In 1992, Tulsa World editorial writer, David Averill, wrote a shocking essay reflecting the frustrations of Tulsan and calling for a 'secession' of sorts.
In those days, Oklahoma was staunchly Dixiecrat (southern conservative Democrats). But Tulsa and much of northern Oklahoma was traditionally Republican. This situation led to deep frustrations over how state investments in infrastructure and other budgetary decisions were made.
The clearly leftist wrtiters at the Tulsa World sought to capitalize on this situation and call for Tulsa and other Green Country counties to join the state of Kansas.
Tulsa, Kan. // Secession Is Out of the Question;
So Let's Join Our Northern NeighborsSunday, March 22, 1992 12:00 am, by David Averill
The remark, this latest time, came during a conversation about State Question 640, the new constitutional amendment that effectively ended representative democracy in Oklahoma.
The enlightened parts of the state, including Tulsa and most of eastern Oklahoma, voted against the misbegotten plan, but other areas of the state voted for it, and it passed. The vote in favor of SQ 640 was heaviest in the least enlightened areas, for example, Oklahoma City.
Tulsans increasingly realize that dragging the rest of Oklahoma into the 20th century, let alone the 21st, is a nearly impossible job, maybe beyond the capabilities even of Tulsans. So they say, "Tulsa should just secede from Oklahoma and become its own state."
Let's nip that talk in the bud. Tulsa isn't big enough to be a state. And creating a 51st state would be a major constitutional and congressional headache. Ask Puerto Rico.
No, a better plan would be for Tulsa and part of the northeast to secede from Oklahoma and annex itself to another state, namely Kansas. Kansas would be the best choice. Arkansas is too backward.
Let's face it, take away northwest Arkansas and Arkansas is Mississippi with shoes. Missouri would offer professional baseball, a definite plus, but Tulsa would be only the third largest city in Missouri and might get lost in the shuffle. But Tulsa (pop. 367,302) would be the largest city in Kansas, ahead of Wichita (pop. 304,011) and Kansas City (pop. 149,767).
There are other arguments in favor of the match. Wichita is big in aviation and aerospace, so is Tulsa. Western Kansas has oil and natural gas, and we wrote the book on oil and gas in Tulsa. It has wheat, and we know all about wheat in Tulsa.
We've been told for years that every surrounding state has better roads, lower workers' compensation rates, higher teachers' salaries and lower taxes than Oklahoma. So moving in with any of them, expecially Kansas, would be an improvement for Tulsans. Politically, Kansas is a bastion of traditional Republicanism, same as Tulsa.
Kansas has a turnpike, we have turnpikes. Kansas has outstanding state universities. And as the largest city in Kansas, Tulsa would almost have to have a free-standing, four-year, state-supported institution of higher learning. The University of Kansas at Tulsa, better known as UKanT. The universities of Wichita and Tulsa already have a great basketball rivalry. Just think how much more spirited it would be as a "cross-state rivalry."
Tulsans also would then be able to claim the great Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and statesman, as a native son. What can Tulsa and Green Country offer Kansas? Lots of things: Business, industry and commerce. Almost enough population to qualify for another congressman. Two great museums; opera, ballet and symphony. A major airport. An inland waterway, doorway to the Gulf of Mexico.
The new southern boundary of Kansas might run along the Arkansas River from Arkansas City to the Tulsa County line near Lake Keystone, and then east along the southern boundaries of Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes and Delaware counties to the Arkansas line, and due north back to the current Kansas line.
The new Kansas Bootheel, as it would be known, would bring to Kansas the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve; Grand, Hudson, Oologah and Skiatook lakes (that's got to be more lakes than all of Kansas has now), and several nice towns, including Bartlesville, Pryor, Vinita and Miami. The Bootheel also would include Claremore, so Will Rogers henceforth would be known as the beloved Kansas humorist.
But most of all we would offer Kansas ourselves. Tulsans are hip. Tulsans are aware. They're now, they're with it, they're happening. Any state would love to have us. Tulsa, Kan. It has a nice ring. Let's get the ball rolling on this.
I made a rational adjustment to Averill's proposal. Ponca City is a natural part of the cultural identity of southern Kansas. So I extended Averill's proposed border westward along the county line of Kay County.
There are so many changes that have happened in the 22 years since this publication. The political winds have shifted with great intensity and other legal matters would deeply impact the feasibility.
It will make for an interesting discussion...