It Matters When Politicians Vote Themselves A Pay Raise

A few weeks ago I published the latest version of the House District 31 transportation report. You can read the report online at

In an accompanying update I spoke of the tremendous progress experienced in the past few years. It hasn’t been easy but slowly, the area’s major section line roads are being transformed from something you might find in the third world to well-paved thoroughfares.

This can not be better demonstrated than the recent commencement of the paving of Midwest road north of Waterloo in south Logan County. This represents the turning of an important corner. No road illustrates the need for improvement like this road. Over the past few years, I suspect I may have received more calls about this road than any other road in House District 31.

This success is due to the hard work of local officials. They have completed the many hundreds of pieces of paper required by state government and regional government entities in order to secure the millions of dollars it has taken to make this progress. The latest transportation report documents several million dollars of future paving that has been secured by their hard work. This funding will be applied in the next few years.

You don’t have to take my word for the fact that this transformation has taken place over the last few years. You can observe this change for yourself by downloading the Google Earth application. This free to use application provides users with aerial photos dating back several years. By chronologically scrolling through these photos the observant viewer will notice how many miles of area roads have changed from bright orange dirt or white gravel to dark asphalt.

Also very noticeable is the massive residential growth occurring in south Logan and north Oklahoma counties. Previously empty fields now contain hundreds of homes and the many improvements on area roads are taking place at a time when the amount of traffic using the roads dramatically increases.

The challenge faced by local officials to keep up with this traffic and transform the section line roads from farm roads to improved roadway has, in my view, been the most pressing issue faced by local government.

Substantive improvements haven’t just been limited to new paving. For instance, county and city officials recently applied pavement marking upgrades to Prairie Grove Road from Division east to Pine in Guthrie.

I have a sentimental attachment to this section of road. A little over 10 years ago, as a Guthrie city councilman I served on the city’s street committee at a time when the city partnered with the county to pave the road. At that time it badly needed upgrading.

Not long ago the city and county once again worked together to apply safety markings to the entire mile section of roadway. These safety markings make a big difference in allowing drivers to drive safely in low-light and bad weather conditions.

Few probably realize the impetus for this important safety improvement was a personal donation from Logan County District 2 Commissioner Mike Pearson. Pearson campaigned for office on a platform of not only voting against self-imposed raises but also pledging to donate an amount equal to the previous raise voted in by the Commissioners. Prior to his election the Commission had approved more than one significant increase in pay for themselves.

I strongly believe that a politician who votes himself a raise at taxpayer expense demonstrates his first priority is his own well being and likely does not have the heart of a public servant.

Because of his pledge, Pearson has donated several thousand dollars each year from his paycheck and has applied the money towards upgrading or maintaining District 2 roadway.

Pearson’s donation and commitment to upgrading this road quintessentially illustrate the recent efforts of local officials to meeting the infrastructure needs of House District 31 roadways.

His action also clearly demonstrates when politicians vote themselves a raise it creates a tangible deficit in the level of service provided to the taxpayer.

Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email with your thoughts and suggestions.


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