Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Answers from the OKGOP Chair candidates: full survey


Over the past three days, I've broken up my OKGOP Chair candidate survey into five short(ish) posts, focusing on two to four questions at a time.

In this post, I've included the survey in its entirety, with the responses from each of the three candidates (Estela Hernandez, Robert Hubbard, and Pam Pollard). So those of you on the front page don't have to scroll halfway down the page to see the next post, I've put the entire survey below the page break. For sharing purposes, this might be the easiest to use.

If you would like to view the original posts, use these links: questions 1 and 2questions 3 through 5, questions 6 through 9, questions 10 through 12, and questions 13 and 14.

Once again, as mentioned in previous posts, members of the OKGOP State Committee will choose a new state chair from these three candidates on October 11th. I would encourage members of the State Committee to examine the answers these candidates gave on this survey.


Final Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates


With this post, we close out our OKGOP Chair Candidate Survey answers (view part one herepart two herepart three here, and part four here).

13. Financial reports under Chairmen Jones and Pinnell were transparent, detailed, easy to follow, and utilized the same layout/format in handouts. They also personally gave detailed verbal reports to the State Committee. Do you plan to 1) personally give financial reports at State Committee meetings, and 2) use a report format that is as detailed, transparent and easy to follow as Jones’ and Pinnell’s?

Estela Hernandez:
Transparency is a vital part of our Party. We expect it from our elected officials and we should and must expect it from our Party leadership. As a businesswoman I understand the need for clear, detailed reports about the Party’s financial status and will work to ensure that the reports provided to the Finance Committee, the Budget Committee, the Executive Committee and the State Committee are clear, concise and easy to follow. When it comes to fundraising, reporting, and communicating with or on behalf of our Party the buck stops with the Chairman and I will do all I can to be transparent.

Robert Hubbard:
I have always pushed for clear and concise financial reports to be handed out to our state committee members. It is my belief that the chairman of the finance committee should give the report and then stand for questions.

Pam Pollard:
The role of the OKGOP Treasurer is to present the financial report at the committee meetings. It is the role of the State Chairman to manage the collection and presentation of the financial reports. I worked closely with Gary Jones and as State Vice Chairman under Matt Pinnell, he took advantage of my expertise as an accountant and asked me to verify all reports were correct and revenues and expenses were clearly stated. This is my business, this is second nature to me and I can attest that under my leadership the OKGOP will have clear concise financial reports for all registered republicans to review. 


14. Here’s your closing statement – cover whatever you want to talk about.

Pam Pollard:
EXPERIENCE. That is what separates me. I don’t have to talk about what I will do, I want to remind you of what I have already done.

We usually have a year’s lead time from election of State Chair to the Presidential convention season. We have 2 months to get the precinct packets to you, 4 months until County Conventions start and 6 months until the Presidential Primary. We need an experienced person in the office of State Party Chairman and I am the only candidate with the experience to go to work on Oct 12th.

From:
  • training activists, to 
  • working on campaigns, to 
  • building coalitions, to 
  • raising money, to 
  • organizing the grassroots, to 
  • helping county officers, to
  • working with the young conservatives, to 
  • reaching out to minorities, to 
  • running statewide organizations, to 
  • being elected county chairman, to 
  • serving on every committee within the GOP structure, to 
  • leading the charge to turn out voters to the polls,
I have a successful record in each.

2016 is about winning elections. As GOTV Director in 2010 I led the program that elected 77% of our candidates and resulted in the headlines of the Tulsa World, “Triumph of Turnout.” I am the Right Person for the Right Time!

I humbly ask for your support and your vote at the State Committee meeting. My final thought is we have reached “crunch time.” Please consider who is most prepared TODAY to step up and fill the office of State Chairman. Thank you and may God Be with our Nation.

~Pam Pollard
pam@pollard4chair.com   405-420-8154


Estela Hernandez:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer a few questions and share my vision and goals. Over the last few weeks, I have already proven that I can hit the ground running. We have started fundraising again, the war room is ready to go for our Senate District 34 nominee (once we have him) and we are actively preparing the infrastructure for the 2016 races. 

My service on the various boards, commissions and my work for the Party have shown that I can be an effective voice for our Party’s positive, conservative message and I will continue those efforts if elected. We need a strong voice that brands our Party to new generations and new demographics without watering down our message. I am committed to enhancing our training and outreach programs, to working with Young Republicans and College Republicans to enhance our Party. 

I want to thank all those who I have already spoken to that have offered prayers, support and votes in this upcoming meeting. When I ran for Vice Chair of our Party earlier this year, I had no idea that we would faced with the situation that we are in. But I feel called to step up and lead. Our Party must be better prepared to share its vision for America and Oklahoma. 

If anyone has any questions they can reach me at Estela@okgop.com


Robert Hubbard:
I would be honored to serve as your state chairman. Because of my various business and personal life experiences, I believe I can best relate to all of Oklahoma, both rural and urban. It is also vital that we build our Young Republican base so they can be elevated to places of leadership. With that in mind, I would like to see the next state chair of the Young Republicans be provided with an office in our state headquarters so that they are included as a member of the team to build the state party. There is much to be done between now and November 8, 2016. Together, we can and will make it happen.

