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Wednesday, November 22, 2006 

Mayor Mum on Reasons For Suspensions

By P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer Action against city attorney, his deputy called private personnel matter Mayor Kathy Taylor said Tuesday that she had a good reason for disciplining City Attorney Alan Jackere and Deputy City Attorney Larry Simmons, but she refused to discuss specifics. "I would never take any action to do anything to harm the (city) team unless I had a very specific reason to do so," Taylor said when pressed about whether she told the attorneys why she disciplined them. Taylor placed Jackere and Simmons on paid administrative leave Sunday for an undetermined period. Jackere and Simmons said Monday that they weren't told why they were suspended other than that the mayor based her action on a "preliminary report." Simmons and Jackere said they were not interviewed for the report, nor do they know who prepared it. Jackere has worked for the city for 30 years, and Simmons has worked for the city for 24 years. Read more... Posted at 11/22/2006 06:39:00 AM |

Issue of anonymous trusts as lottery winners to be studied

By ANGEL RIGGS World Capitol Bureau OKLAHOMA CITY -- A committee established by the state Lottery Commission will determine whether anonymous trusts are allowed to receive winnings, officials said Tuesday. To maintain the lottery's transparency, the names of lottery winners are considered public information. However, this year the winners of two major prizes, including a $101.8 million jackpot, have remained anonymous by forming a blind trust to collect their winnings. That creates a problem for lottery officials who determine the eligibility of the winners, including whether they owe taxes or child support payments. Jim Scroggins, the lottery's executive director, told commissioners that he understands why some people would want to collect their winnings anonymously. Read more... Posted at 11/22/2006 06:37:00 AM |

California Congressman Cancels Plans for Bombing Hearings

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A California congressman who wanted to conduct hearings into a possible foreign connection to the Oklahoma City bombing says he has canceled those plans. Republican U-S Representative Dana Rohrabacher says a House subcommittee he chairs will issue a report in December instead of conducting hearings, which had planned to hold November 15th. Rohrabacher will lose his position as the chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee when Democrats assume power in January. During his investigation, Rohrabacher has met with convicted bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and traveled to the Philippines, where Nichols spent time in the months before the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people. Posted at 11/22/2006 06:33:00 AM |

Gay Rights Advocate Keith Smith Dead at 51

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A well-known advocate for gay rights in Oklahoma has died. Close friends of Keith Smith say the Alva native passed away just before midnight last night at Integris Hospital in Oklahoma City. He was 51. Longtime state Senator Bernest Cain said Smith was known around the Capitol as a tireless advocate who pushed to involve more people in the political process. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Smith was the first openly gay delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma. He was a member of the National Board of Stonewall Democrats and a former American Cvil Liberties Union Oklahoma and national board member. As president of the lobbying firm The Smith Group, his client's included the A-C-L-U, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Oklahoma Policy Consortium for People with Disabilities and the National Association of Social Workers. Posted at 11/22/2006 06:28:00 AM |
Monday, November 20, 2006 

Political 'Hacks' End The Season On A Hungry note

Transcript Staff Writer OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the vast majority of Oklahomans, the 2006 campaign season ended at 7:01 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. Sure, a handful of recounts dragged the cycle out a few days longer for a handful; but most of us went back to our normal lives come Nov. 8. Most, but not everybody. For a select few -- namely Democratic candidates, consultants and contributors -- the 2006 campaign season ended Saturday at Macklanburg-Duncan Park in Oklahoma City at the 29th annual Political Hacks Chili Cook-off. A tradition which spans decades, the Hack's Chili Cook-off gives political junkies one last chance to get together and "cuss and discuss" the election season, celebrate or commiserate their wins (or losses), drink some ice cold beer, and eat lots and lots of chili. Chili that's made outdoors. Chili that's cleverly named. Chili that's cooked by people who aren't chefs, but political professionals. "The original cook-off was actually at my house," says founder Hershel Lamirand. "There were six of us and my stove only had four burners. We had to cook, talk and share -- in that order." This year's cook-off drew several hundred attendees, a dozen or so cooks, and even had its own band. "We've grown a little since then," Lamirand, the executive director of the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, said. Composed of mostly Democratic campaign staff, consultants and supporters, the cookoff has, on occasion, been visited by the stray Republican or two and, over the years, has developed a unique history. There have been speeches. And beer. A fist fight between consultants. And beer. Long running political debates. And beer. And, of course, the chili. Read more... Posted at 11/20/2006 09:54:00 PM |

Todd Thompsen Wins Oklahoma House Seat in Recount:

Speaker-designate Cargill Praises Thompsen’s Leadership Todd Thompsen – a southeastern Oklahoma representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of OU’s 1985 championship football team – Monday became the newly-elected state representative for Ada-based House District 25, after a recount showed him winning by a two-vote margin there. House Speaker-elect Lance Cargill congratulated Thompsen on the recount results. “Every vote counts, and this shows that Oklahoma’s democratic process works well,” said Cargill (R-Harrah). “I know that people of House District 25 are ready to see Todd Thompsen working on their behalf at the state capitol. We’re looking forward to having the results certified and swearing Representative Thompsen in before Thanksgiving.” Cargill thanked Oklahoma’s election officials for their professionalism and hard work during the recount, and he praised Thompsen’s leadership. “Representative Thompsen is a quality individual who will bring his strong character and integrity to the state capitol,” Cargill said. “He will help us bring people together to do great things for Oklahoma.” Thompsen’s victory Monday means that House Republicans will maintain a 57-seat majority in the state House with no losses. Posted at 11/20/2006 09:48:00 PM |

