Former Governor George P. Nigh, who was the first Oklahoma Governor to carry all 77 counties in an election, said professional politicians are not only a good thing, they’re essential to running a republic.
Nigh, who was the second-longest serving Lt. Governor in state history, as well as the first governor elected to two consecutive terms, was the guest speaker for the annual Rose State College Law Day observance.
Nigh said government should not depend on amateurs, but professionals with experience at lawmaking.
“I just want to tell you students, I don’t mind being introduced to you as a politician,” Nigh told them. “I don’t mind adding the word ‘Professional’. I don’t mind saying, ‘Yes, I’m a professional politician. If my car broke down on the way here, who would fix it? If my tooth starting hurting and I had to go have it pulled or worked on, who would I have to fill it? If you want a professional banker, insurance agent, dentist—what’s wrong with being professional in government, as long as you do the right things?”
Nigh, who after service in the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II went on to serve state government in a variety of offices, said the negative public perception of holding public office drives away those most suited to hold it. He made the comments after leading students, faculty and staff in the Pledge of Allegiance to an American Flag standing next to the podium.
“Why would we pledge allegiance and then complain about politicians? This country was created so that the only way you can hold a political office is offer yourself to do it,” Nigh said. “You can’t be drafted for President of the United States, you can’t be drafted for congressman of this congressional district, you cannot be drafted for Governor or Oklahoma, or legislature, or county office. … Why wouldn’t you want someone who works at it professionally and does it decently? Why wouldn’t we encourage people to be in government instead of discouraging them?”
The speech for 2012 explored the theme "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom," on April 30 at the college’s Student Center. The event was in conjunction with the Midwest City Rotary Club and sponsored by the Rose State College Foundation’s James F. Howell Country Lawyer Lectureship. The talk, attended by Rose State College students, faculty and staff, is free and opens to the public.
Posted on Wed, April 25, 2012
by Ben Fenwick