May God bless each one of you, and may we all look to Him to bless this nation. Respectfully,

Robert Hubbard


As mentioned in previous posts, members of the OKGOP State Committee will pick between these three candidates on October 11th.

For the rest of the survey, view part one herepart two herepart three here, and part four here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates, Part 4


We continue with the OKGOP Chair candidate survey (view part one herepart two here, and part three here). The next few questions were specifically designed to test the candidates' knowledge of Party Rules, procedures, and convention schedules.

10. Do you plan to run for chair at the state convention in May? 

Estela Hernandez:
According to our rules, the State Committee Meeting on Oct 11 will be to fill the remainder of the unexpired term which would end in April or May of 2017. I do feel that continuity is important and if given the opportunity to serve, I do plan on running for a full term at that time.

Robert Hubbard:
Yes.

Pam Pollard:
State Party rules require when a vacancy is created for the office of State Party Chairman or Vice Chairman, a special election must be held at a State Committee meeting held no sooner than thirty (30) days and no more than sixty (60) days from the date of the vacancy. The person elected at the State Committee meeting will fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of the Chairman. Officers are elected at biennial conventions to be held in odd numbered years so the term of the current State Party Chair will expire at the adjournment of the state convention in 2017. There is no election of State Party Chairman at the state convention in May.


11. The Oklahoma Republican Party currently has conventions in three out of four years. Could you explain why we don’t have a convention every year? 

Pollard: 
OKGOP rules state that Party Officers are elected at Biennial Conventions to be held in odd numbered years.

In Presidential election years, the State Party Rules direct us to hold quadrennial Precinct Meetings, County Conventions, Congressional District Conventions and a State Convention for the purpose of preparing a platform and electing delegates to the Republican National Convention. We also elect our 2 representatives in the Republican National Committee at the Quadrennial Convention. Their terms begin at the conclusion of the National Convention.

Hernandez:
Our rules require us to have conventions in three out of every four years. In odd numbered years we elect the Chairman and Vice Chair of the State Party and conduct other party business. In Presidential election years, like we are currently preparing for, we have additional responsibilities. We have to elect our National Committeeman and Committeewoman who serve 4 year terms in order to work with the RNC and prepare the next National Convention (2020). In the year that we elect our statewide elected officials, we are not required to hold precinct meetings, county conventions or a state convention, but we traditionally take that time to have either a rally or additional training to prepare for the upcoming election cycle. I hope to continue that tradition.

Hubbard:
In the odd numbered years we elect our state chair and vice­-chair as well as take care of other state party business. In the even numbered year of the presidential election it is the duty of the state convention to elect delegates and alternates to the national convention. Thus, the other even numbered year of the four year cycle is a bye year.


12. Please explain the national delegate selection process? Also, do you prefer voting on at-­large delegates individually, or by a slate?

Hubbard:
Oklahoma has five congressional districts that are determined by population. During the presidential election year, each congressional district has a separate convention at which time that convention elects three delegates to the national convention. This convention also elects one elector to represent them as a voting member of the electoral college. In addition to the fifteen delegates elected by the district conventions, twenty ­five delegates and twenty ­five alternates will be selected from statewide applicants who also wish to be considered as national delegates. These applicants will be chosen by a select committee that will make up the slate of twenty ­five delegates and alternates. I believe there is another avenue, but that can only be instituted by a rule change.

Pollard:
The RNC rules dictate in part how the states select their national delegates. Each state is entitled to three (3) delegates and three (3) alternates for each Congressional District. The number of at-large delegates/alternates is determined by the representation of Republican Office holder at the federal and state level. At the last National Convention we had 28 at-large delegates and will again have 28 at-large delegates and alternates in 2016.

In 2012 we had 212 people apply for one of the 56 slots available, (28 delegates + 28 alternates). There is no such thing as an “open” convention at the national level. Because of the very large number of applicants it is impossible to take nominations and elect delegates/alternates individually at the state convention. Therefore the Republican Party created State Party Rules that stipulate the process.

The Rules state the State Executive Committee meets after all District Conventions have been held and at least two weeks prior to the date of the State Convention for the purpose of selecting nominees for Delegate-at-Large and Alternate-at-Large to the Republican National Convention. All applicants are invited to an interview before the Exec. Comm where they are asked a wide range of questions. A private vote is taken of all names submitted and the applicants who receive a majority of votes are given one of the at-large slots. The same process takes place for at-large alternates.

I have been part of this process in two Presidential election years and believe it to be the best method to get a fair representation of delegates/alternates throughout the state. All names must be published at least (10) days prior to the State Convention. This is often called the Executive Committee slate and is voted on according to convention rules, usually as a whole. Nominations from the floor are accepted as detailed in the convention rules. Election of the Delegates-at-Large and Alternates-at-Large are done by roll call vote.