Smoking Down 13% Since Tax Hike

by Janice Francis-Smith The Journal Record 11/20/2006 OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma has reached a historic point regarding the state of its citizens’ health, members of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund board of directors leaned Friday. For the first time, Oklahoma has more former smokers among its population than current smokers, who number about 600,000 people, said Doug Metheny from the state Health Department. Another first – the state’s smoking population has dropped below the 20-percent mark. As the success of smoking cessation programs increases, however, the state should examine how to make the most of the money invested in those programs, said James Wilbanks of the state treasurer’s office. Figures compiled from the Health Department combined with revenue reports from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show that Oklahoma’s tobacco tax increase yielded better results than similar measures undertaken by other states. On average, a 10-percent increase in the price of cigarettes results in a 4-percent decrease in consumption, said Metheny. Based on that estimate, an 8-percent decrease in cigarette consumption was expected in Oklahoma after the tobacco tax increase went into effect January 2005. Instead, Oklahoma has seen a 13-percent decrease in consumption, said Metheny. About 30,000 Oklahomans have quit smoking since the increase went into effect, and those who still smoke say they are lighting up less frequently. Examining the sales in neighboring states shows that Oklahomans did not simply make their cigarette purchases in other states – only Arkansas showed an increase in sales, and that increase was “a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers we were talking about,” he said. On the other hand, total cigarette tax collections are up by more than 240 percent. According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the state collected $56.3 million in cigarette tax revenue in the fiscal year that ended in June 2004 and $192.3 million in the fiscal year that ended June 2006. State Treasurer Scott Meacham’s office is recommending a slight alteration in the way it invests money received under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies, which is used to fund smoking cessation programs. Juggling the percentages invested in equity funds and bonds could increase the annual yield from 3.35 percent to 3.60 percent, said Wilbanks. That relatively small change could increase the amount of money available to spend on smoking cessation programs from $800,000 a year to $1 million a year, he said. Posted at 11/20/2006 09:51:00 AM |

Buyout Doubts Create Shaky Future for Picher Businesses

By OMER GILLHAM World Staff Writer PICHER -- Susie Stone's business is on shaky ground in more ways than one. Stone is one of several business owners who applied for the voluntary buyout of undermined properties in the Tar Creek Superfund site. Currently, the first phase of a $20 million buyout is under way for families and individuals. Many Tar Creek businesses qualify for the buyout because they are situated above deteriorating lead mines as well. Others have been adversely affected by plummeting sales connected to a declining population in Picher and Cardin. With limited funds available, the relocation committee has prioritized the families and businesses being bought out first. Read more... Posted at 11/20/2006 09:47:00 AM |

Free Speech Be Damned!

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) The Muskogee Planning and Zoning Commission and the city's Public Works and Finance Committee this week will consider a possible ban on portable signs in the city. If both committees recommend such a ban, the Muskogee city council could take up the issue as soon as its November 27th meeting. Muskogee Mayor Wren Stratton says she thinks the city would look better without the portable signs and a tourism expert who visited Muskogee last spring agrees. But the owner of a local advertising business is against such a ban. Tim Lipe says about 70 of the more than 100 portable signs he owns are placed in Muskogee. He says that if a ban is passed the city should compensate him for his loss of business. He says banning portable signs in Muskogee won't make much difference in the city's appearance. Posted at 11/20/2006 09:35:00 AM |
Thursday, November 16, 2006 

Board Certifies General Election Returns, Awaits Contested Races

OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) The state Election Board certifies the results of the November seventh election in which Democratic Governor Brad Henry beat Republican U-S Congressman Ernest Istook. The board also certified other election results, except for a state House race in southeastern Oklahoma and judicial races in McClain and Oklahoma counties and a district that includes Craig, Mayes and Rogers counties. Re-counts were ordered or hearings were set to investigate alleged voting irregularities in those races. Board Secretary Mike Clingman says 926-thousand-462 people, or 45 percent of Oklahoma's registered voters, voted in the governor's race. That's more than 100-thousand votes less than the more than one (m) million people who voted in the 2002 election. Clingman says historically, voter turnout has been low in elections in which an incumbent governor is seeking re-election. Posted at 11/16/2006 07:09:00 AM |

Inhofe Says He Can Get More Money For Buyout

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe says he can secure any additional money that's needed to complete a buyout of homes in the Tar Creek Superfund site. Because of the mid-term elections, Inhofe will no longer be the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a position he used to help secure the initial funding. But the veteran senator says others familiar with the Superfund program will continue to support adding money for Tar Creek. The 20 (m) million dollar federal buyout involves heavily undermined homes and businesses within a 40 square-mile area in the state's northeastern tip. Years of lead and zinc mining left mounds of mine waste, tainted water and land that's susceptible to cave-ins. Sonya Harris of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust says the committee chose the first families to receive buyout money by lottery. Harris says those living in the most undermined areas of the site will receive help first. Posted at 11/16/2006 07:00:00 AM |
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 

OKPNS Exclusive: One Week Later (a GOP Post-Mortem)

Statewide Losses: Ernest Istook for Governor, Todd Hiett for Lieutenant Governor, Gary Jones for State Auditor and Inspector, James Dunn for Attorney General, Howard Barnett for State Treasurer, Bill Crozier for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Brenda Reneau for Commissioner of Labor, Bill Case for Insurance Commissioner. The 2006 electoral defeats might come as a shock to those in “Red State Oklahoma” where just two years ago George W. Bush had won all 77 of our Sooner State’s counties (the only state in the nation where every single county had voted to reelect the president). This year, Republicans at the state and federal level could almost do no right. The question is, why? Are Oklahoma voters moving to the left? Has Brad Henry’s centrist Democrat vision won over the electorate so much that Oklahoma will be awarding it’s seven electoral votes to Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama or, dare we think it, even Brad Henry himself? As some of the GOP's most loyal are now considering a run for state chairman, a number of questions are swirling. Did the Oklahoma Republican Party under Tom Daxon, fracture so divisively that it was unable to compete in this election at the statewide level? Is failure Tom Daxon’s living legacy to Republicans across the state? Considering that it took Mr. Daxon more than two months just to appoint a single staff member to his failed Victory effort, it’s more likely the bloodbath that was the 2006 elections for Republicans in Oklahoma rests more with the party than any significant ideological shift among the electorate. Consider this: both the state House and state Senate campaign committees vocally split away from the State GOP to fund and operate their own grassroots victory efforts. In turn, the Republicans kept their majority in the state House, losing just one seat statewide. Furthermore, Oklahoma was one of only two states in the nation to make gains in the state Senate in 2006—gains that national party leadership has publicly credited to state Senate leaders and their campaign teams. Among the more egregious errors and missteps made by the Oklahoma Republican Party this election cycle that no-doubt impacted the viability of statewide Republican candidates by failing to turnout the vote (a core job of every state party) were: Challenges surrounding “Victory 2006”
  • $36,500 for the printing and design of door hangers to Door Dingers, Inc. Information was not available at the time this story published on how many additional thousands of dollars were spent in delivering the door dingers.
  • The door hangers themselves caused great turmoil among GOP activists for their negative nature. Some activists have said they were actually responsible for suppressing Republican turnout. See scans above.
Challenges in fundraising
  • In the most recent reporting period, Democrats fundraised $63,800.00 and had $56,466.74 cash on hand. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Republican Party only raised $48,151.99 and had $31,915.03 on hand.
Challenges in staffing
  • The Oklahoma Republican Party , hired Senator Carol Martin who resigned just weeks later, lost its communications director, and most recently Finance Director David Westin has resigned. This has left the party with an anemic staff: one political staffer, one secretary, and the chairman himself.
Even in Oklahoma, parties rise and fall like the tide. In 1976, four years before the election of Ronald Reagan as president and eighteen years before he would lead Republicans to power in Congress, Newt Gingrich wrote, “The Republican Party is in real danger of dying. The bunting and the banners around us could well be the flowers at our party’s funeral.” When sworn in as Speaker of the House nearly twenty years later, Gingrich was quoted in the New York Times, “The fact is, every Republican has much to learn from studying what the Democrats did right.” It remains to be seen if the GOP faithful hold Daxon accountable. Only a week has passed since the elections, but 2008 is now on the horizon. It is up to the Oklahoma GOP grassroots to determine whether tomorrow is brighter than yesterday. Posted at 11/14/2006 04:00:00 PM |

