Friday, October 20, 2017

Hern Continues Fundraising Momentum in CD1 Special Election


Kevin Hern Continues Fundraising Momentum in CD1 Special Election

Tulsa, OK – U.S. Congressional candidate Kevin Hern, a businessman of Tulsa, has reported a campaign cash on hand of $477,919 after receiving contributions totaling $91,376 in the 3rd Quarter. Hern is seeking Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Representative Jim Bridenstine who was nominated by President Trump to head NASA.

The momentum for Kevin Hern's campaign keeps growing. This is the 3rd consecutive fundraising report that Hern has totaled more donations than all others in the race.

“I continue to be humbled by the support I have received,” Hern said. “Now, more than ever, the American people understand that we need proven problem solvers, who understand how to create jobs while representing the people’s interest in Washington D.C. I have first-hand knowledge on not only how to create jobs, but also on the damage government bureaucrats cause to our economy. I will use my experience to change the way business is done in Washington.”

To reach Kevin’s campaign, please visit www.HernforCongress.com or call 918-296-7710.

Conservative Leaders Rally to Support Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor


Conservative Leaders Rally to Support Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor

(Tulsa, OK) – Momentum continues to build for Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor, as conservative leaders from across Oklahoma have enthusiastically rallied around his candidacy. Covering all corners of the state, and all walks of life, Pinnell has built strong support from grassroots leaders, conservative elected officials, and faith leaders. Here’s what a few of them are saying about Matt Pinnell:

“We are living in trying times for our great state. Expenses are up and revenues are down. Our infrastructure is in need of improvement. There is much work to be done. This is why I am strongly endorsing Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor. Our state needs new leadership and I believe Matt is exactly what we need. Matt will be a tireless worker for the people of Oklahoma and will be the voice we need as we work to bring more businesses to our state.  Join me as I stand for Matt and his vision for Oklahoma!”
Pastor Robert Carter
Former 2nd District GOP and Delaware County GOP Chair
Grove, Oklahoma

"Matt Pinnell is a proven leader in Republican politics. He has experience representing Oklahoma at the national level and will be a tremendous asset selling the many unique capabilities and opportunities of our great state. I am proud to endorse Matt Pinnell for Oklahoma's next Lieutenant Governor."
Representative Jim Bridenstine (OK-01)

“As Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, Matt Pinnell led our party to an unprecedented level of success; he then did the same thing nationally serving the RNC. Yet he always kept his focus here in Oklahoma. I know he would bring this passion and drive to the office of Lt. Governor. Matt is hardworking and cares deeply about the future of Oklahoma. I hope you'll join me in supporting Matt Pinnell as our next Lt. Governor.”
Casey Killblane
Davis, OK

“Matt Pinnell is a dynamic and talented leader who has a consistent record of success in every endeavor he's undertaken. He combines ethics and enthusiasm with a steady hand that gets the job done. Matt Pinnell will make a great Lt. Governor and ambassador for Oklahoma. I am proud to endorse him.”
Representative Steve Russell (OK-05)

“I got to know Matt Pinnell when he was training conservative activists across the state, before he chaired the Oklahoma Republican Party or worked with the RNC to build up state parties and elect President Trump. Matt gets things done with excellence, energy, and full dedication to the conservative cause. I believe that Matt will make a great Lieutenant Governor, advocating for the conservative principles that Oklahomans hold dear, and fighting for policies that will advance and strengthen our state. Please join me in electing Matt Pinnell as our next Lieutenant Governor.”
Jamison Faught
Former Muskogee County GOP State Committeeman and Vice Chair; writer for Muskogee Politico Blog
Muskogee, OK

“It is with pleasure and gratitude that I endorse Matt Pinnell’s election as Oklahoma’s next Lt. Governor. We need someone with the courage to lead, to be visionary, and to speak directly about our state’s path to success. That, my friends, is Matt Pinnell. He has created his own business, has led with conservative principles, and is a man of integrity and loyalty. The election of Matt is a vote for Oklahoma’s future.”
Dewey Bartlett
Former Mayor of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK

“We need a Lt. Governor that will prioritize core services and maximize the economic benefits of the state. Matt can do that and more. He will make an excellent salesman across our 77 counties and I’m happy to endorse him.”
Alan Jett
Beaver County, OK

"Matt's energy, ideas and experience make him uniquely qualified to be our Lieutenant Governor.  I hope you'll join me in supporting him.  I believe Oklahoma needs Matt Pinnell."
Michael Willis
Tulsa County Clerk

"I am proud to endorse Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor. I first met Matt when I ran for Insurance Commissioner in 2010, and I immediately saw in him a natural ability to lead and bring people together. Matt is capable, energetic, and exactly the type of next-generation leader we need. Please join me in supporting Matt Pinnell as our next Lt. Governor."
Insurance Commissioner John “Okie” Doak
Tulsa, OK