Hernandez:
Our rules clearly outline the delegate process. There are three delegates and three alternates that will be selected at each District Convention this year. After the final District Convention is held, the State Executive Committee will meet to select a slate of At-large delegates and alternates. That slate will be published prior to the State Convention and the Convention will vote on it.

Currently our rules do not provided for an individual up or down vote on each member of the slate. Considering how many delegates Oklahoma has, and the average time it takes for us to go through one election at a convention, I feel it is impractical to try to do individual votes and feel that we should continue to work with the “slate” format. The slate is the collaborative product of those who have been elected to leadership positions from across the state. It is important to remember that every Congressional District is represented, every recognized ancillary organization is represented, and those who serve in this capacity take it very seriously, as they should.


The final question and closing statements will be posted tomorrow morning. (Update: view part one herepart two here, and part three here).

State Sen. Bice endorses Fiorina


Bice and Huggard Point to Fiorina as the Political Outsider Who Will Fight for America

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Today, Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice and Oklahoma business owner Linda Huggard announce their support for Carly Fiorina for President of the United States. Stephanie Bice is the State Representative for District 22, which includes northern Oklahoma County and eastern Canadian County, including parts of Edmond, Deer Creek, Piedmont and Yukon.  Linda Huggard is the Owner of Broadway Machine and Motor Supply.

Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice:
“It's time for our country to benefit from the leadership qualities a woman like Carly Fiorina would bring to the oval office. Her no-nonsense attitude toward international relations and her goal to make the United States a world leader, economically and militarily, are just two from the long list of reasons why I'm throwing my support to her campaign. I hope to encourage all Oklahomans to join me."

Linda Huggard:
“Carly has a thorough knowledge of the problems, both foreign and domestic, that confront our nation.  She also realizes the urgency of solving those problems.  She has real and workable solutions. She has a keen mind, talent for communicating, ability to motivate people and a love for and dedication to this great nation. America would be fortunate indeed to have Carly in the Oval Office.”

State Senator Stephanie Bice and Business Owner Linda Huggard are joining a growing group of Americans nationwide who have been moved to support Carly’s candidacy because of her willingness to challenge the professional political class and take on the status quo.


Note: Fiorina becomes the fourth current GOP presidential candidate to receive public support from Oklahoma elected officials, joining Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.

Scott Pruitt: "I’m all in for Jeb"


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined the campaign team of presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

From the McCarville Report:
Jeb Bush today announced the support of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. He said Pruitt will serve in a national role for his campaign, as National Chairman of Federal-State Relations for the Jeb 2016 campaign

“Scott and I share a common vision for empowering the states and limiting the intrusion of federal government in every area of our lives, I’m excited to have him as part of the team.  I look forward to working him and members of the task force to continue to demonstrate my plan as president to restore our country,” Bush said.

Pruitt said, “I have never been as excited for a presidential election as I am for this one. Our Party is poised to reclaim the White House and rebuild the faith in America that has been lost under the Obama presidency. After getting to know the strong field of candidates, I am convinced Governor Bush has the courage and humility our country needs to prosper and recover the American Dream. In my time with Jeb, I’ve personally observed his devotion to his wife and children, his love of country, and his optimism and hope in what America can become. Jeb’s track record as governor of Florida demonstrates when you serve and lead with conservative convictions, government works, government shrinks, and most importantly, the lives of Americans are improved.

“I am honored to serve as Governor Bush’s National Chairman of Federal-State Relations.  Governor Bush is the only candidate in the race for President that has a plan to bring a much needed structural reset between the relationship of the federal government and states to make Washington less consequential in our lives.  I encourage all conservatives to look past the theatrics of the primary and get acquainted with the authenticity, character and experienced leadership of Gov. Bush.  He is the right man at the right time to lead our nation.  I’m all in for Jeb.”

This wasn't an endorsement I necessarily expected. Pruitt becomes the third statewide elected official to endorse in the presidential primary. Treasurer Ken Miller endorsed Bush as well, and the late Labor Commissioner Mark Costello had endorsed Scott Walker.

Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates, Part 3


Continuing with Part 3 of my OKGOP Chair candidate survey (view part one herepart two here, and part four here):

6. How many presidential-year state conventions have you attended? 

Robert Hubbard:
I have attended two presidential ­year state conventions.

Pam Pollard:
Four (4)

Estela Hernandez:
In 2012, I had the honor of being recognized at the Rising Star in the OKGOP. I was also asked by Chairman Matt Pinell to speak about community engagement at that convention. Conventions are an important part of our political process, but engaging people in the political process, getting them fired up and ready to not only vote but truly engage in the process is a much larger project. That is why I am proud to see the dynamic shift with the RNC as they have moved over the last year into the Victory 365 project. As important as the convention process is, our contributions to the Party should be marked by our service, our leadership and legacy we leave behind for our children, not just attendance at conventions.