PC Tuesday

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) The new mascot for Northeastern State University will be revealed later this morning. School officials are to announce the new mascot during a news conference on campus. N-S-U has been the "Redmen" for more than 80 years but is changing because of an N-C-A-A ban on the use of some American Indian mascots during postseason tournaments. School officials say they got more than 400 suggestions from students, alumni, faculty and staff and are choosing from six finalists. The choices are 'Thunderhawks'; 'Thunderbirds'; 'Riverhawks'; 'Riverwolves'; 'Wolves'; and 'War Eagles.' Posted at 11/14/2006 11:18:00 AM |

GOP Candidate Claims Irregularities In Voting

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A Republican candidate for the state House who apparently lost by two votes is claiming irregularities in the election. Initial returns show Todd Thomsen of Ada lost to Democrat Darrell Nemecek of Ada by a vote of 47-hundred-96 to 47-hundred-94. Thomsen has already asked for a recount and now says in a petition filed with the state Election Board that four voters who voted by absentee ballots are not residents of the district. A hearing on the claim will be Thursday morning in Hughes County Posted at 11/14/2006 11:14:00 AM |
Monday, November 13, 2006 

Abortion Rules Take Effect

If a minor requires parental consent for ear piercing, doesn't this make sense also? By ANGEL RIGGS World Capitol Bureau A parental consent form required for minors to get abortions is one of several new abortion laws in Oklahoma. OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Board of Health last week approved a consent form that a parent must sign before a minor can have an abortion. Physicians are required to keep the signed forms for five years. Read more... However, it's unclear how that provision will be enforced or by which agency. It is one of several new abortion rules that took effect Nov. 1. The new law requires that at least one parent give written consent for a minor's abortion. "The intent of the legislation is for parents to be notified that their minor children are seeking an abortion," said Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, the bill's Senate author. Signed by Gov. Brad Henry in May, the legislation contains language from several bills that died earlier in the legislative session. "I believe that our minor children are the responsibility of their parents until such time as they become adults," Barrington said. "It should be a decision that the parents should be aware of." Posted at 11/13/2006 08:54:00 AM |

Here We Go Again

The National Indian Gaming Commission has commissioned a dubious study claiming that Oklahoma's gaming revenue could get a $50 - $75 million dollar boost from proposed federal restrictions on Class Two gambling. Currently Oklahoma receives a little over 9 million dollars from the tribes' gaming revenues. The study says the extra income would flow to Oklahoma's public education system. Where have we heard this before? Posted at 11/13/2006 08:18:00 AM |
Thursday, November 09, 2006 

11th-Hour Campaign Ad Blitz Credited With Helping Fields

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Campaign officials for the two labor commissioner candidates say a last minute _ 100-thousand-dollar _ blitz of T-V ads pushed Lloyd Fields to an upset win over Brenda Reneau. Fields spent nearly 60 percent of his campaign money in the final eight days of the race to buy T-V ads in which he criticized the Republican Reneau for not working in the office. Reneau has rheumatoid arthritis and says she worked from home when she didn't feel well and was always available when needed. She calls the last minute ads "nasty." Posted at 11/09/2006 08:03:00 AM |

Oklahoma House GOP Majority Caucus Elects Leadership

Speaker-elect Cargill, Speaker Pro Temp Blackwell & Caucus Chair Wright Chosen Following close on the heels of a renewed Republican majority in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the GOP caucus on Thursday chose its top leadership for the 51st Legislature. The GOP caucus elected three top leadership positions: Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tempore and Majority Caucus Chair. On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters returned a Republican majority to power in the state House for the first time in state history, with one seat still involved in a recount. “Our leadership team is one that is united and I look forward to working together to advance Oklahoma,” said Speaker-elect Lance Cargill (R-Harrah), who was confirmed as the next Speaker by the GOP caucus Thursday. In addition to electing Cargill, the GOP caucus Thursday chose Rep. Gus Blackwell (R-Goodwell) as Speaker Pro Tempore and Rep. John Wright (R-Broken Arrow) as Caucus Chairman. Blackwell, who is starting his third two-year term in the state House, holds a Master’s in business administration from Panhandle State University and a Master’s in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological University. “It’s an honor to be able to serve my colleagues in this capacity,” said Blackwell. “We have a great depth of talent in our caucus. I’m looking forward to House Republicans working to accomplish great things for Oklahoma this coming session.” As Caucus Chairman, Rep. Wright will assist the Speaker with directing weekly meetings of the GOP Caucus. Wright, now entering his fifth term as a lawmaker, holds a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. “I’m honored and grateful to have this opportunity to help lead our caucus,” said Wright. “The House Republican majority is ready for the upcoming legislative session,” said Cargill. “We will continue to keep our promises to the citizens of Oklahoma to foster enterprise and entrepreneurship, invest tax dollars wisely and hold government accountable” Cargill said that over the next several weeks he’ll announce additional appointed GOP leadership positions. Next week on Thursday, November 16 at 1 p.m. the newly-elected members of the entire House will be sworn in at the capitol. In early January, the full House will convene for an organizational day to formally elect House leadership. Posted at 11/09/2006 08:02:00 AM |