“When I first heard Matt Pinnell was running for Lt. Governor I was so excited and immediately pledged my support. I worked for Matt when he was Oklahoma Republican Party State Chairman and let me tell you, it didn’t take long to realize this guy was going places! I have seen Matt enter a contentious environment, take charge, calm heated emotions, and leave the room with everyone on both sides of an issue happy and unified.  With one shake of his hand you know his heart. A heart for God, a heart for his family and a heart for this great state of Oklahoma. Matt’s high energy is contagious, as he smiles and shares his ideas of how he wants to help make our state the best state in the union. My husband and I are both proud and honored to give our full support to this young man. There is no one better for our state’s second highest position than Matt Pinnell!”
Donna Altom & Pastor Donald Altom
Hollis, OK

“I have known Matt for over 10 years and during that time observed his character, temperament, and leadership skills.  During Matt's three years as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, he facilitated and built coalitions with activists who often were at odds with one another.  Matt truly has the ability to get everyone to pull on the same end of the rope at the same time, which is a critical trait for effective leaders. Matt is also a visionary.  He sees the potential in what can be done and has the ability to develop and execute a plan to realize the vision.   Matt is a devoted husband and father.  He unashamedly exhibits his faith in his life.  Oklahoma needs people of character with leadership skills guiding our state- Matt Pinnell is that person.  Please join me in supporting and voting for Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor, Oklahoma's next generation of leadership.”
Steve Fair
Former GOP National Committeeman, 4th District GOP Chair, and Stephens County GOP Chair
Duncan, OK

"Matt Pinnell is a next-generation conservative leader that I can get excited about. In both politics and business, Matt has demonstrated the leadership skill of building consensus and bringing people together. I'm honored to endorse him for Lt. Governor."
State Senator Jason Smalley
Marine Corps Veteran
Stroud, OK

“Matt cherishes his faith and his family. We know that he will represent hard-working Oklahoma families with integrity. That's why we are proud to support him as our next Lt Governor.”
Dustin and Nicole Rowe
Tishomingo, OK

“I worked closely with Matt when I was a State Representative. I saw firsthand his ability to bring people together and solve tough problems. He’s been a leader at the state and national level, and I’m excited to see what he will accomplish as our next Lt. Governor. That’s why he has my full endorsement.”
Lee Denney
Former State Representative, District 33
Cushing, OK

“Serving as Mayor of Edmond and later on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, I saw firsthand some of the many challenges our communities and our state face. Matt Pinnell has a talent and passion for Oklahoma that will help lead our state forward as we confront these challenges. Whether in the political arena or as a small business owner, Matt has a proven track record of success that Oklahomans can rely on. That's why I'm proud to endorse Matt as our next Lieutenant Governor.”
Patrice Douglas
Former Corporation Commissioner and Mayor of Edmond
Edmond, OK

“Matt is a problem solver, I saw it firsthand when I was County Chairman. He understands the issues that we face in rural Oklahoma as well. For these reasons and many more, I’m thrilled to help and endorse him in his campaign for Lt. Governor.”
Martyn McMurphey
Guymon, OK

“As a small businessman and successful conservative political leader, Matt Pinnell is uniquely qualified to lead Oklahoma during this challenging time. Our state needs leaders who are able to work with our next governor and legislature, and who will bring new, innovative ideas to the table. Matt Pinnell is that leader, and that's why I'm supporting him as Oklahoma's next Lt. Governor.”
Ann Felton
Philanthropist and Community Leader
Oklahoma City, OK

“While serving in the state legislature, I saw first-hand the challenges that our state faces. In both politics and business, Matt Pinnell has demonstrated leadership, good judgement, and high character. He has the values and experience that Oklahoma needs to move our state in the right direction, and that's why I'm supporting Matt to be our next Lieutenant Governor.”
Pam Peterson
Former State Representative, District 67
Tulsa, OK

Pinnell is the former Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party and was most recently RNC National State Party Director. In that role, Pinnell served as the chief liaison between the RNC and state parties. Pinnell traveled to all 50 states, and played an integral role in Republicans taking control of the United States Senate in 2014 and winning the White House in 2016. Pinnell and his wife Lisa own and operate a successful small business in Tulsa. You can learn more at www.MattPinnell.com.

OCPA: The Honesty Gap

The Honesty Gap
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

It’s been called the “honesty gap” or the “proficiency gap.”

For years, some Oklahoma education leaders have misled parents on student performance by setting a low bar. Thus, state officials have been able to claim “You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma”– while the nation’s report card shows Oklahoma is not doing fine at all.

