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Diversity is hardly a key driver in luring businesses to a state

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: November 6, 2012

Furthermore, Oklahoma has a rich cultural history that few states can match. The state's leadership includes people from a wide range of backgrounds who achieved success based on merit, not diversity token-ism. The governor is a woman who faced another female in the election. State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, is poised to become the first black speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, is a member of the Chickasaw Tribe. State Sen. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, is gay. For what it's worth, he previously served alongside Kern in the House, without incident.

If diversity perceptions were a key driver of the economy, California would have low unemployment and strong growth. Instead, it's losing businesses hand over fist due to high taxes and burdensome regulations. Oklahoma has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Quality-of-life issues clearly matter for employee recruitment, but to argue that those making relocation decisions give greater priority to a perception of “diversity” than concrete business considerations is absurd.

Ultimately, Oklahoma's future economic growth relies on entrepreneurs who focus first and foremost on making a profit. If a company executive isn't locked in on that goal, state officials shouldn't waste much time trying to convince that person to set up shop in Oklahoma. They're probably not going to be in business for long anyway.

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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