Monday, February 7, 2011

Josh Cockroft Begins Political Career

(by Robby Short, Shawnee News Star)

Rep. Josh Cockroft, who at 21 is one of the three youngest members serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the session which begins Monday, is author of seven bills.
 Cockroft is one of eight children. All eight were home schooled by both parents. Cockroft also attended online classes at Calvary Chapel Bible College in California for two semesters.
“I was really blessed to be in the situation that I was in, having my parents teach me,” Cockroft said. “My mom majored in journalism in college and my dad majored in math. I was extremely fortunate to receive a high quality education. Given the chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat.”
Cockroft said he will continue working as an apprentice for Efficient Heating and Cooling in Moore following the legislative session.
“I am taking time off for the legislative session, but will return to work for the company in June,” Cockroft said. “I will obtain my journeyman license in early summer and will be a certified technician at that point. I’ve worked with this company for about eight months, and will probably be working with them for some time to come.”
Cockroft is author of H.B. 1543, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2011, which would set a five year phase-out of the state income tax.
“This will allow taxpayers to retain more of their hard earned money which will in turn, stimulate our economy,” Cockroft said. “It is best when the government takes a step back and allows individuals to live their lives freely.
Three of Cockroft seven bills deal with education.
H.B. 1544 would change school board election dates to match state, county, and local election cycles. H.B. 1546 would give students elective credit for administration-approved volunteer community service. And H.B. 1545 would give all military personnel in-state status, which would wave out-of-state tuition for service members living and attending college in the state.
“We must find out how we can help our students gain the highest quality of education they can. We need to look at how technology can help us in the classroom,” Cockroft said. “We must look at getting out of the, ‘we’ve done it this way for years’ mentality, and look for new innovative ways to help our students.” 
HJR 1017 will redirect a percentage of new growth from property taxes toward county funds that are used to cover transportation costs for the state.
“Over the next year, I want to look at how we can redirect some of the taxes that are gained from diesel and gasoline, as well as tag and license fees, that are going to the general revenue right now, and place them in the transportation budget,” Cockroft explained. “This will allow more funds that were meant for transportation to be used in the construction and maintenance of roadways and bridges.”
The remaining bills authored by Cockroft are H.B. 1547 which would eliminate local fees for concealed carry permit applicants, and H.B. 1542 which he said would brand drivers’ licenses for DUI and DWI offenders.
“I don’t have any political aspirations at all right now. I don’t believe a statesman should ever plan his next step in politics, because when you plan it out, it becomes easier to compromise your beliefs to gain votes,” Cockroft said. “If God has bigger plans for me in politics, I don’t know. I’ll take that one step at a time. I want to focus on doing the best where I am now before worrying about my next move.”

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