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Oklahoma Heritage Bookcenter

Making Things Better: Wes Watkins’ Legacy of Leadership

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By Kim D. Parrish --

Making Things Better: Wes Watkins’ Legacy of Leadership tells of one common man’s trek through history. Marching with a confidence fueled by poverty, personal insecurities, a serious speech impediment, uneducated parents, and an alcoholic father, he rode his passion, born of heartbreak, to be elected repeatedly to one of the most powerful positions one can achieve. The young boy who was afraid to open his mouth lest his friends ridicule him, gave speeches later to both the free and oppressed, to farmers and physicists, patricians and Ivy League professors.

His father broke his heart, and his mother mended it. He drew hatred from one man that was so deep it changed state history. A series of missteps cost him his most coveted role and set in motion a political earthquake of epic proportions, one whose fault-lines are felt even as these words are read—and perhaps for a generation to come.

He locked horns with the men and women who carved out America, and was not afraid to fight windmills against the greatest of odds. He wielded the most unexpected of weapons, clearly explained by the man on crutches who operated the elevator in his office building.

He walked away from his deepest pain, but tragedy found him time and again.

The woman of his dreams became his most trusted partner, closer than a sacred shadow. His children and grandchildren gave him the family he always craved. To know one man well is to know all men better, and to study the life and world of Wes Watkins opens up a Pandora ’s Box: the coming of age of an awkward and backward State, men’s senseless urgings, and the promise of words kept sanctified.

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