Democrats Name for Training Secretary Walters to Resign Over Dealing with Of Reduction Program

This story was produced in partnership with the Oklahoma nonprofit newsroom The Frontier.

Home Democrats on Wednesday referred to as on the governor to ask for Secretary of Training Ryan Walters’ resignation after an investigation by Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier discovered misspent federal aid funds supposed to assist college students throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

The $8-million Bridge the Hole Digital Pockets program used federal coronavirus aid funds to distribute $1,500-grants to households. The grants have been supposed for use to buy college provides and laptops, however tons of purchased TVs, gaming consoles, dwelling home equipment and different objects, Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier discovered. 

“We’re not right here in the present day to ask for Ryan Walters’ resignation. We’re right here in the present day to ask why the governor has not,” Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del Metropolis, mentioned at a press convention Wednesday. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt named Walters as Secretary of Training in September 2020. Walters can be government director of the nonprofit Each Child Counts Oklahoma and is operating for state superintendent. 

One other Stitt appointee, Jerry Winchester, resigned as government director of the Oklahoma Division of Tourism and Recreation in April after allegations of inappropriate spending on a contract with Swadley’s Foggy Backside Kitchen eating places at state parks. 

Fugate mentioned corruption and an absence of transparency has been a recurring theme with Stitt’s administration. “This week, it’s the governor’s college voucher pilot program. Earlier than that, it was Swadley’s. Unaccountable and misspent CARES funding. The laundry checklist is lengthy,” he mentioned. 

Reps. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman; Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater; and John Waldron, D-Tulsa additionally attended the press convention.

Stitt has no plans to ask for Walters’ resignation, Carly Atchison, a spokeswoman for the governor’s workplace, mentioned in an e-mail. 

“Secretary Walters is doing a terrific job combating for folks’ proper to be answerable for their little one’s schooling and advocating for funding college students, not government-controlled programs,” she wrote. 

Walters couldn’t be reached for remark. 

Jennifer Palmer has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers schooling. Contact her at (405) 761-0093 or [email protected] Observe her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC

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