7. Have you ever organized a Republican Party convention? 
If so, which conventions and in what capacity?

Hernandez:
I was given the great honor to work with the Southern Republican Leadership team in planning and bringing the SRLC to Oklahoma City. When I was elected as Vice Chair on the State Party, I also took on the role of spokesperson for the event. The SRLC was one of, if not THE biggest political event we have had in the state and there were many people who contributed to the effort. My goal for our upcoming conventions is to have them managed as efficiently and effectively as the SRLC was managed. Through technology, and expertise we were able to register well in excess of 2,000 people with limited lines. I believe that we can assemble of great team for our upcoming 2016 and 2017 conventions that can replicate that success.

Hubbard:
As Chair of Canadian County, I have been in charge of two conventions and assisted with the Third Congressional District Convention.

Pollard:
2001~2005- Appointed OK County Credentials Chair
2004~2010- Appointed state credentials chair by State Chairman Gary Jones
Served for six years where I helped develop an electronic registration program for the state convention. (We do not use my system today and I pledge to use my experience to develop a working convention registration program that is accurate and timely. To-date I have 2 computer programmers who have volunteered to serve on convention registration committee)
2007- As County Chairman I organized the OK County Convention using electronic registration, credentialing and computerized voting for over 500 delegates. Organized Credential, Rules and Platform Committee meetings.
2008- Same duties as 2007 convention
2009- Same duties as 2007 convention
2012- Served as State Vice Chairman organizing convention to elect delegates to RNC
2004- Elected as a delegate to the RNC and elected by fellow delegates to serve on the national Credentials Committee.
2008- 2004- Elected as a delegate to the RNC and elected by fellow delegates to again serve on the national Credentials Committee.
2012- Appointed Delegation Aide to the RNC being responsible for the management of the OK delegates while in Tampa.
2015- As OK Federation of Republican Women President I organized and was the Convention Chairman for the State Convention this past August

8. What are your specific plans to raise funds for the party and do you have any experience running a statewide organization? 

Pollard:
First, let me say the finance rules of the State Ethics Commission and Federal Election Commission are complex. As an accountant and through the offices I have held in the Republican Party I have a thorough knowledge of the laws for the 5 bank accounts we currently maintain.

My specific fundraising plans include reaching out to donors I have known for many years in my work with the OKGOP, OFRW and numerous campaigns I have worked on. I believe the donors want to see 2 things:
     1. A Party leader that will restore public confidence in the OK Republican Party
     2. A plan of action (Business Plan) to win elections in 2016

I have spoken with many donors and encouraged them to give money to the Party NOW so we can begin to build the financial stability of the Party. I have a Finance Chair and 3 members prepared to serve on the Finance Committee as designated in the State Party Rules. We must have a clear message and plan of action for the donors (investors) of the Party.

I have served as State Vice Chairman under Chairman Matt Pinnell during the last Presidential election cycle and I thoroughly understand the special finance laws pertaining to the OK Victory account. We were able to raise over 1.5 million dollars working with other states and donors of the Presidential campaign. I cannot say if this particular system will be used by the Presidential nominee in 2016 but I am prepared to manage the funds in support of candidates if the opportunity arises.

Hernandez:
I have been a Commissioner on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, advocating on behalf of issues that impact women across the state. I have a history of working with groups like the Sunbeam Family Services Board, Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women. Through my experience and leadership opportunities within these boards and organizations I have had lots of experience in fundraising.

This upcoming cycle presents great fundraising opportunities, and I look forward to tackling them. As a small business woman, I have had the great opportunity to run businesses, manage staff, meet and exceed goals. I know what it takes to make ends meet in a company.

First, we must reach out and maintain our Minuteman and Elephant Club programs. Sustaining donors are the lifeblood of our Party both financially and in volunteer hours.  As interim Chair, I have been personally reaching out to previous donors whose Minuteman or Elephant Club memberships have expired. We are seeing strong results in those sustaining donors rejoining the program.

Next, we have to continue to build on the fundraising platforms that we already have.  Mail campaigns and events have proven track records in providing a revenue stream, but we also want to branch out and leverage social media and the 32,000 followers we have on Facebook to help fundraise also.

Hubbard:
I plan to re­organize the Gala Dinner into a more diverse method of fund­raising that will be more fun and exciting. I also have a list of on­going ideas to utilize throughout the year, including, Guns and Roses, Fin and Feathers, monthly Minute­Man drawings, dinner for two with your favorite state official. All of these will work state­wide for so we can have greater participation. I was three-­time President of the Oklahoma Paint Horse Association. We had successful year-­end award banquets, fun entertainment and celebrity guests. During my tenure, I put together the largest paint horse show ever produced outside of the World Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. The show ran day and night for three days with a great staff of volunteers that made it all possible.

9. Republicans dominate in the legislature, and have total control of statewide elected positions. What is your plan to win offices at the county level?

Hubbard:
My plan is the same one we used in Canadian County, where all elected officials are republicans. You start by building the county party to the point where democrats rarely run for office. As chair of Canadian County, from 2010­2014, we averaged 890 new republican registrations each year.

