Doak Calls on Commissioner Holland to Take a Stand on Workers' Comp Reform

TULSA (April 22, 2010) – Today candidate for insurance commissioner John Doak condemned Governor Henry’s veto of a bipartisan workers’ compensation reform package, and called on Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland to take a stand on the legislation and join him in supporting an override of the governor’s veto.

“Oklahoma’s workers’ comp system is broken,” Doak said. “The legislature is trying to fix it for the benefit of workers, employers, and our economy but the governor has decided to block this progress and side with liberal trial lawyers.  Oklahoma needs to know if Commissioner Holland will stand with workers and employers, or if she will stand with liberal trial lawyers.”

The reform package consisted of three bills aimed at increasing efficiency in the workers’ comp system and increasing fairness for workers and employers.  The bills were handled by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee in the Senate and Representative Dan Sullivan in the House.  The legislation would have exempted employers from liability for injuries arising outside the course of employment, created the position of Medical Director of the Workers’ Compensation Court, required the Medical Director to have a medical license in order to serve, and improved Oklahoma’s treatment guidelines by establishing the American Medical Association’s guidelines as the criteria for compensation, among other reforms.

“The most frustrating thing about Governor Henry’s veto is that this was not a partisan issue,” Doak said.  “This reform package had bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature.  This is about fixing a broken system and making Oklahoma a better place to do business and bring jobs.  I hope Commissioner Holland will join the bipartisan effort for workers’ comp reform for the sake of our economy.

“The broken workers’ comp system is costing Oklahoma jobs at the worst time possible.  Employers are avoiding Oklahoma because of our workers’ comp system.  If we are going to lead Oklahoma out of this recession as quickly as possible, then we need our statewide leaders to stand up to the liberal trial lawyers and deliver these reforms.

“I applaud Senator Glenn Coffee and Representative Dan Sullivan for leading the legislature and working in a bipartisan fashion to send workers’ comp reform to the governor.  I hope Commissioner Holland will join me in supporting an override of the governor’s veto.”

Doak lives in Tulsa with his wife, Debby, and their two children, Zack and Kasey. Doak has spent most of his adult life providing insurance options to Oklahomans.  After graduation from the University of Oklahoma, Doak began his career as an insurance agent for State Farm in 1989 and rose to be an executive level leader in multiple insurance firms.