Oklahoma State Senator Clark Jolley: Political Hack

jolleyOklahoma State Senator Clark Jolley has done an about-face and voted in support of HB 3399, which removes the legislative mandate requiring adoption of Common Core State Standards.  The measure calls for the State Board of Education to develop Oklahoma standards.  Jolley’s reversal comes after public backlash against Common Core led the House to pass the measure removing the mandate.  The Senate Education Committee had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table, but approved it for consideration by the Senate, which passed it 37-10.

Senator Jolley was a driving force behind bringing Common Core to Oklahoma, authoring the legislation in 2010 that implemented it.  I have read numerous complaints from parents and others that Jolley and other legislators completely ignored their concerns about Common Core.  Jolley and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Ford, also a Common Core supporter, killed bills that would have examined the cost of Common Core before they could even have a hearing before the Committee.  Jolley, Ford and others were rewarded for their efforts with a free trip to Boston, paid for by Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.  Jeb Bush is a strong proponent of Common Core.  Jolley and other Boston attendees took their all-expenses paid trip supposedly in order to hear two days worth of information about Common Core, but all were photographed having a grand time at an evening event at Fenway Park.

Senators Jolley and Ford were more than willing to take a free trip to Boston, but according to the Restore Oklahoma Public Education website, neither Senator took the time to walk across the Capitol rotunda to attend any of the interim studies done last summer and fall on Common Core.  Perhaps if the interim study had been conducted in the Bahamas they would have attended.

Also according to the Restore Oklahoma Public Education website, Senator Jolley has been heard saying that anyone opposed to Common Core is “smoking crack” and that Common Core opponents believe “Obama wrote the Common Core on the grassy knoll.”

Since Jolley has now voted for HB 3399 to remove the Common Core mandate should we assume he has been smoking crack?  Or perhaps we should assume the more likely scenario, which has Jolley running for the 5th District Congressional seat and realizing he doesn’t have a chance of getting elected if he continues to oppose the will of the Oklahoma people on Common Core.  Holding his finger to the political wind, of course Jolley is changing course in order to get elected to Congress.  He is just proving that principles mean nothing and that he will throw his support behind whatever gets him elected.  Did I mention that he is term limited as a State Senator and has to run for a different office if he wants to continue being a career politician?

The Foundation for Excellence in Education named Jolley their Education Reformer Star of the Week last October, two weeks before the free trip to Boston.  Now that Jolley has gone against their plans perhaps they might want to ask him to return the award and cut them a reimbursement check for his Boston trip.

The McCarville Report has a post about former State Senator Steve Russell taking a shot at Jolley for his vote.  Russell is also a candidate for the 5th District Congressional seat.

McCarville Report – Former Senator and retired Army officer Steve Russell, now seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in the 5th District, took a shot today at one of his opponents over Common Core.

Russell, who opposes Common Core, commended a Senate committee for its vote today to remove Common Core from Oklahoma.

In doing so, he said, “This is a tremendous statement standing up against another over-reaching federal mandate, I am especially pleased to see State Senator Clark Jolley, the man who brought Common Core to Oklahoma, admitting fault by voting to overturn the Common Core bill he authored.”

Jolley also seeks the GOP nomination for Congress in the 5th District.

In a previous post about Oklahoma’s private prisons I included information about campaign contributions given to Clark Jolley by lobbyists for two private prison corporations.  And of course, Jolley used his position as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to strongly support the use of private prisons here in Oklahoma.  Legally and, I suppose, ethically, Jolley has done nothing wrong.  But morally, I believe Jolley has sold himself and his position to those lobbyists.  When private prisons make a profit and funnel some of that profit into campaign contributions for the very politicians who approve using private prisons, what would you call it?  And this, despite a program that was in place but cancelled on orders from Governor Fallin that would have lowered the number of people in prison in our state.  Private prisons are big business and apparently so is a Senate seat.

From all I have read it appears to me that Jolley has as good as sold his office to the people who pay for his campaigns and provide him with free trips.  And now he is double-crossing some of those people when it is apparent the position he held on Common Core for at least four years would likely prevent him from being elected to Congress.   Self-serving politicians who sell or trade their influence and hold their fingers to the political wind are people without principles.  Thank goodness Clark Jolley is being term-limited out of our legislature.  Hopefully, his district will replace him with someone who actually has principles.  And hopefully, the people in the 5th Congressional District will elect someone who won’t trade his vote for campaign money or a free trip.  Political hacks are morally bankrupt and untrustworthy.  Clark Jolley has earned membership in their club. 

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2 comments to Oklahoma State Senator Clark Jolley: Political Hack

  • LD Jackson

    Even in a conservative state such as Oklahoma, we seem to have our own share of politicians who want to make it a career. It may look like Clark Jolley is on his way to doing that, but hopefully the voters will see through his charade and keep him out of Congress. He sounds like the last person we need in Washington.