Advocate For The Elderly Calls For Gov. Fallin's Resignation
OKLAHOMA CITY - An advocate for the elderly is calling for the governor’s resignation after, he says, the governor blew him off while state agencies broke laws and regulations.
Wes Bledsoe of the group “A Perfect Cause” says he was trying to bring cases of elderly abuse and solutions to the governor’s attention. But he says she ignored him and he has the e-mails to prove it.
Wes Bledsoe says elder abuse in nursing facilities is very common. That’s why he wanted to continue meeting with the governor. He met with her staff at least three times, but he says when he was turned down over and over after that, he requested e-mails from the governor’s staff.
Three years and nine months later, he got them. Thousands of them. They show, when his request was forwarded to the governor’s chief of staff, Denise Northrup, her response was “Ugh”. And the response to another request, “Not happening...just slow play him for now.”
“They want to slow play me when I have 10-people who are dying from human rights violations in Oklahoma nursing homes every day. I have over 80 people who are suffering from human rights violations every single day and you want to slow play me?” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe says he wanted to show the governor proof that 43-separate laws and regulations were being violated. He suggested the firing of seven state officials including Terry Cline, who left as head of the Department of Health after 30-million dollars was misspent.
The internal e-mail response, “If we can’t ignore, I suggest that I take the meeting and structure around legal arguments for removal.”
“Why doesn’t this governor want a robust defense of the people of Oklahoma? The vulnerable adults. The Veterans. Their spouses. And others who have served this state and this nation. Why is that? She wants to defend these state agencies and these state agencies are a mess,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe says it’s time for the governor to resign. And if not, he says, “I’m hoping that there’s some lawmakers in this state who will start talking about the fact that she is incompetent and that she needs to be impeached if she refuses to resign.”
The governor’s office released a statement saying:
“Mr. Bledsoe has sent many emails to the governor’s office, often requesting meetings with key staff members on a subject he is passionate about. Key members of the governor’s staff met numerous times with Mr. Bledsoe, his board members and some of his clients to hear and discuss his concerns. Mr. Bledsoe during that time called for the resignation or termination of seven high-level officials.
Mr. Bledsoe later that year made a request for any and all communications with the governor and her staff that mentioned nursing homes, long-term care facilities, assisted living, group homes and several other related terms. That request was fulfilled and delivered to him.
Governor Fallin’s office has released more than 1.6 million (1,622,630) pages of records.”
The statement did not address the comments made by the governor’s staff or the call for her resignation. No one from the governor’s office would answer News 9’s questions on camera.