Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

March 5, 2014

The time to fix the Capitol is now

OKLAHOMA CITY —

The Oklahoma Capitol was built in 1917. Since then it has been the People’s House — a place where state business is conducted and laws are written and passed. It is also a living museum where school children and other visitors come to learn about the history of their state and the workings of their government. For many who pass through Oklahoma, it is the lasting impression they have of our home.
I am proud of this building. I am proud of the work that has gone into acquiring and preserving the priceless portraits, paintings and murals that showcase our history. When the dome was completed in 2002, I thought the people of Oklahoma finally had the kind of beautiful, functional Capitol building they deserved.
Unfortunately, the Capitol has been allowed to slowly decompose. Scheduled maintenance and repairs have been put off and unfunded for years.
The results have been predictable: the building that should be a source of pride for our state and its citizens has become an embarrassment and a safety hazard.
The exterior is falling apart, to the point where we must actually worry about employees and visitors being hit by falling pieces of the façade.
 The yellow barriers outside are an eyesore and an embarrassment. The electrical system is dangerously outdated.
Raw sewage is literally leaking into our basement. As I told the Legislature in my State of the State address this year, on “good” days you can see the disrepair. On bad days, you can smell it.
It is absolutely essential that this kind of deterioration stops, and we begin the process of restoring and repairing this beautiful building.
That means, first and foremost, finding a funding source. Oklahoma’s Capitol architect believes repairs will cost $160 million. As a state, we have two ways of coming up with that money: we can pass a bond, and pay back the cost of the repairs over time; or we can appropriate cash from our existing revenue.

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