OKLAHOMA CITY — Thursday, as the governor announced her bid for re-election, a group, who wants to see storm shelters in all schools, stood outside in protest.
The protesters are gathering signatures, hoping to get on the ballot a $500-million bond issue which would help to build storm shelters in schools across the state.
It was a quiet protest. The goal was not to make a ruckus but to bring awareness to the issue at hand.
It’s an issue the governor says is important to her, even though she does not support a bond issue the protestors and others would like to see put on the ballot in our state.
Lavonne Sauer, one of the protesters, said, “I’m here to support the children we’ve lost and to keep us from losing any other children.”
The protest was held outside the Oklahoma History Center. Their signs were made to show the governor and anyone who came by why storm shelters are so important in Oklahoma schools.
Kristi Conatzer, whose daughter Emily died in Plaza Towers Elementary, said, “She (Governor Fallin) made promises a long time ago that she was going to stand behind us and help us do what we needed to get done and that hasn’t happened.”
As Conatzer, Sauer and others stood outside the governor was inside announcing her bid for re-election.
Conatzer believes the governor has not held true to the promises she made to the families who lost loved ones in the May 20, 2013, storm.
Conatzer said, “She lied to my face.”
It’s an accusation the governor took time to address.
Governor Mary Fallin said, “I don’t know what she has said, but I think I demonstrated very clearly what my commitment is not only to children but to the community.”
Fallin says the issue of storm shelters in schools is an important one. She says while she doesn’t support the bond issue she believes she and the protestors have the same goal.
Fallin said, “It is a very important issue we need to discuss in the state of Oklahoma. How can we better protect our children, especially when they are in our schools.”
Protesters say the discussion isn’t what needs to be done, but how to get a safe room in every school.
Conatzer said, “I just would like Mary Fallin to consider protecting our kids like she is protected during a storm, in her basement.”
The governor did say she is looking in to what can be done to protect Oklahoma children.
She says there’s a good chance it’s an issue that will be talked about on the campaign trail throughout this next year.