The one that got away pretty much sums up my opinion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding hearings this week before the House and Senate Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding. I also have come to understand that in the political world you never get everything you ask for. The particular ARPA project I had so much hope for – a remodel of the McAlester Library – did not get funded. The team in charge of this project gained so much ground toward their funding request; they were just seeking a 25% match. I felt this could be an easy sell. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, libraries did not make the list of priorities. I will keep looking for other sources of funding for this worthwhile project.
On a much brighter note, several requests from Latimer and Pittsburg counties look to be on course for approval. Nothing is set in stone until after we convene in special session next week, so I will refrain from discussing more until these projects obtain the governor's signature. Several, however, are very good projects that will benefit this area.
Last week, I had the opportunity to address the Wilburton’s Lions Club, about all things legislative. I always enjoy this group, but I also want to thank them again for the donation of $40,000 toward the new Wilburton Splash Pad.
Latimer County Farm Bureau also had their annual meeting last week. This is where the actual grass roots begin. They had some good discussions about some areas they like and dislike for the next upcoming legislative session. Always great to hear their views.
Next week, the Legislature heads back into special session to consider bills that will appropriate more of the ARPA funding. Looks to be an exciting week.
As always, thank You for allowing me to serve you. I can be reached at (405) 557-7381 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Grego serves District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Latimer County and parts of LeFlore and Pittsburg counties.