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New Oklahoma Policy Group Created By Lt. Gov. Could Boost Lamb's Future Campaign Profile

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb shorlty before the State of the State address Monday at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb shorlty before the State of the State address Monday at the Oklahoma state Capitol.

There’s a new political foundation in Oklahoma, and some of the members’ names come up frequently during discussions about Oklahoma business and government.

Last year, Michael Carnuccio left the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs to become president of the E Foundation.

“This is a group of individuals that have created substantial economic impact,” Carnuccio said. “They're in multiple industries: Energy, obviously. Higher education is another area that we have. Aerospace. Agriculture.”

The policy and strategy group includes some of Oklahoma's most influential businessmen, including BancFirst President David Rainbolt, oilman T. Boone Pickens and former Gov. Frank Keating. It was created by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, who is expected to run for governor in a couple years.

“This isn't just a study group,” Lamb said. “This isn't just white papers laying on top of desks, but create an action plan, a 20-year vision."

Political analysts told The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt that working closely with those members of the E Foundation could help set him up to run for that promotion:

Rose State College political science professor Joseph Campbell said the foundation gives people who have influenced government from behind the scenes a direct way to do so more publicly, and gives Lamb quality time with people who could support a future campaign. “He’s already got relationships with those people, but now that he’s working with them actively and is giving them input, you’re going to find greater support,” Campbell said. Oklahoma State University professor Chad Hankinson said the foundation could be a tool for Lamb before and after a campaign for governor. “It is not a big leap to think that could happen; nearly everyone on the E Foundation’s advisory council, executive committee and board of directors has donated money to his election campaigns as individuals or through their affiliated companies,” he said. “This is clearly not a diverse, nonpartisan group. Since this a collection of devoted political supporters, the likelihood that the foundation was created as a tool to promote his candidacy is better than zero.”

The E Foundation joins other public policy advocacy groups like the free market Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, the Oklahoma Academy, and the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Denwalt says Lamb doesn’t want the E Foundation to be thought of as a think tank, but rather a long-term strategic organization influenced by others’ research.

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