GOP Gubernatorial Front-Runner Mick Cornett Shares Ideas on Growing Oklahoma's Ag EconomyTue, 03 Jul 2018 11:31:28 CDT
The Primary Elections in Oklahoma this past week confirmed Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City’s four-term mayor, as the front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination in this year’s gubernatorial election in the state. Cornett stopped by the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network studios at the Oklahoma City Stockyards this week to visit with Farm Director Ron Hays about some of the issues he sees facing our state and specifically our rural communities and how he believes he can help solve those challenges as Oklahoma’s next governor. Listen to their complete conversation during their visit, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“I think everybody across the state believes we’re underperforming as an economy. Not coincidentally, I think the ag industry is a perfect example of an area I want to grow,” Cornett said. “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to economists at Oklahoma State University and with individual farmers and ranchers about how we can grow the ag industry in the state.”
Cornett described himself as he says others have, highlighting the characteristics he has become known for during his time as Mayor of Oklahoma City - such as a consensus builder, a problem solver and someone who gets things done. From a psychological standpoint, Cornett says his attraction to government and administrative work comes from an inherent appeal to challenging tasks. Those qualities coupled with the philosophy that to be successful, one must invest in themselves to be successful - not wait around for someone else to invest in them - is how he says he has approached problems in the past and will bring the experience he has gained from both his achievements and failures to the table to improve the economic situation in rural and urban Oklahoma alike. He outlined his ideas for future success in the rural sector.
“We ought to be growing our economy through ag-related investments. The state is spending a lot of money on agriculture and education involved in the ag industry and we ought to be creating more ‘spin-off’ businesses and keep more of the economy in the state,” he explained. “In other words, we grow a lot of crops, but then we send a lot of crops out into other states for the next level of processing. I’d like to see us figure out a way to create industries here that can keep more of the dollars inside the state.
“There ought to be new ‘spin-off’ businesses in ag where we can employee Oklahomans and continue to capitalize on our legacy.”
Admittedly, Cornett says he is not from a rural background, though as a fifth generation Oklahoman, is the first in that line to not be a wheat farmer. He says that while his experiences with agriculture have been from an outsider’s point of view, he contends that he is learning - and people are willing to teach him. Cornett remarked that those in leadership positions often become stuck in the routine of talking, when in many cases they should be listening. He has kept that wisdom front of mind, he says, and has made a concerted effort to learn directly from the people involved in agriculture what their challenges are and how they recommend overcoming them. From those conversations, Cornett says he has been able to distill two areas in which we as a state should focus on to improve the lives of all those who live and work in Oklahoma. Those, he says include a higher standard for education and healthcare.
“I want to be the champion for health and education and try to bring people together,” he said. “And then outside of the state, defend the state when necessary, but be the champion who can promote Oklahoma not just nationally, but internationally.”
Cornett will have the chance to secure the Republican nomination this August during the 2018 run-off elections.
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