The dude pictured above inside the Sears Portrait Studio is State Rep. Todd Russ. We talked about Todd a month or two ago when we learned he was one of three men in an Oklahoma House committee to vote against an equal pay measure for women. Here's the not-so-kind words we said at the time:
This Derp is (or was) a board member for the Oklahoma Bankers Association and is (or was) the president of Washita State Bank. He’s also served on numerous banking boards. Please keep that in mind when parking next to Todd Russ’ car, Women Who Work In The Oklahoma Banking Industry Or For Washita State Bank.
Seriously, of course the Republican banker voted against this bill! I’m pretty sure banks were the ones who invented and pioneered gender pay inequality centuries ago. I bet he even gives male bank tellers bigger suckers to give to customers than the female tellers. Hehe, just kidding. I doubt Russ would ever stoop to the level of hiring a male bank teller. That’s a woman’s job.
Well, we have some good news to report. Thanks to our scolding, Russ has changed his backwards ways and now displays compassion and understanding towards people who were not born as conservative white bankers!
Yesterday, the House debated and passed the much-talked-about SJR 68 by a count of 61-30. It's the resolution that would put alcohol modernization laws on the Oklahoma ballot. Russ was one of 30 lawmakers who cast a "Nay" vote against the measure. He did this not because he's a theocrat who wants everyone to abide by his antiquated moral code and religious beliefs. He simply wants to protect vulnerable Native Americans and black Oklahomans from the dangers of buying cold Fat Tire at the grocery store.
Broad revision of the state’s alcohol laws were kept alive in the Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday with a vote in the House of Representatives.
The House voted to advance Senate Joint Resolution 68, a proposed constitutional amendment that would be necessary to change the way beer and wine are sold in Oklahoma, but only after a passionate and ultimately controversial discussion and debate.
State Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, was in the midst of an emotional argument against the resolution when he suggested that blacks and American Indians should join him in opposition because they have a history of alcohol-related trouble.
Russ, perhaps the Legislature’s most ardent dry, moved the chamber with a story of a close family member who was killed in an alcohol-related automobile crash, but then he angered a significant portion by declaring that whites had exploited Indians “at the rim of the alcohol bottle.”
Russ then suggested that the African American Caucus should also oppose the resolution because of alcohol-related problems.
Isn't that awesome!? It's about time we had a white Oklahoma GOP lawmaker do what's best for Blacks and Native Americans! They really should stay away from the booze. It should only be reserved for responsible white Republican folks like Bryce Marlatt, Preston Doerflinger and Carolyn Caudill. Maybe next year he can introduce legislation that requires Asians to take mandatory driving courses.
For some reason, Todd's insinuation that Blacks and American Indians have more difficulty controlling alcohol addiction than people of other races struck a nerve with members of the Native American and African American caucus.
Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, a member of the Creek Nation, took the floor after Russ finished to take exception with his characterization of American Indians.
Rep. Mike Shelton, R-Oklahoma City, followed with a protest against Russ’ use of “stereotypes.”'
Wow. You're telling me that a white, affluent, Republican banker and lawmaker from rural Oklahoma relies upon cultural and racial stereotypes to help make legislative and policy decisions?! That's crazy, we're such a progressive, accepting state. It's just too hard to believe.
Anyway, the one good thing about this news is that it looks like we'll get to vote on SJR 68 in November. That should be cool. I encourage alcoholic Oklahomans of all races, even the vulnerable ones like Blacks and Native Americans, to vote for it.