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Oklahoma CEOs and Leaders Call On Congress to Address Economic Crisis

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 1, 2008 - OSU President Burns Hargis and leaders from 15 other Oklahoma-based major employers have called today for Congress to take immediate steps to enact legislation to address the worsening economic crisis in America. Even though the CEOs represent different political philosophies and various businesses, they are united in the belief that the continued inability of Congress to act on resolving the worst U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression will result in real and potentially dangerous economic consequences for every Oklahoman.

Oklahoma CEOs and leaders issuing the following joint statement include:
•    Clay Bennett, Chairman of the Oklahoma City (NBA) Thunder
•    David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma
•    Bill Cameron, CEO of American Fidelity Assurance Company
•    Pete Delaney, Chairman, President and CEO of OGE Energy Corp.
•    John Gibson, CEO of ONEOK and Chairman and CEO of ONEOK Partners
•    Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University
•    Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, Inc.
•    Cliff Hudson, Chairman and CEO of Sonic Corp.
•    George Kaiser, Chairman of BOK Financial Corporation
•    Robert E. Lorton III, Publisher, Tulsa World
•    Aubrey McClendon, Chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation
•    Larry Nichols, Chairman and CEO of Devon Energy Corporation
•    Gene Rainbolt, Chairman of BancFirst Corporation
•    George Records Sr., Chairman of Midland Financial Co.
•    Stacy Schusterman, Chairman and CEO of Samson
•    Tom Ward, Chairman and CEO of SandRidge Energy

Joint Statement
Our economic system is at risk.  The potential consequences are real.  The time to act responsibly is now.
We are extremely disappointed in Congress’ inability to take the immediate and comprehensive action needed to address a financial crisis of historic magnitude. We are in the midst of a dangerous economic downturn that we fear could become substantially worse if Congress fails to act.   We only have to look back at our own history to understand what happens when a lack of trust and stability shakes our financial system.  In the face of this danger, continued inaction by our Federal Government is not an option in our view.
All Americans require a strong banking system and open access to affordable credit to continue growing our businesses and institutions.  As it stands now, businesses of all types and sizes will be severely impacted because short-term and long-term credit has and will continue to evaporate.  Start up businesses will not be able to get off the ground.  Home mortgages will become even more difficult to obtain.  In addition, foreign investors may withdraw their investments in U.S. government securities, potentially causing the value of the dollar to tumble dramatically, leading to prolonged economic uncertainty and instability.
We firmly believe in America’s free enterprise system and in letting the market ultimately decide the winners and losers.   While we embrace limited government intervention into markets, we recognize this is an extraordinary situation requiring extraordinary action to resolve.  This crisis is pervasive to the point that even well managed and prudently operated companies can suffer serious unintended consequences without access to credit markets to fund growth initiatives that produce jobs for Oklahomans and revenues for our state to fund education, health, safety and other critical and essential programs.   Extended delay or defeat of the plan will hurt everyone.   
Like many Oklahomans, the irresponsible action of some in the financial sector that led to the current credit crisis disappoints us.  Nevertheless, we realize that if America’s financial system grinds to a halt, America’s commerce will as well, resulting in the gravest threat to our country’s prosperity since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.   
We are proud of the success of our companies and institutions – we have been prime movers in Oklahoma’s economic resurgence during the past decade.  We trust Congress will rise to the occasion to act decisively to protect America’s economy and in doing so, will keep Oklahoma’s economy moving ahead on a positive path.  
Leadership matters and it is time to lead.  This is no time to play the blame game.  We urgently need non-partisan political leadership.  We congratulate Representatives Boren and Cole for their courageous vote earlier this week for the $700 billion economic recovery bill and we respectfully request that Representatives Fallin, Lucas and Sullivan reconsider their opposition to the plan.  While this plan may not be perfect, we believe that failing to pass it is a risk too great for Oklahomans and for all Americans to take.  

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