Pollard:
First, let me say the Republican Party must DEFEND 30 open Republican seats in the House and Senate in 2016. This is an unprecedented number brought about by term limits. The democrats WILL produce “conservative democrat” candidates whose message will be very hard to separate to the general voter. Be prepared for candidates to NOT advertise their party affiliation in their campaign literature and signs to confuse the voters.

It will be a very important role of the Party to advertise OUR candidates by Party affiliation and the unique role of the State Party is that we can put multiple candidates on our literature when asking people to go vote! When I first ran the Victory Get Out The Vote program in 2004 I fought to have as many candidates listed on the materials as possible to take advantage of the very powerful tickle-down effect. With Hillary or Biden or Bernie to give us some fun on the democrat ticket, we must take advantage of the Republican Presidential candidate support by listing our US Senator, House, Senate and county officers on each piece of material paid for by the OKGOP. THESE ARE PROVEN PRACTICES and we must raise the money to fund this critical campaign methodology.

Hernandez:
While it is true that we have super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, and every statewide office, we cannot become complacent. The special election in HD85 has proven what can happen when we do. I was proud to knock doors and make calls for our nominee in that race, but the Party can and must do more in all our upcoming races including county races.

In 2012, when these county seats were up last, only 79 out of 308 seats were decided in the general election. We must work with our county parties so that they have the resources, training, and technology to recruit and elect strong candidates across the board.


Answers to Questions 10-12 will be posted this evening. (Update: view part one herepart two here, and part four here).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Music Monday: Stayed on Jesus

This week's Music Monday is the song 'Stayed On Jesus' performed by The Master's Chorale of The Master's College. I got to hear the Chorale in person once - they were fantastic. This song is on a CD I have of theirs. Another of my favorite songs they performed on the CD is here (performed by a different group).

On a political note, supporters of Hillary Clinton recently used perverted this song at a campaign stop of Clinton's, changing the opening words to "I woke up this mornin' with my mind stayed on Hillary".

Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates, Part 2


Part 2 of my OKGOP Chair candidate survey (view part one herepart three here, and part four here):

3. How will you work with all factions in the party to bring about unity?

Robert Hubbard:
None of us are the same, and I don't expect or want cookie-­cutter Republicans. It is by their different ideas and thought processes that we grow. Recognizing this will be the starting point in bring about party unity.

Pam Pollard:
As I stated in the previous question, I will work hard to restore trust and respect between the grassroots activists and the State Party. The number one issue I have heard throughout the state is lack of transparency at the state level. The State Committee is the supreme Republican Party authority and should receive a full report of all finances with close oversight of the State Budget Committee. Minutes of meetings and lists of county officers must be available to all Republicans.

The Republican Party in Oklahoma has changed since I began as an activist 17 years ago. For the first 100 years the Republicans fought against the candidates, policies and platform of the Democrat Party. Thanks to the decades of work of party leaders and staunch activists, the Democrats have been neutralized and now we are left to fight one another. We must understand and appreciate diversity of opinions and allow people the very freedom we fight for in our nation and that is the right to individual expression.

I don’t fear diversity but rather embrace it because that is the foundation of the great history of our country. As Party Chairman, my job is to build a foundation and infrastructure for Republican voters to travel down. We are united by our Platform and State Party Rules and are only divided by our personal desire to promote our individual ideas. If we can appreciate each other’s passionate beliefs then we will have the unity and strength to defend our Republican candidates against the liberal policies of the democrats.

Estela Hernandez:
The first step to unity is stop talking about factions. We must deal with each other as individuals and deal with people with respect. While we may disagree on some specific issues, or specific applications of certain policies, I feel that most Republicans agree with our statement of principles. I want to make sure that everyone has a voice, and feels that they can express that voice with dignity and respect. As Chairman, I am and will continue to work with all those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work.


4. How do you plan to balance the party platform and the administrative duties of the office you are seeking?

Hernandez:
The platform is an important piece of our Party’s presence. I want to work to ensure that the administration of the party is in keeping with the ideals espoused in our platform. We are for conservative policies and conservative practices. The Party should reflect that; during the 2014 election cycle, I had the opportunity to teach at each of the candidate/ activist trainings, and I was impressed that each one of those featured a section on our Republican principles. I want to continue that tradition. It is not enough to just post the platform on the website, or read it at conventions, we need to be able to have positive discussions about it, to reflect on it and find innovative solutions that are keeping with our platform and traditions. I am dedicated to finding and maintaining that balance.

Hubbard:
Our party platform sets forth the tenets of our party, and is the cornerstone upon which this house is built. I believe it is the duty of the Chair to hold forth these principles as well as encouraging accountability to them by our elected officials.

Pollard:
I will run the Party as a business using the principles of sound business practices I share with my accounting clients. The administrative duties of the State Chairman include being a wise steward of both the monies raised and the monies spent. We must support and build the county party structure and provide the necessary resources for each county. I will staff the office with knowledgeable, experienced workers who are as equally dedicated to supporting the counties and winning elections as I am.

