Former Oklahoma lawmaker looking to educate folks about life in public service

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 30, 2012
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ED Apple jokes that in his next life, he wants to return “as someone who's indifferent.” But in this one, Apple finds that he is “cursed with a conscience — with knowledge comes responsibility.”

To that end, Apple, who served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and then eight years as a member of the Corporation Commission, feels a need to educate everyday Oklahomans about what it takes to be a public servant.

Retired in his hometown of Duncan, Apple, 79, has conjured the idea of making available on a website the job descriptions of every elected office in Oklahoma from school board to governor. He believes compiling and posting the information — along with a history of the trouble some of our elected and appointed officials have gotten into — would be an excellent project for the political science department at one of our state's colleges or universities.

This would be a nonpartisan, nonissue undertaking. The focus, he said, would be “simply on the process and procedures about how to be an effective public servant.”

A Republican, Apple found his early days at the Legislature in the late 1980s to be quite a challenge. That's not surprising — the learning curve is steep for newcomers to the Capitol. But it can be steep, too, for new members of a city council or even a school board (“I've heard it said that half of school board members run on a platform of firing the football coach,” Apple said, joking — we think).

So the idea of offering a baseline summary of job duties and expectations is a good one. Among those duties is — or should be — to respond in some way to the concerns of those who pay public officials' salaries. Apple is convinced that too many men and women, once elected, lose sight of that.


by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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