We’re not the only guilty state, but we’re among the worst offenders. As far back as 11 years ago, an Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs report noted that Oklahoma had inflated its educational progress by setting “unusually low educational standards. … While objective measures put Oklahoma in the lower half of states in terms of educational performance, measures reported by the State Department of Education consistently paint a far rosier picture.”

These poor results happened despite the preferred state revenue per pupil numbers of 2009. Key policymakers and business leaders have known about the problem for years. Former BOK Financial CEO Stan Lybarger, for example, lamented Oklahoma’s “inflated test scores.”

Arne Duncan, President Obama’s first secretary of education, said pointedly, “We have been lying to children and their parents because states have dumbed down their standards.”

Urging states to tell the truth, Duncan said: “Sometimes you have to call the baby ugly.”

It appears Oklahoma will be more honest about student performance.

It’s certainly not pretty. “The majority of Oklahoma students lack proficiency in all but one subject area tested,” The Oklahoman reported.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister deserves praise for helping Oklahoma close the honesty gap, a problem that existed long before she took office. Many state lawmakers have rightly said no more blank checks – no spending increases without reform. For the sake of the most vulnerable, truth-telling can’t qualify as “reform.”

The Tulsa World quotes Hofmeister as saying, “What has just occurred is more sweeping than anything that has happened in recent years.”

Obviously, it makes no sense for an education establishment that for years has been “lying to children and their parents” (Arne Duncan’s words) to now say: “OK, we’ll stop lying. Thus, you should reward us with more money.”

Oklahoma’s total education revenue increased over the last decade – faster than inflation or student population growth. It’s time for real reforms, like merit pay, property tax reform, and moving school board and bond elections to November.

Most importantly, it’s time to let tax dollars follow the child to the safest and best school – whether public or private. According to a recent survey of likely Oklahoma voters, fully 65 percent of Oklahomans support using tax dollars to allow parents to choose the education that works best for their children.

Our one-size-fits-all approach to education doesn’t work so well for many students and families; it’s time for other options.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Special Session Teacher Pay Raise: Worthy Goal, but Misguided Timing


Oklahoma has budget issues. People may not agree on what exactly the problems are, or what solutions are needed to remedy them, but everyone can agree that there are things that need to be changed when it comes to the state's fiscal situation.

Some think we spend too much, and are involved in areas that government doesn't belong. Others think we tax too little, and that government needs to be more involved.

The Legislature is currently in a special session to address a $215,000,000.00 "shortfall" due to appropriations being made on the back of an unconstitutional tax increase. Once the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck the illegal measure down, it created a large hole in the budgets of four state agencies: the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Legislators have been wrangling over how to address the situation, but negotiations have not gone anywhere yet. Differences between the Republican and Democrat plans, differences in the Republican caucus, and differences between the House, Senate and Governor have played roles in the delay.

Another issue is that the Governor and some legislative leaders are actually seeking to grow the deficit, thus creating the need for deeper cuts or steeper tax hikes to fill the hole (naturally, the primary route they are exploring is tax increases). Governor Fallin and legislative leaders are hoping to get a teacher pay raise passed in this special session. This was not accomplished during the last several regular sessions due to lack of available funds.

Everybody wants to give teachers a pay raise. Contrary to what the Democrats and the education lobby constantly claim, there are no "anti-Education" members of the state legislature. There is not a single legislator that wants to harm education (ironically, the same Democrats who claim that Republican are "anti-Education" tend to fight Republican efforts to direct more dollars into the classroom - who's really harming education there?). Every legislator understands the need for top-notch education for Oklahoma's children, and one of the strategies for accomplishing that is attracting and maintaining quality teachers.

However, the time has to be right. You can't spend extra money when you're already short a significant amount. Let's illustrate this.
A family has fallen on hard times. They have no money left in their savings account, the family vehicle is about to be repossessed, they've got $25,000 in credit card debt, and they're falling behind on their utility bills. As they contemplate how best to resolve their financial situation, they decide that before doing so they will first purchase a brand-new television and some new furniture for the living areas. After they expend several thousand more dollars, they will then tackle the issue of their dire financial straits.

That's essentially what the Governor and legislature want to do by adding to the shortfall with increased spending. Leave it to them to come in for a special session to deal with a $215M shortage that they caused by unconstitutional actions, increase that shortfall by several hundred million dollars, and then raise taxes to 'fix' it.

When you have a deficit, it is not the right solution to spend more money.

A teacher pay raise is a worthy goal, and one that every legislator and sensible person would like to see happen. However, raising taxes on Oklahomans is not the way to accomplish it.

