear.  At a campaign event in Tulsa Barresi spoke highly of Common Core and spoke eloquently about its benefits for our state. 4 days later in OKC she spoke at the OK GOP Rally saying she was happy to inform the US Dept. of Education “that Common Core is dead in Oklahoma”. TW Shannon is against the federal intrusion of Common Core. James Lankford is against the federal intrusion of Common Core. Just about every conservative I know is not in favor of the federal intrusion into our children’s classrooms. So why is Barresi for it one minute and against it the next? Doesn’t sound like the personal responsibility Reagan called for.

Barresi has donated more than $4000.00 to Democratic political candidates. You can check out the OK ethics commission and see where Barresi has donated money on more than one occasion to Sandy Garrett’s campaign. So Barresi helped get Garrett elected and now she wants to blame Garrett for not getting things done in Oklahoma public education?

So we have a person running for statewide office in Oklahoma, the reddest of red states. In Oklahoma we love our personal freedoms, our limited government, our strong family values, and to keep as much of our hard earned money as possible. So how is it a candidate who wants to take away local control from its citizens, wants to expand the role of government in the lives of children, wants the government to decide the fate of 8 year olds, wants to throw away millions of your tax dollars on testing companies that fail year after year, who is advised by the very people she calls liberals, and who gets her marching orders from Florida and the Jeb Bush Coalition have the audacity to claim to be a conservative? I don’t think Barresi is. Instead of listening to herwords, why don’t we start holding Barresi accountable for what she does? Actions speak louder than words, and her actions are not that of a conservative.

I decided to include the post by the reader – not because I agree with every word of it (I happen to think Reagan would be an uncomfortable moderate in today’s Republican Party), but because I think this represents the point-of-view of many members of the Republican Party who plan to vote against Barresi in the primary.

On the other hand, I have always seen the office of State Superintendent through a non-partisan lens. I look at the governor, attorney general, legislative, and congressional races with an eye to several issues – one of which is education. This election is not about party for me, but if it is for you, please consider whether the words above reflect your frustrations as well.

  1. livetosing1
    April 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Did this person sign their name to this article? WIthout their name, it is useless to take seriously. Thanks. In the olden days, everybody sang. You were expected to sing as well as talk. It was a mark of the cultured man to sing. Leonard Bernstein


    • April 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      No, but if you have a problem with that, why are you here?


  2. Corey Holland
    April 27, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I think the writer makes some valid points. As a republican member of the House of Representatives I hosted candidate Baressi in my district on several occasions in 2010. I won’t go into great detail but I can tell you candidate Baressi’s stump speeches contained many views & plans that Superintendent Baressi would never support today. It is with much regret that I put my reputation at stake on a candidate that was less than forthcoming about what she really planned to do. I even voted for some of these “reforms” that I’m now living under as a high school principal. To say I have much regrets would be an understatement. I made some mistakes in my time in the legislature. One I will not make again is voting for Janet Costello Baressi. Fool me once, shame on you—–Fool me twice, shame on me! (BTW: I also agree that Reagan would not be considered conservative enough for today’s Republican Party in Oklahoma.)


  3. Brooke
    April 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

    You point out that the R party does not support Common Core, yet also point out how many R legislators are supporting Hofmeister.

    What you failed to point out is that Joy ALSO supports Common Core and simply states that “the implementation was done poorly”.

    There IS a R candidate running who OPPOSES Common Core (Brian Kelly), but I have been having a difficult time finding out anything about him other than his 2010 campaign.

    Most importantly, though, is Joy’s extraordinarily limited experience (2 years in a classroom…over 25 years ago!) and ZERO public school (or any school) administrative experience. She left the classroom to run a for-profit tutoring/testing company (Kumon of S. Tulsa).

    On a nicer note, Joy is as kind as they come. However, kindness does not equal experience and I fear that we will make ZERO forward progress over the next 4 years with Joy (nicer version of Janet) at the helm.


  4. Fred Aresco
    April 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Who says the next Supt has to be a Republican? There are several EXTREMELY qualified Democrat candidates. John Cox, Feida Dreskin to name two.


    • April 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Excellent point. I definitely have no party preference. And I’d welcome a guest post changing the word Republican to Democrat.


    • Brooke
      April 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Agreed! John Cox is who I’m supporting!


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