Inhofe, Lucas Weigh-In On GOP losses

ENID, Okla. (AP) Republican Senator Jim Inhofe is trying to put a positive spin on the loss of Republican control of the U-S House and Senate. Democrats won control of both houses of Congress in this week's elections but Inhofe believes that will only last for two years. Inhofe stands to lose his chairmanship of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee because of the change in power. Meanwhile Democratic Congressman Dan Boren will become a member of the majority party but says he hasn't decided whether to support Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Pelosi is currently the House Minority Leader. Posted at 11/09/2006 08:01:00 AM |

Garfield County Stays Conservative

Staff reports Democrats may have swept most of the top state offices, but not all had help from Garfield County voters. Garfield County voted contrary to the state in general in the lieutenant governor, state auditor and inspector, la-bor commissioner and insurance commissioner races. In the lieutenant governor race, Republican Todd Hiett carried the county with 9,073 votes to Democrat Jari Askins’ 6,659. Independent E.Z. Million got 389 votes. Republican Gary Jones bested incumbent Democrat Jeff McMahan in Garfield County, 9,413 votes to 6,479, in the auditor contest. Ousted Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau also carried Garfield County, 9,644 to Lloyd Fields’ 6,262. In the insurance commissioner race, Republi-can Bill Case carried Garfield County 9,330 to incumbent and winner Kim Holland’s 6,584. Garfield County went along with the statewide vote in the corporation commission race, selecting Republi-can incumbent Bob Anthony over Democrat challenger Cody Graves 11,488 to 4,513. Democrat Gov. Brad Hen-ry won all precincts in Gar-field County over Republican Ernest Istook. Hiett swept all precincts but three in his bid against Askins in the lieutenant governor race. In the top state races, the closest race in Garfield Coun-ty was between Democrat Scott Meacham and Republi-can Howard Barnett for state treasurer. Meacham beat Bar-nett by only 441 votes in the county. Read more... Posted at 11/09/2006 07:52:00 AM |

Evenly Divided Sooner Senate Looks to Future

By MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau OKLAHOMA CITY -- With an unprecedented 24-24 party split in the Senate a reality on Wednesday, the GOP leader trotted into the Democratic president pro tem's office and split it down the middle with a piece of tape. "I get the couch; you get the refrigerator," Democrat Mike Morgan told Republican Glenn Coffee. On a more serious note, the two leaders and newly elected Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who constitutionally may break tie votes in the Senate, started to ponder the question of how to run government with a house -- in this case the Senate -- divided. Morgan, D-Stillwater, said he and Coffee will be getting together soon. Read more... Posted at 11/09/2006 07:45:00 AM |

From The Tip Line: Secretary of State Susan Savage to Speak to Canadian County Dems Nov 14

Secretary of State M. Susan Savage will speak to the Canadian County Democrats at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Canadian Valley Technology Center, 6505 E. Highway 66 in El Reno. Democrats and their guests are invited to attend the meeting at no charge. Savage, a Democrat who now resides in Oklahoma City with her two daughters, was appointed Oklahoma’s Secretary of State by Governor Brad Henry on January 13, 2003. Prior to her appointment, Savage was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture where she lectured about public policy and finance related to planning, urban design, landscape architecture and community development. In 1992, she was elected mayor of Tulsa and re-elected for two four-year terms in 1994 and 1998, making her the most tenured and the first woman mayor in Tulsa’s history. Her term of office ended April 2002. As Mayor, Savage served as Tulsa’s chief executive officer, responsible for a $500 million budget and 4,000 employees. During her tenure, Tulsa prospered with unprecedented job growth, neighborhood revitalization, public safety improvements and government efficiency. While she was mayor, the Reason Public Policy Institute of Los Angeles ranked Tulsa third among 44 U.S. cities for how well it delivered government services. In 1996, Newsweek magazine feature Savage as one of the nation’s 25 “mayors to watch”. Among numerous awards and special recognition, Savage was inducted into the Oklahoma Municipal League Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials in 2005; was the 2002 National Conference for Community and Justice Honoree for leadership; received an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2000 from Arcadia University; and is a past recipient of the Oklahoma Human Rights award. A third-generation Tulsan, Savage graduated from Edison High School in Tulsa and in 1974 earned a bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. Upon returning to her hometown in 1977, Savage became executive director of the Metropolitan Tulsa Citizens Crime Commission, a successful crime-fighting agency linking the police and the public. She went on to become chief of staff to then-Tulsa Mayor Rodger Randle before eventually winning the seat herself in a 1992 special election. The Canadian County Democrats meet at 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Canadian Valley Technology Center, located at 6505 E. Highway 66 between Yukon and El Reno. For more information, call Jody Harlan, Chair (405) 354-3189. Posted at 11/09/2006 06:38:00 AM |
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 

T.W. Shannon Makes History

In District 62, Republican T.W. Shannon made state history to become only the second black Republican elected to the Legislature -- winning a previous Democrat-held seat with 58 percent of the vote. Shannon withstood an onslaught of negative, racist campaign tactics to emerge victorious Tuesday night. T.W should bring new energy, blood, and a fresh perspective to the Oklahoma House. Congratulations T.W.! Posted at 11/08/2006 07:26:00 PM |

