Trent England | March 5, 2018
Celebrating 25 years of advancing freedom
The Space Shuttle Endeavour was sent to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, gasoline cost $1.16 per gallon, and Beanie Babies were sold for the first time. The year was 1993. Here in Oklahoma, a group of community leaders were frustrated with state politics. Corruption was rife—Gov. David Walters had pled guilty to minor charges to avoid prosecution for more serious offenses. The county commissioner scandal of the 1980s had made national news and suspicion of similar corruption lingered. Most politicians saw the answer to every problem as tax and spending increases.
Led by Dr. David Brown, these community leaders created a novel institution—a state-focused think tank. While there were a number of national policy organizations, there were only a few operating at the state level. Their vision for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs was an institution that would conduct research and make recommendations to make Oklahoma a more prosperous state for the sake of the people who live here.
The three initial goals were simple. First, make Oklahoma a right-to-work state, where no person could be fired for refusing to be part of a union. Second, reform the wasteful and abusive workers compensation system. And third, eliminate the state income tax so that Oklahoma could compete on an even playing field with Texas. Along the way, two of those goals were accomplished and others were added. The most important new goal is school choice: opening doors for Oklahoma kids to get the very best education for their own unique needs.
All these goals line up with OCPA’s principles: limited government, free markets, and individual liberty (which comes with individual responsibility). After 25 years, we are excited to see the progress we have made. Even more, we are excited for the next 25 years—and beyond—of working to make Oklahoma the very best state in which to start a business, raise a family, and flourish.
David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow
Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.