The State Chairman is tasked with the enforcement of the State Party Rules and carrying out the directions of the State Committee. The Party Platform is part of the foundation of the Republican Party and I will personally hand out a copy of the platform to each candidate that files for office as a Republican.



5. What is your understanding of specific needs of the party during a Presidential election year?

Pollard:
Our Rules set forth a structure of electing a Chairman in odd numbered years to build the Party infrastructure and raise monies necessary to implement the strategies to win elections during even numbered years. The number of voters in a presidential election year is greater than 1 ½ times the voting turnout in non-presidential years.

The work of the Party is magnified during Presidential election years because we hold precinct meetings, county conventions, district and state conventions and attend the national convention.

Specific needs to accomplish the above events:

1. Raise monies needed to support the activities of the Party, the Republican Presidential Nominee and the Republican Nominees for local, state and federal offices.
2. Prepare counties for Precinct meetings
3. Assist Counties in holding County conventions held for the purpose of electing delegates to the
      a. District Convention and
      b.State Convention
4. Make sure fair elections are held for the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP)
5. Assist District Chairmen in holding conventions to elect District Delegates to the Republican National Convention (RNC)
6. Organize a State Convention for the purpose of
      a. Electing At-large delegates to the RNC and
      b. Electing a National Committeeman and Committeewoman (due to RNC rules, this is the only case the gender rule is in effect for office holders in the OKGOP)
7. Hold Platform meetings for the purpose of approving a state platform to be submitted to the RNC
8. Hold special Executive Committee meetings to interview the applicants and elect a slate of delegates to the Republican National Convention. (This process is necessary because the state is allocated 25 +/- delegates and 25 alternates to the RNC and historically the Party receives over 200 applications.

Hernandez:
There are two distinct sets of needs during this cycle. First are the needs and obligations to our Nominee and the Presidential election. The Party must ensure a smooth process for our delegates to the RNC to be nominated and elected. Once we have a nominee, we must work diligently to maintain the “Red State” tradition that we have enjoyed the last four cycles of having every single county go Republican. Beyond that, we also need to ready with infrastructure to help swing states. In 2012 Steve Fair led a group to help Colorado, in 2014, he took a group to help get Bill Cassidy elected to the US Senate. We don’t yet know where we may be needed but Oklahoma Republicans have never shirked from the challenge of taking our conservative values and Oklahoma work ethic on the road for good candidates.

Next is our local obligations. Presidential cycles draw higher voter turnout and in tougher local races that can have a big impact. We have to work with all our nominees up and down the ballot to ensure the best data, technology and volunteer coordination is in place for everyone to succeed.

Whether we are looking nationally or locally the Party must be ready to work together so that we can have a strong, effective, and conservative 2016.

Hubbard:
A strong focus on state and national races providing support to all Republican candidates during the primaries and to the successful candidates thereafter.


Answers to Question 6-9 come tomorrow morning.  (update: view part one herepart three here, and part four here).

Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates, Part 1


As promised on Saturday, here is the first set of responses to questions I posed to the OKGOP Chair candidates (view part two herepart three here, and part four here). I'll start off with the responses in alphabetical order, then rotate on each successive question.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you came from and how 
you got to be who you are today).

Estela Hernandez:

I’ve been married for 14 years and I’m a mother 3 kids. For the past 12 years, my husband and I have owned and operated a construction company in Oklahoma City. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business. I’m passionate about my faith, my family, and our country. I came to America at a very young age. My siblings and I were raised in the state of New Jersey. At the age of 18, I was privileged to become an American citizen. My immigrant story can be found on Metro Family Magazine.


Robert Hubbard:

I grew up in a loving, two­-parent home. My Dad was a pastor in the Nazarene denomination. His two gifts were incredible faith and helping others. He coupled those with a tremendous work ethic. He was a great example, and I was often told, by well­-meaning people, that I could never fill his boots. However, one day as I was pulling my boots on a big smile broke across my face as God helped me see that Dad and I didn't even wear the same size. In that moment, I realized that God has given all of us our own gifts that we are to use in following Him.

Pam Pollard:

I am happily married to my husband Glenn, a step-mom to 6 and Mimi to 12 grandchildren. Glenn and I met in Church soon after he had become a widower and have been happily married for 27 years. I am originally from Florida and played softball for the Univ of Florida, earning the honor of All-Conference pitcher in my sophomore year. After graduating with a degree in Forest Engineering I was sent to work in Idabel, OK. Yes, from Orlando to Idabel, but I fell in love with Oklahoma and have been here 33 years.

I decided on a career change and in 1988 graduated with a degree in Accounting from East Central University in Ada. I found my niche to work with business startups doing everything from accounting to computer networking. In the most recent years I have become a business consultant helping companies become more profitable by improving efficiency in their business structure and employee management.


