Surrounded by cameras, Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge told OU President David Boren that signatures submitted Thursday in support of State Question 779 would be counted beginning Monday.

“It’s the voice of the people of Oklahoma,” Boren told Benge as he tapped the lid of one box of signatures. “Keep me posted.”

Benge smiled and said he would.

The pleasant and professional exchange captured in the video above helps underscore the literal (paper) weight of SQ 779’s apparent momentum.

Boren noted at his Thursday press conference that polling conducted by the Oklahoma’s Children — Our Future campaign indicates a 1 percent difference in support between Democrats and Republicans. OCPA Impact noted its own polling that shows Oklahomans would prefer that the Legislature act on the state’s education crisis.

The following quotes were not included in yesterday’s write up on NonDoc, but they are presented here as observations by influential Oklahomans:

I think it’s a cultural issue, which also involves leadership. We do not see teachers as important people in many areas do. In Europe, they’re revered. Here, we don’t really care. ‘They only work nine months a year.’ You hear all this. We don’t hold education in enough value, and it’s the only breakout from poverty.

— H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt

Seminole needs it just as much as Oklahoma City and other cities. Seminole State College is having to reduce faculty. I was a board of regent for Seminole State College for 14 years. They’re doing a great job with 2,400 students, but this funding shortage is just crippling.

— Melvin Moran

Anybody opposed to a teacher pay raise right now is behind the times in Oklahoma. Teachers need a pay raise, and the Republicans who control the state capitol have the ability to give it to them without having to increase taxes on those same teachers. They just have to choose to do it, and we hope they will.

— Dave Bond, OCPA Impact

I think support is only building. I feel it across the state. I think it’s because the people are now even better informed about what’s been going on and what the price is for doing nothing.

— David Boren.

Well, happy birthday. You’re eloquent and passionate.

— Gene Rainbolt to David Boren while delivering signatures for SQ 779.