Should Ryan Walters Be Impeached?: Oklahoma Leaders Discuss

“One of the top jobs for the State Superintendent is to educate kids and keep them safe. In his first eight months, Ryan Walters has done neither,” said Rep. Dollens. “It's just been one thing after another. After the recent bomb threats, that's when I knew I needed to step up.”

Friday, August 25th 2023, 5:43 pm



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There are calls from House democrats for the impeachment of State Superintendent Ryan Walters, but House republicans say, it’s not time to take that step just yet.

Representative Mickey Dollens called on the leaders of the House and Senate to begin the impeachment process.

“I can't sit back and watch from the sidelines anymore,” said Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC).

In a tweet, Dollens said: 

“Due to Ryan Walters' persistent weaponization of his office, three bomb threats have been made against an Elementary school, putting innocent lives at risk. I call upon @SpeakerMcCall and @Sen_GregTreat to immediately start the impeachment process and let us vote to remove Walters before irreversible harm is inflicted.”

“One of the top jobs for the State Superintendent is to educate kids and keep them safe. In his first eight months, Ryan Walters has done neither,” said Rep. Dollens. “It's just been one thing after another. After the recent bomb threats, that's when I knew I needed to step up.”

Although Dollens is already talking about impeachment, others don’t think it's time.

“There's a lot of things that would be impeachable, but he hasn't reached any of those,” said Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore).

While he made the call on social media, Dollens says a formal request would have to come from a republican.

“I'm a democrat in a supermajority republican party, and with people in the state of Oklahoma electing GOP leadership, in the House, Senate and governor's seat; articles of impeachment would have to come from them,” said Rep. Dollens.

But McBride says it’s not in the cards for a republican to start that process yet.

“I'm not defending Secretary Walters - but is it his fault that some sick individual called in a bomb threat? That's kind of a stretch,” said Rep. McBride.

After continued calls of impeachment from a handful of lawmakers and the public, all eyes are on Walters.

“At this point there's more members of the legislature that are very dissatisfied with what's going on,” said Rep. McBride.

Dollens argues that dissatisfaction is not the only issue.

“To this point- there is a dereliction of duty, lying to the legislature, not applying for federal grants, giving out inappropriate materials to our legislative assistants,” said Rep. Dollens.

McBride says it would take criminal charges to impeach.

“Just because you don't like somebody or don't like what they say doesn't mean they've committed a crime or you can impeach them,” said Rep. McBride.

“I would definitely support the impeachment,” said Rep. Dollens.

Superintendent Walters did not respond to a request for comment on the call for impeachment.

The Senate Pro Tem’s office released a statement: 

“Any impeachment proceedings on any individual would need to originate in the House. The Senate would serve as a jury. Until there are articles of impeachment brought to the Senate, we won’t be able to comment.” - Alex Gerszewski Communications Director, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat

Walters full statement on the Union bomb threats: 

"Any threat against Oklahoma schools, our children, or other officials is reprehensible and absolutely unacceptable. There is an ongoing investigation into the nature of these threats, and I know the full weight of our law enforcement agencies will be brought to bear against those who would threaten our kids,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

House Speaker Charles McCall’s statement:

“First and foremost, I want to condemn the bomb threats leveled against multiple public schools here in Oklahoma this week. Violence, and threats of violence, whether a hoax or legitimate, against our students are completely unacceptable and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Secondly, I would like to see the political activism surrounding education eliminated, and more targeted action plans focused on raising test scores and increasing education outcomes for our students. Recently, it seems as if 5% of the people are stirring up controversy, while the other 95% just want to see our kids get better test scores and succeed in the classroom.
Oklahoma classrooms should not be laboratories for political activism, they should be places where our kids go to learn the basic education skills needed to succeed. In the same way, Oklahoma’s elected leaders should not be adding fuel to the fires of controversy, we should be focused on making sure our kids are getting a good education, and our educational outcomes are improving.
Oklahoma’s education ranking is among the lowest in the country for a number of reasons, and that ranking isn’t going to change if we are constantly engaged in a political battle of wills. We must get the focus back on student outcomes, and away from political rhetoric.
I’m calling on all involved parties to end the rhetoric and do better for the children of Oklahoma.”
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