House Dems ramp up impeachment talk for Walters


Supt. of Public Instruction Ryan Walters

By John Dobberstein, Editor

Oklahoma Democrats called for the Speaker of the House to form a special bipartisan committee to investigate possible impeachment charges against State Supt. of Public Instruction Ryan Walters.

Lawmakers interested in impeachment believe Walters’ “rhetoric” about Tulsa Public Schools led to recent bomb threats at Tulsa-area elementary schools. The Tulsa Police Department, FBI and other jurisdictions investigating the threats said Monday that similar threats are being made nationwide, not just in Tulsa. The House Speaker is Charles McCall (R-Atoka).

“Oklahomans deserve a public school system where parents, students and teachers feel safe to go to school and the needs of our students are prioritized over dangerous political rhetoric,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater) in a statement.

House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City) said the special bipartisan committee would investigate the current state superintendent “to determine if his actions rise to the level of impeachment.

“Allocating funds for public education should be free of corruption or political gain. There is already evidence of Walters’ corruption through misspent federal dollars along with discrepancies in his campaign finances,” Munson said in a statement. “Paired with his toxic rhetoric that is impacting the safety of our schools, we believe it is more than enough to, at the very least, investigate him.”

Rep. Melissa Provenzano said Walters’ statements have been “harmful and potentially compromised the safety of school children,” adding that Walters has been “willfully neglecting his duty of office.”

“The rhetoric from the state superintendent has, up until now, been designed to distract and ‎sow chaos. But now, elementary schools in the Tulsa area have received bomb threats as a ‎result of disinformation shared by him. Our children deserve to be safe. The willful neglect of ‎that duty, even in the highest offices in our state, cannot and will not be ‎overlooked. Enough is enough,” Provenzano added.

Walters shot back at the Dems earlier today with his own statement.

“These liberal Democrats will stop at nothing to defend their union bosses and push a radical agenda on our kids,” Walters said. “In seeking to remove a popularly elected constitutional officer, they represent a direct threat to our democracy. It’s shameful, and Oklahomans won’t be fooled.

Walters added he is “fighting to ensure Oklahoma parents have a place at the table and Oklahoma kids have a brighter future."

The turmoil surrounding Tulsa Public Schools reached a fever pitch last week when Supt. Deborah Gist resigned in hopes of keeping the district under local control. The district is facing investigations by the FBI and State Auditor Cindy Byrd over alleged misappropriation of district funds.

Walters also faces an FBI investigation, this one over misspent educational relief funds meant to help students during the pandemic while Walters was director of the nonprofit Every Kid Counts Oklahoma. The Oklahoman reported a probe into the Bridge the Gap program earlier this month.

As of Tuesday afternoon it didn’t appear McCall had announced if he would move toward forming the committee.

The impeachment talk regarding Walters isn’t new. A group dubbed “Families 4 Liberty” has unveiled a website on the matter, F4L describes itself as “a coalition of Oklahoma taxpayers who are concerned about the damaging rhetoric and actions of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ryan Walters.

The group is organizing in all 77 counties “to mobilize toward the process of impeachment and (Ryan’s) removal. Parents should be in the driver’s seat of their children’s education, and we believe that begins with removing Ryan Walters from any leadership positions that impact children and families.”

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified