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(Cattlemen’s Congress photo).

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who was recently removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, recently had a meat-only barbecue honoring the citizens of his state. Unfortunately, he did so at the behest of a lobbying group, rather than to support the people of Oklahoma. 

Grilling meat under a PETA sign that called the Governor a “meathead,” Stitt proudly crowed about his positive relationship with the Oklahoma Agriculture industry, promising his continued support. The man who declared “All meat week” as a way to troll Governor Polis of Colorado, seemed unbothered by his tone-deaf food food party, particularly given the population of Oklahomans experiencing food insecurity. 

In Oklahoma, one in seven adults faces food insecurity. 20% of Oklahoma’s children struggle with hunger. Over 45% of families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have children. A barbecue for lobbyists does not help the over half a million Oklahomans who are at risk for hunger and food insecurity.

Governor prefers political games over policy goals

“While Governor Polis in Colorado declared today a ‘meatless holiday,’ next week in Oklahoma is ‘MEAT ALL WEEK,'” Stitt said in a Facebook post. The Oklahoma governor continued, “Do what you can to buy and eat protein. I can’t wait to have a big juicy ribeye — and I will always stand with our farmer and ranchers!”

Governor Stitt can love meat — and use that love to stand with people facing food insecurity in Oklahoma. He could have donated that meat to a food bank. He could have asked all attendees to bring canned goods. And he could have used the moment to bring public awareness to people facing food insecurity, rather than promoting the Oklahoma agriculture industry. 

Yet he chose to troll PETA, the governor of Colorado, and his favorite target, “radical leftists” — also known as the people who see food as a right, not a privilege.

Governor Stitt, under your leadership, Oklahoma is a mess. We are ranked #45 in teen pregnancies (2017), #49 in citizens without health insurance, we are #43 in public safety, and our children attend schools in a state that ranks #44 in public education from K-12. Stop trolling, and start answering to the citizens who you swore to serve, many of whom need help, not patronizing.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...