I‘ve been keeping an eye on the E Foundation for the past year or so in an attempt to glean what policies Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb might pursue if he becomes governor. For instance, economist Russell Evans of Oklahoma City University was named a “distinguished fellow” by the E Foundation on Monday.
But since I last wrote about the E Foundation, the policy group has released a set of plans on its alliterative areas of interest: education, efficiency, enduring freedom, energy, entrepreneurship and exporting. Each primarily includes a topic overview and generic rhetoric, but specific suggestions are buried within.
For instance, the E Foundation’s education plan opens with multiple references to God but also calls for the state superintendent of public instruction to become an appointed position instead of an elected one. It also discusses cautious and “indirect” school consolidation, a proposed requirement that 65 percent of school funding be spent in classrooms and an expansion of school choice.
The E Foundation’s policy papers provide an interesting snapshot of topics important to a potential Todd Lamb administration, the likes of which should also be studied by budding politicos.
What kind of budding politicos, you ask? How about the six college students who worked this summer for the E Foundation.
Coincidentally, the E Foundation spent last week promoting its “associates” on social media under the hashtag #MeetOurAssociates. Each post includes a “fun fact” about the young leader, which were surely referenced at an end-of-summer happy hour for these young professional comrades.
Since the E Foundation would be a logical place for a Gov. Lamb to find potential cabinet members, let’s examine the foundation’s collegiate associates and speculate what sort of jobs they might fill in a Lamb governorship.
Don’t take this too seriously, greenies.
Luke Harshaw: Director of DVR Services
Since Edmond Santa Fe graduate Luke Harshaw is studying cyber security, it would only make sense for him to spearhead executive efforts to protect electronic information, digital communications and all shows on the governor’s mansion DVR.
Enter Harshaw, an apparent TV buff whose fun fact indicates he watches The Office and CSPAN.
“I’m the Dwight Schrute of public policy!”
Payton Thornton: Chief Caffeination Coordinator
Payton Thornton may only be in his second year studying marketing and entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University, but he has a dream already mapped out.
Thornton, a Texas native, wants to open a coffee shop after graduation.
As someone who has become a small-businessman myself — albeit 10 years after taking one entrepreneurship course at OU — I wish Thornton the best of luck. Believe it or not, it ain’t easy!
Hence, if Thornton is able to establish his job-creating java proposal as a 20-something, he’ll be in perfect position to become one of the 16 directors within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Until then, he might have to settle for Chief Caffeination Coordinator, which is a fancy way of describing any young political operative’s first job.
Always leave a little room for cream, Payton.
Madeline Betts, Department of Agriculture Taste Tester
Like Thornton, Madeline Betts is also a sophomore at OSU. Her bio notes that she is studying management and marketing, two topics that would prove useful for any government flunky.
Betts’ fun fact is that she is “a self-proclaimed cookie dough and ranch dressing aficionado.”
That’s the sort of resume-boosting skill that your average marketing graduate may not be able to offer. As a result, Betts could find herself uniquely qualified for an Oklahoma Department of Agriculture position that the agency has long needed: Taste Tester.
Any governor worth his or her Alfalfa-County salt knows that increasing the number of Made In Oklahoma products available on shelves should drive entrepreneurship and exports, so Betts’ refined palate could be a valuable state resource.
Marcus Heald: Minister of Butt Rock
Another OSU student, Marcus Heald has immaculately groomed hair, a dapper wardrobe and possibly the most embarrassing fun fact of the E Foundation’s associates.
“In his free time, Marcus enjoys reading philosophy and listening to Nickelback,” the E Foundation Facebook post reads.
Perhaps this was an end-of-summer college prank perpetrated by whoever was running socials? (If so, bonus points for tagging Nickelback.)
But if not, unironically listening to one of America’s most hated bands might be the most courageous admission from a burgeoning politico in Oklahoma history, so Heald deserves some recognition for owning his scandalous proclivities.
On the other hand, one wonders just how badly Heald wants to be a rockstar. Assuming he truly craves a hill-top mansion with 15 cars, the Freedom-native might be best served as Todd Lamb’s Minister of Butt Rock. His efficiency initiative could limit state employee health insurance claims by increasing Medicaid reimbursements for any hospital willing to blast Nickelback through the halls.
Just be careful acting like an animal on state time, Marcus.
Saxon Allton: Official Oklahoma Wedding DJ
Not to be outdone by Heald, Bishop McGuinness graduate Saxon Allton has his own interest in music.
The senior at Vanderbilt University has a foothold in music city with a weekly radio broadcast.
“Saxon dedicates his Sunday nights to sending out slow jams to the Nashville area as a DJ for Vanderbilt Radio,” his fun fact reads.
That’s right, Allton has positioned himself to become Oklahoma’s Official Wedding DJ, should he find himself being offered a state job. Slow jams are critically important for the end of any wedding reception, so Allton should have no problem satisfying the lovebirds at the Oklahoma History Center, the State Capitol or any other location where we decide to recreate Oklahoma’s most awkward and infamous wedding.
Katy Feaver: State Square-Dance Instructor
If there’s one thing my fellow McKinley Elementary School graduates and I learned about Oklahoma history, it’s that you don’t want to grab your partner’s forearm too tightly in an allemande left.
As such, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma student Katy Feaver could help scores of bewildered, sweaty-palmed students in the position of State Square-Dance Instructor.
Feaver has been dancing for 15 years, according to her E Foundation fun fact.
That means she’s been promenading, boot-scooting and hunching longer than any current Oklahoma legislator has served in office.
If there’s one thing state government needs more of, it’s dancing.
Just maybe not to Nickelback.