Oklahoma Lawmaker Pushes Legislation To Get Veterans Jobs

Friday, February 8th 2013, 10:41 pm
By: News 9

Companies who are supposed to be creating jobs in Oklahoma, instead are collecting checks and moving jobs out of state. It's a program our investigative team first told you about in November 2012.  

Now one lawmaker is pushing legislation he hopes will not only change that, but also put veterans back in the workforce.

News 9 revealed the incentive program that created tens of thousands of good paying jobs here in Oklahoma, rewarded companies that cut jobs and sent them elsewhere. After four years of pushing the same bill to prohibit that, Rep. Eric Proctor hopes this time it will gain the momentum it needs to pass.

Outsourcing good paying jobs outside the state of Oklahoma is a problem Proctor says has been on-going for decades. 

"If you're going to create a job overseas while you're reducing your investments, or jobs in the state of Oklahoma, you can do that," said Proctor. "But, you're not going to do it with our money."

The hope is to put more accountability into the "Quality of Jobs Act" that Proctor says doesn't exist. Now, for a fourth year in a row, Proctor is hopeful with a unanimous vote coming out of the House, it won't be blocked by special interest groups.

"When I came back, I just asked for a job, and I was willing to settle for something," said Sgt. Shane Hannaford. "I didn't ask for a lot of money, just enough to put food on the table."

After seven tours of duty in Iraq, and two purple hearts as a U.S. Marine, Hannaford returned home to his family in Tulsa in 2008 unemployed. He was without work for six months, and says, at the time, he was married with two step daughters and a son.

"It's tough," said Hannaford. "It is, and it's really scary for a lot of vets."

Proctor, hopes to encourage Oklahoma companies to hire veterans like Hannaford with his newest bill. It would require companies to have at least 10-percent of military veterans as their new hires in order to get money from the state, part of the "Quality of Jobs Act."

"One out of every four people in the state who are unemployed, are military veterans," said Proctor. "That's unacceptable."

Hannaford now runs a very successful construction business in Tulsa. Unemployment for veterans remains well above the national average.