2. What do you consider to be the top three challenges for the next state chair?

Pollard:
#1- Fundraising
Fundraising is CRITICAL to hire staff with the convention cycle being only 3 months away. I will raise the necessary funds to support the Party and support candidates in the general election. As OK County Chairman I raised over $100,000 and gave over $25,000 directly to candidates. As OK Federation of Republican Women President I exceeded my fundraising budget by almost $7,000. As State Vice-Chair I worked closely with Chairman Matt Pinnell and the donors who responded with generous support in 2010-2013. I am not afraid to ask for dollars!  

#2- WINNING ELECTIONS!!
Because of term limits instituted in 2004 we will have 30 open seats in 2016! We are behind in recruiting leaders to run for these seats, 7 of which are currently held by women. I will work hard to find candidates, be a resource for information and raise funds to provide support for our nominees. We must re-institute the Victory program with its unique financial structure and statewide organization which benefits all candidates from the federal level to the courthouse.

#3- Party Unity
I believe #3 to be just as important as #1 and 2 but for list purposes I am talking about this one last.

I believe the foundation of TRUST is transparency and respect. We must restore the unity of our party and accept that while we may be competitors at times, we are never each other’s enemies. I will respect differing opinions and recruit diversity to our party. I will provide full financial statements at all meetings and will at all times abide by the Rules of the OKGOP.

Hernandez:
There are many challenges that await our Party in the upcoming years. 

First, we must work on our branding and image. For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be defined as a Party that is “against” things. We must define what we support. We unashamedly support the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We support life from conception and want to find real solutions like adoption that are alternatives to death. We support the American Dream, that all our citizens should be free to explore their dreams and find opportunity. We support lowering tax rates so that Americans can keep more of their money. We have to present a strong, vibrant image of the party to voters, the media and our officials. 

Secondly, fundraising. The last year has been a difficult one for the Party’s finances. Some of that has been due to our image and as we fix that issue, we can restore the fundraising base. We need an aggressive fundraising plan, and I intend to work with a broad spectrum of fundraising opportunities to get us back on a solid foundation. 

Infrastructure is the third challenge. Over the last few months, the technological presence for mobilizing our group game has diminished. I have already begun rebuilding that technology. The “war room” has been restored, and the voter files are in the process of being updated across all platforms. The RNC has spent $20,000,0000 on data software; we need to harness that for all our candidates.

Hubbard:
1. Bringing everyone to the table
2. Re­establish a focus on our party platform
3. Have a state convention that doesn't turn into a waiting room


We'll continue with Questions 3-5 on the survey this evening (update: view part two here, part three here, and part four here).

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Coming Monday: Answers from the OKGOP Chair Candidates


Starting Monday and ending on Wednesday, I will be doing a 5-post series with answers from the survey I sent to the candidates for Oklahoma Republican Party chair. Members of the OKGOP State Committee will vote on October 11th for former chairman Randy Brogdon's replacement.

Here are the questions that Estela Hernandez, Robert Hubbard and Pam Pollard answered:

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you came from and how you got to be who you are today).
  • What do you consider to be the top three challenges for the next state chair?
  • How will you work with all factions in the party to bring about unity?
  • How do you plan to balance the party platform and the administrative duties of the office you are seeking?
  • What is your understanding of specific needs of the party during a Presidential election year?
  • How many presidential-year state conventions have you attended? 
  • Have you ever organized a Republican Party convention? If so, which conventions and in what capacity?
  • What are your specific plans to raise funds for the party and do you have any experience running a statewide organization? 
  • Republicans dominate in the legislature, and have total control of statewide elected positions. What is your plan to win offices at the county level? 
  • Do you plan to run for chair at the state convention in May?
  • The Oklahoma Republican Party currently has conventions in three out of four years. Could you explain why we don’t have a convention every year?
  • Please explain the national delegate selection process? Also, do you prefer voting on at-large delegates individually, or by a slate?
  • Financial reports under Chairmen Jones and Pinnell were transparent, detailed, easy to follow, and utilized the same layout/format in handouts. They also personally gave detailed verbal reports to the State Committee. Do you plan to 1) personally give financial reports at State Committee meetings, and 2) use a report format that is as detailed, transparent and easy to follow as Jones’ and Pinnell’s?
  • Closing statement.


Check back on Monday for the first glimpse at their answers, along with reasons for why I asked some of the questions!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Boehner to step down as Speaker, resign from Congress


U.S. House Speaker John Boehner surprised Capitol Hill this morning when he announced that he would be resigning both as Speaker and as Congressman, effective the end of October.

Here's the reaction from some of Oklahoma's congressional delegation:

Sen. Jim Inhofe:
"I was serving in the U.S. House when John Boehner was first elected, and I consider him a friend. We knew then that he would be a leader in our party. While he took positions that were not always popular, John led with conviction and was a true public servant. John will be remembered for his commitment in bringing about a new era for Republicans in the House. I wish him and his family my best."
Sen. James Lankford:
"I’ve always appreciated Speaker Boehner's sincere love for his family, his country and his party. It is admirable that he demonstrated a willingness to work on important issues, such as government transparency, energy, regulatory reform, defense, transportation and education. Leadership in Congress is a challenge for anyone, especially during a time when America grapples with so many issues. Any person who is willing to put in the long hours and endure all of the competing priorities deserves our gratitude and respect."