Republicans Return to Oklahoma House Majority for First Time in State History

Speaker-designate Cargill Prepares for 2007 Legislative Session For the first time in state history, voters returned a Republican majority to power in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, with one seat still involved in a recount. House Speaker-designate Lance Cargill said he looks forward to working with Governor Brad Henry to continue to achieve progress and solutions for the state. “The voters of Oklahoma have endorsed our hard work over the past two years of Republican control,” said Cargill (R-Harrah). “The House GOP has delivered for Oklahoma’s working families. Now it’s time to continue to keep our promises and move Oklahoma forward. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing our goals for the upcoming legislative session to reward families and small business owners, foster a first-class educational system and require more accountability from state government.” When compared to other state legislatures, Tuesday’s GOP victory in the Oklahoma House is striking: Democrats flipped control of state Houses in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Democrats control both chambers in 21 states, while Republicans control 15 and 9 were split between the two parties. “There’s no question Democrats had the wind at their backs this election cycle,” said Cargill. Republicans had twice as many seats to defend, with many freshman members. Yet despite all of their advantages this year, the Democrats failed to make significant gains in the state Legislature, and they no longer have a majority in the state Senate for the first time in Oklahoma’s history. Oklahoma voters have embraced our positive vision for the future. The voters have seen that the Republican majority in the House offers real solutions that matter to their lives as Oklahomans.” Cargill said that the Republican track record of historic tax relief, repeal of the state’s unfair death tax, historic pro-life reforms, record investments in the state’s roads and bridges, record teacher pay increases and conservative health care reforms led to Republican victories. Posted at 11/08/2006 07:14:00 PM |

Republicans Make History In Oklahoma State Senate

Oklahoma Republicans gained at least two State Senate seats Tuesday, with a third Democrat seat still in play, making history by winning at least a tie with Democrats in the Oklahoma State Senate for the first time ever. For the state's first 100 years, the State Senate was controlled by Democrats. For the time ever, Democrats will not have a Senate majority in the 2007 Legislature -- and Republicans will have a clear advantage to win the majority in 2008. "Today the people of Oklahoma said they are tired of the old guard leadership in the State Senate. Voters elected a record number of Republicans to the State Senate because they want a new direction in the Senate for the new Oklahoma century," said Senate Republican leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. State Rep. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, won Senate District 12 for the GOP, an open seat held by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Ted Fisher. Republican Anthony Sykes of Moore defeated incumbent Democrat State Sen. Daisy Lawler of Comanche in Senate District 24. Another open Democrat seat, Senate District 26 in western Oklahoma, remains too close to call. Coffee said the Republican victories in key Senate races show that Oklahoma voters are ready for change. The top issues in GOP campaigns were tax reform, job creation, immigration reform, education, lawsuit reform, and traditional values. "Voters want the Oklahoma Senate to start being part of the solution in moving Oklahoma forward. Our candidates ran excellent campaigns and were very successful in running on a positive agenda of change for the State of Oklahoma," Coffee said. Posted at 11/08/2006 06:32:00 PM |
Monday, November 06, 2006 

Brad Henry's Game Theory: The Oklahoma Lottery

From Bounded Rationality: How well is the lottery doing, and what impact is it having on the K-12 education of our children? Here are some numbers: The Lottery Commission reported total sales including fees and interest for the last year at $205,422,704. The Oklahoma Lottery announced last week that the lottery has contributed a total of $68 million dollars to the Education Trust fund. That's a lot of money. It's not what Governor Henry projected; Mr. Henry was touting that the lottery would pull in somewhere around $150 million. However, $68 million is still a sizable amount of money. According to the agency rules, here is how the money gets distributed: 45% - Kindergarten through 12th Grade Public Education, including but not limited to compensation and benefits for public school teachers and support employees, and early childhood development programs. 45% - Tuition grants, loans and scholarships to citizens of this state to enable such citizens to attend colleges and universities located within this state, construction of educational, capital outlay programs and technology for all levels of education, endowed chairs for professors at institutions and programs & personnel of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma School for the Blind. 5% - Teachers' Retirement System Dedicated Revenue Revolving Fund. 5% - School Consolidation and Assistance Fund. So start at $205 million. Then, transfer the statutory amount of $68 Million. Then take 45% of $68 million - that's $31 million. Wow! Where'd all that money go? To see what kind of direct impact this might have on each student and teacher, take that $31 million dollars and distribute that over the population of K-12 pupils and teachers. According to the Heritage Foundation there are around 664,728 K-12 public school students and teachers combined. I added the pupils and teachers together because that is how it's distributed above in the rules. This comes to the ANNUAL grand total per student and teacher benefit in the area of $47.00. Read more... Posted at 11/06/2006 07:55:00 AM |

Justin Whitefield, Two Others Die In Arkansas Crash

From The McCarville Report Online: Justin Whitefield, Oklahoma City attorney and State Capitol lobbyist, died with two others in Arkansas last night when his newly-purchased airplane crashed. Whitefield, 34, was returning from the Breeder’s Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, when the plane crashed near Danville, Arkansas, about 11 p.m, authorities there said. Read more... Posted at 11/06/2006 06:27:00 AM |

Jari Askins: "Call Me Irresponsible"


Poll: Immigration No. 2 issue for Oklahoma voters

TULSA, Okla. (AP) A new statewide poll shows immigration is the Number Two concern among Oklahoma voters, behind only education. In polling since 1993, immigration hadn't shown up as an issue on Oklahoma voters' minds until last June. At that time, two percent of voters considered it the state's most pressing problem. But a new poll of voters last month shows 12 percent believe it's the biggest issue Oklahoma faces. The response rate for immigration was up 4 percentage points from July and 10 points from January. Immigration still lags well behind education as the main issue on voters' minds, though. Twenty-five percent of responses listed education as the state's Number One issue. The survey sponsored by the Tulsa World and Tulsa television station K-O-T-V has a margin of error of four-point-one-nine percentage points. Posted at 11/06/2006 06:01:00 AM |
Sunday, November 05, 2006 

Oklahoma Family Policy Council Voters' Guide

Saturday, November 04, 2006 

Gov. Henry Endorses Janice Drewry

Governor Brad Henry has formally endorsed Janice Drewry as his choice for State Representative for House District 62, proclaiming in a statement, "We need leaders like Janice Drewry in the House of Representatives." Drewy's outspoken supporters, including Comanche County Democratic Chair Mike Weddington and Democratic activist and 2004 convention delegate Tim Reese, have waged a divisive and thinly veiled racist campaign against African American Republican T.W. Shannon. Reese is the co-owner of this discredited site. In a statement, Governor Henry said about Drewery, "I know Janice will always fight for the people of Lawton". OKPNS wonders if Drewery will fight as vigorous for ALL "the people of Lawton" like Governor Henry did to fund the African American Centennial Plaza projet? After these pictures were posted by Reese and the offensive innuendos made by Weddington that Mr. Shannon's only qualifications were to be a chauffeur, we have serious doubts. Posted at 11/04/2006 07:14:00 PM |
Friday, November 03, 2006 

