One Voice Brings Region Together

Web Editor and Feature Writer

GETTING RESULTS: Members of One Voice recently made a trip to Washington D.C. in order to meet with top legislators about issues pertaining to the northeast Oklahoma region.

NICK DOCTOR, Tulsa Metro Chamber

Through hope, passion and dedication, individuals from around the region have become involved in OneVoice. The initiative brings solution to issues that are of great concern to Tulsa and surrounding communities through a collaborative effort and one voice.

Mike Neal, president and of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, has been encouraging everyone in the area to learn more about and participate in OneVoice. He explains that the concept began only five years ago but has already made such a meaningful impact on the region.

OneVoice was created in order to bring together the northeast Oklahoma region through a common legislative agenda. “This agenda is created through the efforts of ten task forces comprised of more than 150 regional business leaders in education, regional tourism, health care, business expansion and attraction, labor and human resources, small business, development, transportation, energy and federal issues.”

Once priorities are identified by each task force, a coalition of regional cities, chambers of commerce and other government bodies meet at the Regional Legislative Summit to determine overall top priorities for advocacy. The cumulative list is then redistributed for final endorsement.

“Once the legislative session begins, monthly luncheons with legislators are held at the Capitol and members are kept abreast of progress throughout the session with regularly scheduled Legislative Briefings and weekly Legislative Updates,” continues Neal.

In addition to staff advocacy efforts, the Chamber contracts with two full-time lobbyists and enlists private sector lobbyists to include the Chamber’s legislative agenda in their efforts at the state Capitol.

The Chamber also organizes advocacy trips to the state and nation’s capitols during session to make personal calls to legislators regarding the top OneVoice priorities.Neal firmly believes that there is strength in numbers and that with the combination of public and private entities, most anything is possible to achieve at any level of government.

This year, the top ten issues that are being addressed are as follows:

1. Support a Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program Acts (SHOPP) or other options to maximize federal opportunities for Medicaid, to achieve the Upper Payment Limit () for hospitals and to provide durable, consistent and predictable funding for Medicaid and indigent care providers.

2. Support legislation allowing municipalities to diversify their sources of revenues to fund essential local government operations.

3. Oppose cuts to education funding and oppose further reductions in the cap on annual property tax valuations.

4. Support currently unavailable specialty care services to the uninsured through new funding of $7 million annually to OU’S Tisdale Specialty Health Center and $2 million annually to the Center for Health Sciences.

5. Support investment in a project or “deal closing” fund to attract, grow and retain businesses in Oklahoma.

6. Defend all existing road funding; prevent any diversion of monies; and support increased funding for transportation by developing an adequate, comprehensive funding strategy.

7. Support the building of the Gilcrease Expressway and Bridge through any funding mechanism available.

8. Maximize private donations by supporting a state bond issue for capital investment in cultural, historical and entertainment venues in the Tulsa region.

9. Reinstate the aerospace and other effective tax incentives. Protect effective tax credits and eliminate ineffective tax credits through a process of annual review.

10. Support policies that encourage energy development in a regulatory environment that creates more business certainty, promotes job creation and encourages economic growth for all domestic energy sources.

For more information about One Voice or to learn how
to become involved, visit or call the Tulsa Metro Chamber at 918-585-1201.

Updated 03-21-2011

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