Enviable place to be

Published: Friday, January 23, 2009 7:00 am

The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett gave his 2009 State of the City address on Jan. 15. Below are excerpts from the speech:

Let's think back to the 1980s: Things in the local banking industry weren't so good. In Oklahoma, over 100 banks closed their doors. There was no massive federal bailout for us. In this current economic crisis, banks have failed around the world. But the number of failed banks in Oklahoma City as a result of this crisis is zero. The number of failed banks in the state of Oklahoma as a result of this crisis is zero.

Now, with the rest of the world dealing with such severe economic issues, it is only fair for us to acknowledge that our envious position should be valued and protected. And at City Hall we are asking those in charge of our city government's finances to maintain the same conservative principles that got us here. But these repercussions are being felt at city halls around the nation.

This month, there are dozens of mayors standing in front of assemblies much like this one, explaining to their constituents why they must cut back on services or raise taxes. Fortunately, I am not giving that speech today. So, the question before us is this: In a Golden Age for our city, while our economy is more than holding its own, while most of the rest of the country, in both the public and private sectors, is dealing with massive debt and in many cases bankruptcy, what do we do?

As I said, other cities will cut back or raise taxes. They are, in many cases, going to close parks and stop investing in their infrastructure. Their progressive ideas about public transit and green initiatives will drop down the priority list. But we are not in that situation. We don't need to be closing parks.

We don't need to slow down the investment in our infrastructure. And instead of shelving ideas about public transit, I say, now is the time to ramp up the conversation.

And let's make sure the world knows, that as the nation's energy supply slowly transitions from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy, that Oklahoma City intends to remain a leader in the energy industry.

In short, there is every reason for us to take note of the economic calamity that is infecting much of the world, but there is no reason for us to stop what we're doing and change course. We didn't get in this lofty position by accident. We got here because we planned and we invested. And along the way, each of us in this community has worked really hard. Our momentum is taking on speed, and we are not going to stop now. The state of this city might be stronger than any other city in the United States.

2008 was a really important year for us. It will always be remembered as the year we truly believed that we were major league, and through that process we discovered who we were. The world is taking note about all of the great things we have taking place here.

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