Oklahoma Senate A "Toss Up"

Stuart Rothenberg, of the respectd Rothenberg Political Report, has rated the race for control of the Oklahoma Senate as a "toss up". Posted at 11/03/2006 08:31:00 PM |

Oklahoma Pro-Choice Gains; Pro-Life Diminishes

In our short six months of reporting and commenting on Oklahoma political news, a few of our readers have accused OKPNS of being bias towards certain candidates or slanted towards a particular political ideology. To bring more "balance" to our site, we have partnered to post the work of an Oklahoma blogger who describes himself as a "looney-left moonbat swings for fences." He goes by the moniker "Oil Field Guy" and the name of his blog is By Oilfield Guy A recent poll by Survey USA looked at each state's views on the abortion issue. According to this poll, Oklahoma is fairly evenly divided on this issue, 48% pro-life to 47% pro-choice, with pro-life trending down and pro-choice trending up. But if any politician comes out in favor of a woman's right to determine what happens to her body, the fundamentalists immediately attack by labeling them baby killers. This post is my effort to look at the fundies claims of "abortion is murder" and everything it implies. Let's take the murder argument seriously. In Oklahoma, a staunchly law and order state, we execute murderers. Especially premeditated ones, where someone was paid to do the hit, doubly so if it involves innocent babies. Never before could anyone deny a more open and shut case. Receipts and cancelled checks are involved, as well as medical records. Do the fundies advocate the death penalties for these murders? If not, why not? Some laws, which deny women self-determination of their own bodies, include a rape and incest provision. Sounds reasonable, but is it? Are these politicians advocating the death of innocent babies only if the innocent babies are the victims of a crime? If the fundamentalists are successful and the deed to a woman's womb is removed from her possession and handed over to the old white guy Talibangelical Crowd of Falwell, Dobson and Robertson, abortions will not stop. They will simply become "back alley" operations and women will die. Perhaps that is the price they should pay for committing the sin of sex. Read more... Posted at 11/03/2006 05:48:00 PM |

Jari Askins Truth Test

Thursday, November 02, 2006 

Jari, A Little Truth In Advertising...Please!!!

"Madame" Jari Askins accuses Todd Hiett in this ad of "not telling the truth" about her record on taxes. In the ad, in which "Madame" Askins said was shot in the "First Christian Church I grew up in" (that's another post right there alone) she says, "My only votes on taxes have been to trust the people to decide." "Madame" Askins later says she voted for the tax cuts "after she made sure everybody benefited, not just the wealthy." The cherry on top of this ice cream sundae of BS, is when she earnestly says to the camera: "People that know me know I'm a conservative, not a liberal!" Interesting. When did conservatives start using class warfare in their campaign rhetoric? Below is a sample of "Madame" Askins "conservative" record. *Askins voted to make it easier for government to impose eminent domain on private property owners. HB 1939 passed the House on March 9, 2005. Askins voted Aye. *Askins supported giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition. SB 596 passed the House on April 17, 2003. Askins voted yes. *Askins opposed comprehensive lawsuit reform HB 3120 3/15/06 - Askins No HB 2047 3/9/05 - Askins No *Askins has received more than $80,000 in contributions from trial lawyers. *Askins opposed giving citizens the legal right to carry concealed weapons. SB 3 passed the House on May 22, 1995 - Askins was one of ten no votes. Posted at 11/02/2006 03:49:00 PM |

Holland/Case Interviews

Click here to listen to interviews of Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland and her Republican opponent Bill Case. (The A.M. Best Companay sponsored this link, so you'll have to listen to a couple of commercials and a few insurance "news" stories.)

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Posted at 11/02/2006 01:13:00 PM |

Edmondson Says He Plans to Keep $1,000 Contribution From Stipe

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Attorney General Drew Edmondson says he won't return a one-thousand dollar campaign contribution from former state Senator and convicted felon Gene Stipe. Stipe is on probation for federal convictions related to illegal campaign contributions. Edmondson says his office isn't investigating Stipe and he intends to keep the contribution unless or until Stipe is investigated by the attorney general's office. Edmondson says he did return money donated by Vyrl Keeter when Keeter was under investigation. Keeter later pleaded guilty to lying to a state grand jury. Republican attorney general candidate James Dunn says it's "offensive" Edmondson is taking money from "convicted, corrupt politicians." Edmondson criticizes Dunn for taking 32-thousand dollars from donors connected to Arkansas poultry companies Edmondson is suing over pollution in the Illinois River. Dunn says there's no conflict of interest in taking those donations because he'll dismiss the lawsuit if elected.

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Posted at 11/02/2006 12:30:00 PM |

Istook: Henry's Soft On Crime

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau OKLAHOMA CITY -- U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook and the family of two murder victims appeared Wednesday in front of Gov. Brad Henry's office to draw attention to a commutation that Henry granted in 2004. Istook, a Republican giving up his 5th District seat after 14 years, faces Henry, a Democrat seeking a second term, in the Nov. 7 general election. In 2004, Henry commuted the Oklahoma County death sentence of Osbaldo Torres to life in prison. Torres, a Mexican national, and George Ochoa were sentenced to death for the 1993 killings of Francisco Morales and Maria Yanez. A witness identified Ochoa as the shooter. Olga Mayes, Morales' sister, said the family urged Henry not to grant clemency, adding that the governor never spoke to them personally in making his decision. "What we went through was horrible," Mayes said. Read more... *Read the sisters' letter to Governor Henry.* Posted at 11/02/2006 11:44:00 AM |

"Mary Doesn't Live Here Anymore"

