Staff | October 18, 2018
Cheers to 25 years!
Happy birthday to us!
Forgive us for a moment as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. What began as a glimmer of an idea in 1993 has now grown to become one of the most effective and influential state-level public policy think tanks in America.
Best of all, we continue to adhere to our founding principles—that government and the taxes that fund it should be limited to what is necessary, and that personal and economic liberty are the surest paths to prosperity.
The idea for OCPA emerged from one visionary man, Oklahoma City physician Dr. David Brown. In 1993, he was serving as a trustee for The Heritage Foundation, where fellow board member Tom Roe regularly told him of a state-level public policy think tank in South Carolina.
Dr. Brown teamed up with local business leader Thurman Magbee, and in the fall of 1993 OCPA was born with one staff member, a small, makeshift office, and an equally minuscule group of early backers and supporters.
Soon, we were making noise: a squeak or two in the beginning, then a mounting roar. The electoral sweep of 1994 brought conservative leaders like Frank Keating and Tom Coburn into office, the balance in the Oklahoma Legislature began to shift, and within a few years, OCPA was helping drive the agenda.
We supported right-to-work; it passed. We proposed tax, tort, and workers compensation reforms to make Oklahoma more attractive and competitive. All were enacted. We floated new ideas about school choice, and some of those became reality as well.
One of our best ideas was to reform our state’s grossly underfunded public pension systems, an issue few policymakers were discussing at the time. In a few short years, we have helped trim billions in future unfunded liabilities.
Through the years, OCPA has brought outstanding speakers on public issues to Oklahoma. We’ve expanded our staff and influence, built a new headquarters within sight of the state Capitol dome, and broadened our financial support base exponentially. Today, we continue to stand first and foremost with the citizens and taxpayers of Oklahoma—a state that is better and stronger now than it was in 1993.
That’s our first 25 years...just watch what comes next!