77 Series: Pontotoc County
name is Bevon Rogers and I am running for U.S. Senate in 2020 as a Democrat. In
order to support me in the Primary Election on June 30th, you will have to be a
registered Democrat because Oklahoma has closed primaries. I have been closely
examining each county in Oklahoma to discover where the weak links are in our
state’s economy and I have compiled each economic essay in a project called the
77 Series. You can find the series on my campaign website, www.bevonforsenate.com. My primary focus is on Oklahoma economy, but in
Oklahoma’s fourth congressional district, my focus is on building our industry through
expansion in our meat processing industry. I am also focusing on industry
expansion through enhancing our manufacturing layer within our state economy. I
began to hone in on our educational needs when I saw that Noble had to
fundraise its educational resources from the community. The way it should be
done is through raising the funds from industry; I will continue expanding on
the beef industrial complex that will exist in McClain County, but as I
continue exploring the fourth congressional district, I will bring up industry
needs as they arise.
The first thing I noticed as I began exploring Pontotoc County is that it is sometimes referred to as “Hereford Heaven”. I am happy to see such a title as we have made Oklahoma’s fourth congressional district home to a beef processing complex that processes, packages, and distributes our Oklahoma beef. The cattle ranchers in this area have a lot of economic opportunity coming as they can sell their cattle on a market that buys 1,800 pound heifers instead of ranchers selling 400-1000 pound cattle; we need that extra 800 pounds as a state and this drives our efforts to establish our own processing facility.
I am no stranger to Ada either, in Pontotoc County. When I was younger we would meet in this city for academic events at East Central University and I participated in the Spanish Aptitude Exam for our school district. This was before I began studying Chinese at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. Nonetheless, the event was a lot of fun and it was great to see students from similar school districts display their aptitudes. We have a lot of ground to cover in order to establish Oklahoma as a top state for its citizen education, but we are off to a good start through building our economy, bringing in new businesses, and focusing on how we can expand our industry.
Ada is home to the Chickasaw Nation and I touched on the strength of this Sovereign Nation in earlier essays by pointing toward the Chickasaw Nation Industries. The tribe is doing an incredible job and expanding their manufacturing capabilities and creating more jobs each year as they build their enterprise in congressional district four. When I was at the University of Oklahoma, I worked for the Riverwind Casino and had my employee training in Ada. All of our tribal industries have their onboarding processes down and as we move into the future, we may need to discuss how technology can facilitate continual growth within our 38 Sovereign Nations. This will be a good subject matter to cover when we meet over the next several months and continue with the development of the five district projects.
I believe Pontotoc County is positioned perfectly for harnessing the industrial expansion occurring in our state. The county has the BNSF Railway going through Francis and Roff, but Ada is more or less isolated from major railway traffic. This is not a strange occurrence in our state as 1 in 4 of our railways that were constructed made it into the 21st century. We will need to build a long railway that goes from Oklahoma City, through Cleveland, Pottawatomie, Pontotoc, Coal, Atoka, and Choctaw counties and into Texas. Looking at the map of existing railways, we can easily pass through Hugo Oklahoma and this railway project will be economically stimulating as it provides jobs and provides new distribution channels for the areas that are already experiencing industrial expansion; the creation of new railways will also enhance the limestone operations.
In the early 20th century, cotton played a major role in the county. However, like most areas that used to survive on cotton production in Oklahoma, the crop never made a comeback and it has hurt the state immensely over the past one hundred years. Since the beginning of the 77 Series, I have been discussing cotton; the nation’s textile industry is doing great and I wanted the state to seize economic opportunity from the enormous cotton produces in Texas. However, this was more difficult than I had anticipated. Initially, I wanted to buy raw cotton, with seeds, from a cotton field in Amarillo. My original plan was to install a cotton gin in Arapaho and to have the cotton sent by the Grainbelt Corporation Railway. I met legislative issues due to the regulation of cotton gins in the state and knew something had to change. This became increasingly more important when I discovered that not only was our cotton processing industry overregulated, but we had no cotton production either.
When we are expanding our industry, we will have to expand our farming acreage. I would like for Oklahomans, especially those close to large sections of land, to look at what is growing on these sections and realize the potential. Whenever I look over a section of land and see nothing but young brush, I see an empty canvas; the largest trees in these old fields and no older than 80 years; essentially, our old cotton fields are overgrown and through infestation and industrial shifts, we have long forgotten how many acres of premium agriculture land we have. I would also like to bring up invasive species in this essay as well. The trees that have overtaken our ag-lands are invasive; the trees spread rapidly and provide little in the means of environmental benefit or raw material sustenance. Should we restore our farming acreage and remove these invasive trees, we can greatly increase our industrial capabilities. I will continue expanding on increasing our agricultural acreage through the clearing of invasive species as we continue enclosing on the scope of Project D4.