NEWS RELEASE For immediate release November 1, 2006 Contact: Senator Glenn Coffee/405-650-6258 MARY EASLEY NOW LIVES IN SENATOR RANDY BROGDON'S DISTRICT OWASSO - State Senator Mary Easley no longer lives in her Senate District and now resides at 19009 Knightsbridge in Owasso, which is located in Senate District 34. Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee said Easley is skirting state election laws by living in another Senate district while running for reelection in District 18. "Mary Easley now resides at an Owasso address in Senate District 34. She is clearly skirting state election laws by living at her new address while running for office and voting using an old address," Coffee said. Coffee said State Senator Randy Brogdon, who represents Owasso in the Oklahoma Senate, has sighted Easley on numerous occasions while he has campaigned in Owasso this year. "Senator Brogdon was understandably surprised to learn that Mary Easley is now one of his constiuents," said Coffee. State law requires legislative candidates to reside in the districts in which they run for office. But Easley and her husband now live at their Owasso home, even though Easley is running for reelection using an old address in east Tulsa. "Mary Easley has left her district behind. How can she represent the people of District 18 when she doesn't even want to live there?" Coffee stated. BACKGROUND: Sources: Southwestern Bell White-Pages Rogers County Property Taxes Posted at 11/02/2006 11:13:00 AM |
Wednesday, November 01, 2006 

John Kerry's Boy!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 1, 2006 CONTACT: Crystal Drwenski 405.410.7668 or State Democrats have close ties with Kerry and share liberal ideology OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 1) - Oklahoma's GOP chairman today said he was appalled, but not surprised, at the recent comments of Sen. John Kerry (D- Mass) implying members of the military have been relegated to that life because they are uneducated. He also cautioned Democrats like Brad Henry and David Hunter, Democratic congressional candidate, and others either have ties with Sen. Kerry, actively campaigned for him in 2004, or share his liberal beliefs. He further said national groups such as the Democratic Legislative Candidate Committee have poured several hundred thousand dollars into Oklahoma trying to influence local elections for liberal candidates. "This is the leadership of the Democratic Party showing their true colors. It makes me furious to think Oklahomans in Lawton or Ft. Sill or out in Altus who have made sacrifices spending time away from their families, lost loved ones and continue to put their lives on the line, have to put up with this kind of nonsense from a bunch of liberals stuck in the sixties," said Tom Daxon. "This is who the Democratic party really is. Just look at David Hunter. We know his positions on defending America are basically the same as John Kerry's," Daxon said. "They are both cut and run liberals. He's been harping on that theme for months now. But suddenly Dr. Hunter is oddly silent when Kerry's comments cross the line and insult our men and women in uniform." "Or take state senate candidate, Andrew Rice in Oklahoma City. He openly opposes the war in Iraq and advocates forgiveness for terrorists," said Daxon. Daxon pointed out that even Gov. Brad Henry campaigned for Kerry to be president and coached Kerry on how to get Oklahomans to vote for him. "If Brad Henry had his way, John Kerry would have been our President," said Daxon. "If conservatives don't get out and vote next Tuesday we will have John Kerry and his liberal buddies like Nancy Pelosi and David Hunter running congress and taking over seats in Oklahoma's legislature," said Daxon. Daxon was referring to remarks Kerry recently made insulting our brave men and women serving in Iraq, suggesting if they had done their "homework" and made "an effort to be smart," they wouldn't be "stuck in Iraq." Later, Kerry refused to apologize for his comments. Posted at 11/01/2006 06:16:00 PM |

Hal Spake Congressional Campaign Late With FEC Report

The Oklahoma Political News Service has learned that the Hal Spake for Congress campaign received this letter on the 27th of October from the Federal Election Commission. The letter reads in part: "It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to file the above referenced report (12 Day Pre - General Report 10/1/-2006 - 10/18/2006) of receipts and expenditures as required by the Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended. You were previously notified of the due date for this report...." OKPNS will continue to investigate. Posted at 11/01/2006 02:35:00 PM |

Brad Henry: Soft On Crime ?

Istook commercial exposes Henry early paroled over 1,500 drug offenders Brad Henry promised during the 2002 campaign against Steve Largent that he would be "tough on crime". Crime in Tulsa and Oklahoma City were a major concern, along with the emerging meth epidemic plaguing rural Oklahoma and much of middle America. Once elected to office, what does the Governor do a year and a half into his term? He grants clemeny to OsvaldoTorres, an illegal Mexican immigrant convicted of first degree murder. Criminologists have determined that addiction to illegal drugs is one of the main factors in crime. Many violent and non violent offenses are the direct result of a drug addict needing money to finance their expensive habit. Trafficking in illicit drugs on the wholesale and street level is very lucrative, thus the rewards of making easy money far outweigh the risks of getting caught. For years, law enforcement professionals have expressed frustration, since all too often, once they take a dealer off the streets, three or four dealers emerge to take their place. That is why we find it puzzling that Governor Henry would intentionally undercut these soldiers on the "war on drugs" by early paroling over 1,500 drug offenders. In his latest commercial, Congressman Itook seems to agree. An Oklahoma Political News Service investigation of the over 1,500 early parolees, has uncovered a few disturbing facts. We examined seven categories of offenses which range from: "distrubution of a controlled & dangerous substance with intent to distribute;" "distribution of a controlled and dangerous substance within 200 ft of a school or park;" and "use of a minor in the sale of a controlled and dangerous substance." The average sentence given for the seven offenses were 9.4 years. The average time served was 3.11 years! We believe anyone who would sell poison to our children, or worse have them sell the poison for them, hardly deserves to be rewarded with an early release from prison. Posted at 11/01/2006 11:30:00 AM |

Ernest Istook and Murder Victims Family to Hold Press Conference in Front of Governors Office