Let's not forget that in 2016, Oklahomans overwhelmingly defeated a tax that was specifically dedicated to providing education with more funds. It wasn't even close, despite the pro-SQ779 side massively outspending the anti-SQ779 side $7,116,573.32 to $884,874.92.

Oklahoma is in the current budget situation for a host of issues, but one of the primary reasons is that bad economic times have hurt taxpayers and businesses alike, reducing income and in turn spending, resulting in less taxes to collect. Raising taxes now adds insult to injury.

The state legislature should limit this special session to specifically dealing with the shortfall created by their unconstitutional actions. Anything else should be considered in the regular session starting in February, allowing the proper time for transparency, public input, and thorough study by legislators.

The unconstitutional passage of the Smoking Cessation Fee cigarette tax was due to haste. Things are rarely done well when hurried. Legislators should ponder that.

A teacher pay raise is a worthy goal, but doing so during this special session and through tax hikes is misguided.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cruz schools Bernie on Robin Hood and taxes

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) met on CNN last night for a debate on tax reform.

During the debate, Sanders referred to the GOP tax plan as "a Robin Hood proposal in the reverse". When Cruz got a chance, he tore that statement to shreds, educating Sanders (and leftists in general) about what Robin Hood really was doing.

Watch the exchange here:

Richardson wants AG opinion on Indian Gaming Compact negotiations



GARY RICHARDSON SEEKS AG OPINION ON INDIAN GAMING COMPACT

October 19, 2017 --  Tulsa attorney and GOP candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is asking Oklahoma’s Attorney General for a legal opinion on potentially premature negotiations of the Indian Gaming Compact. In a recent media interview, Osage Nation Chief, Geoffrey Standing Bear, announced compact negotiations with the state had already begun.

“The current contract clearly states negotiations for the next compact can not begin until 180 days before its expiration on January 1, 2020,” Gary Richardson says. “Negotiations for a new compact are intended to be a power designated to whomever is Governor in 2019.  I’m confident that will be me but, no matter who wins the election, Governor Fallin has no right or authority to negotiate terms of this compact during her tenure.”

Oklahoma’s Attorney General has the ability to issue a legal opinion which can be used as legal precedent until the court issues its own ruling.

"The people of Oklahoma and the Tribes of Oklahoma deserve a government that honors its word,” says Richardson.  “We know all too well what the tragic legacy of broken government promises has done to the Indian tribes of Oklahoma. These compacts are a promise made between the peoples of our state and, as an Oklahoman, I consider that promise to be sacred. As a political outsider, I don’t have the power to demand an opinion from the Attorney General, but any sitting lawmaker can pick up the mantle to make sure the state keeps its commitments.”

Gary Richardson is a lifelong Oklahoman, former US Attorney appointed by President Reagan, and founder of a successful law firm in Tulsa.

For more information on Gary Richardson’s campaign for Governor of Oklahoma visit his website at www.GaryRichardson.org.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cornett to kick off gubernatorial campaign Wednesday



Mick Cornett to Hold Two Events, Kick Off Campaign

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Mayor and Republican candidate for governor Mick Cornett will hold two campaign kick-off events to share his vision for the future of the Oklahoma Wednesday, October 18 in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
 
Oklahoma City Event:

What: Mick will address supporters at a campaign event, outlining his plan to move Oklahoma in a new direction and kicking-off his campaign for Governor of Oklahoma.
When: 11:00 a.m.
Where: Bicentennial Park, 500 Couch Dr., Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Parking: Publicly available at meters around the park.

Tulsa Event: 

What: Mick will address supporters at a campaign event, outlining his plan to move Oklahoma in a new direction and kicking-off his campaign for Governor of Oklahoma.
When: 5:30 p.m.
Where: Central Center at Centennial Park, 1028 E. 6th St., Tulsa, OK, 74120
Parking: A lot is available at Central Center, and there is other public parking around the park.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Look



Regular readers will notice that things look a bit different around here now. After at least five years with the same basic appearance, I decided things needed a little sprucing up. Call it MuskogeePolitico v5.0. For nostalgia's sake, v1.0 is here (2008 to mid-2010), v2.0 is here (mid-2010 to early 2011), v3.0 is here (early 2011 to early 2012), and v4.0 is here (early 2012 to today).

The current theme is more responsive and mobile-friendly. Regardless of the browsing format (desktop, tablet, or mobile), the site will automatically adjust for optimal viewing. It's a big improvement over the previous theme.

Other than looking different, all the old features are still present. Email sign-up, links, blogroll, comments, sharing, ads and special features are all still here, though some may be shifted around with the new layout.

At the bottom of the site in the footer section, I added two new features -- a 'cloud' of most of the top post tags, and a list of the most-viewed posts in the past 12 months.