Victim's family to Governor Henry: Why? Governor candidate Congressman Ernest Istook will hold a dramatic press conference today at 4:45 pm at the Capitol. The press conference - to be held on the second floor in front of Governor Henry's office - will include the two sisters of murder victim Francisco Morales. Morales was murdered by illegal immigrant Osvaldo Torres who was later found guilty and was convicted of 1st degree murder. Governor Brad Henry granted him clemency. During their debate last week, Istook asked Henry this question: "A moment ago you claimed that you were cracking down on violent offenders [Yet] you [granted clemency to] Osvaldo Torres who murdered two people in Oklahoma City while their kids were in the very next room. He was sentenced to death. The courts upheld it, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it. The jury sentenced it to him. The family members pleaded with you." "Yet because the Mexican government objected to executing one of their citizens who had come to Oklahoma illegally as part of a gang, the Mexican government objected, the ACLU said oh don't put that man to death even though he's guilty, and the World Court of the United Nations which has no authority, your Attorney General told you so, you granted clemency to a double murderer just because the Mexican government and the ACLU asked you to." Now Governor how can you justify that?" Henry kept changing his story claiming that either the Justice or State Departments requested intervention, but those departments have never backed up Henry's claim, and he has provided zero evidence of it. Istook responded by saying: "It doesn't matter who asks you to do the wrong thing, Governor Henry, so quit trying to shift the blame. You deserve to be lectured about the death penalty because you failed to enforce it." Below is a statement released yesterday by the sisters of Francisco Morales, victim of Osvaldo Torres. Torres is an illegal immigrant from Mexico convicted of 1st degree murder. October 31, 2006 Open Letter: We are family members of Francisco Morales who was murdered by Osvaldo Torres and granted clemency by Governor Brad Henry. Torres was an illegal immigrant convicted of first degree murder. He killed two people; one was our brother. A jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Before his execution the government of Mexico and the International Criminal Court lobbied Governor Henry to grant him clemency. We pleaded with the governor's office not to do it. We wrote him letters. We met with his staff. Governor Henry didn't meet with us. And Governor Henry granted a convicted killer clemency. We have only one question: why? Sincerely, Consuelo Herrera Sister of Francisco Morales Olga Mayes Sister of Francisco Morales Posted at 11/01/2006 11:25:00 AM |

Hop On GOP

By Krista Nightengale The Oklahoma Daily Republicans typically say they believe in small government, more freedom, and lower taxes. Democrats believe Republicans are “the antichrist,” said Ron Black, registered Republican and political analyst for television station KOKH (Cox 12). So what is a Republican, and where does it’s definition lie on the spectrum between conservative values and the spawn of Satan? Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin said being a member of the Grand Old Party means believing in less government, free enterprise, supporting the military, standing for strong family values, and protecting the basic freedoms and liberties of the United States. Read more... Posted at 11/01/2006 11:20:00 AM |

From The Tipline: Polls: Tulsa World Bias Strikes Again?

A tipster to OKPNS is questioning the Tulsa World's selective reporting of an "Oklahoma poll of likely voters". The tipster believes that to be balanced and accurate, The World should have put the poll in context with the KWTV poll that showed the lieutenant governor's race is virtually tied. "One poll shows a dead heat, which indicates the Hiett campaign may have the momentum; another poll, the Tulsa Whirled's, shows a 10-point lead for Askins. Which is right?" The tipster continues: "You'd think an objective story would mention both since the situation on the ground is not at all clear. In its story, the Tulsa World notably did not -- even going so far as to quote a Hiett press release, but omitting mention of the KWTV poll. Interestingly, the World's poll story today comes after a story last week that also seemed to omit a lot of important contextual information regarding state Senate races. In that story, the World inexplicably included polling information on a Senate seat in Nichols Hills in the Oklahoma City metro area, rather than including data on a race everyone knows is tight (the Lawler-Sykes race in a district that runs from Moore to points south). " Both questionable poll stories sort of remind me of how the Powerline Blog guys are always taking on the Minneapolis Star Trib for their purposeful efforts to dampen enthusiasm for GOP candidates by timing stories on poll results and selectively ignoring poll data. Is the Tulsa World doing the same thing here? Who knows? This may be more of a case of one reporter's willful bias. But there does seem to be a pattern here. The World as a whole has certainly let its yellow-dog Democrat colors fly this year -- revealing more ties between the editorial page and its news pages than would seem to be appropriate for a "fair and balanced" newspaper." Posted at 11/01/2006 11:14:00 AM |

GOP Leader Questions Timing of Senate Immigration Task Force Meeting

State Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee questioned the timing of a meeting of the Senate's illegal immigration task force scheduled on November 1, saying the meeting is "an attempt to prop up Democrat Senator Daisy Lawler's failing campaign" less than a week before the general election. Coffee told OKPNS why Lawler's campaign is not resonating with district 24 voters: "Part of the reason Daisy Lawler is in trouble in this conservative district is her liberal voting record on illegal immigration. She voted to allow illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition at state colleges. She voted to allow illegals to receive state financial aid and scholarships*. She helped block an amendment to make sure illegal aliens can't get welfare benefits. And she even helped block an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from voting in our elections."** Insiders believe Senate Democrats appointed Lawler to chair the task force in an attempt to hide her poor record on illegal immigration. Democrat leaders excluded Republican senators when they created the task force. Coffee said the Republican candidate, Anthony Sykes, is a conservative leader who is committed to real immigration reform. NOTES: * In 2003, Daisy Lawler voted for SB 596. This bill made illegal aliens eligible to receive in-state tuition, state financial aid, and scholarships at state colleges and universities. ** In 2006, Daisy Lawler voted to support Democrat procedural moves to block the Williamson amendment to HB 2634. The Williamson amendment would have made illegal aliens ineligible to recieve state benefits. The amendment also sought to prevent illegal aliens from voting in Oklahoma elections by requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. Posted at 11/01/2006 10:16:00 AM |

Thinking Outside The Parties

By Chris Hillin The Oklahoma Daily If the United States’ two major parties are big tents, drawing all possible voters under their expansive roofs, then third party options are lean-to shacks scattered across the political landscape. In Oklahoma, independent political voices face fierce crowding on the political stage, and many independents say Oklahoma’s ballot access laws make it difficult to steal the spotlight David Splinter, vice chairman of the Oklahoma City Libertarians, said to be an independent means standing in opposition to the two major political parties and being an alternative to the same policies and thoughts voters hear every election. Many independent candidates get started because they feel the need for another perspective on politics. J.M. Branum, Green Party candidate for Oklahoma State House District 99 in Oklahoma City, said he announced his candidacy when he learned there would be no opposition to the person running in his district. “I just wanted to get my thoughts on the issues out there,” Branum said. “There just needed to be another voice influencing the other candidates’ policies.” Nationwide, more than 30 percent of the roughly 6,100 legislative seats on the ballot already have been decided because the candidates are running unopposed, according to The Associated Press. Posted at 11/01/2006 09:01:00 AM |

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