"Our nation, and this Congress, face very serious challenges, including massive federal debt, the deterioration of families, a stagnant economy and terrorism. Congressional Republicans need to select a new leader, set a clear path to govern, and stay focused on the needs of the American people."
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1):
"It is time to elect a Speaker who will resolve to no longer fund the government by Continuing Resolution. Congress must follow an appropriations process that ensures our constituents are represented. We must once again use the power of the purse as a constitutional check on the executive branch. I’m looking forward to supporting a candidate committed to these principles."
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4):
“It has been a great personal privilege to serve with Speaker John Boehner,” said Cole. “I’ve had the honor of knowing the Speaker since he was a young freshman Congressman, and I’ve watched his career with admiration and appreciation throughout his time of service. After the 2008 election, most assumed that Republicans would remain in the minority for decades to come. It was because of John Boehner’s determination and leadership that Republicans recaptured the majority in 2010 and retained it in 2012 even as President Obama was re-elected.

“For the first four years of his speakership, he was both the tip of the spear and goalie in dealing with the Obama Administration. Despite having to confront a Democratic president and Senate during most of his tenure, he achieved several truly historic conservative victories. Among those for which all Americans should thank him are the rapid decline of the deficit, making almost all of the Bush tax cuts permanent and securing meaningful entitlement reforms that strengthened Medicare and Medicaid. One wonders what he might have done if given the opportunity to work with a Republican president and Senate throughout his entire tenure.

“In what is often a thankless job, made even more difficult in divided government, the Speaker has served with dignity and effectiveness. I regard John Boehner as a great Speaker, a dedicated public servant, a man of great personal integrity and a cherished friend. He leaves a truly remarkable legacy. I wish him, his family and his loyal staff all the best.”
Rep. Steve Russell (OK-5):
"History will judge John Boehner kindly."
Here is Russell's updated statement:
“It was quite a shock to the entire Conference this morning and we were all stunned when Speaker Boehner announced his resignation. I have had the privilege to get to know and work with him on important policy in my time in Washington. I have the utmost respect for him and the job he has done, as we have seen over 350 measures passed in the House this year, and see the largest majority since Calvin Coolidge was President. My hope is we can move forward and unite as a Conference, as there are many important issues we still need to address. The last thing we need is to just change out the target on the shooting range.”

In fairness to Rep. Russell, his office says he will be issuing additional comments later today (updated above). Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Rep. Frank Lucas do not appear to have issued any statements yet.

Tom Cole's glowing (and lengthy) statement praising Boehner does not surprise me -- Cole is the member of Oklahoma's delegation most out of step with most Oklahoma Republican activists. John Boehner has been, in many ways, a disaster as Speaker. Time after time, he capitulated to Democratic demands -- it's no wonder why Harry Reid says he will miss Boehner as Speaker. When Republicans needed backbone, Boehner didn't come through.

Let's hope that House Republicans make a good choice for his successor.

Donald Trump's Flimsy Facade


Over the past few months, Donald Trump has soared to the top of the GOP pack, largely built on his image as a tough guy who is unafraid of political correctness, and is willing and able to dish out the hard truth. He's the schoolyard bully who's on your side. He pulls no punches and doesn't walk on eggshells.

Evidently, that's all just a facade. Lately, Trump has been behaving more like a thin-skinned, whiny crybaby of a toddler. He can dish it out, but he can't take it.

Trump has given us countless examples of this. There's his numerous spats with Fox News, for starters. The latest problem? Speaking of the most recent debate, a guest contributor said "Carly [Fiorina] [castrated Trump] with the precision of a surgeon, and he knows it". Trump's response? He's once again boycotting the organization because they've been "treating me very unfairly", and he called on the FCC to fine the pundit for his comments.

When he feels "treated unfairly" or offended, Trump goes on Twitter tirades, either spouting off about his latest enemies, throwing around insults (speaking of which, you really should give the "Donald Trump Insult Generator" a spin - it's taken from comments on Trump's Twitter feed!). When he's not using his own rhetorical flamethrower, he's retweeting supporter's praise of himself or their attacks on his attackers.

When the Club for Growth started running ads against him in Iowa, Trump sent them a "cease-and-desist" letter, and dropping such comment-gems like "I am not surprised the dishonest, irrelevant and totally failing Club for Growth has resorted to attacking the definitive front runner, especially after I refused to contribute to their pathetic group".

When he performs poorly in a debate, or flops in an interview, it's always the interviewer's fault or the "gotcha questions". Newsflash -- running for President isn't a cakewalk. Get used to it!

Matt Coulter at Race42016 chronicles some more examples of Trump's inability to handle criticism. Apparently, despite his tough-guy persona, he's nothing more than an insecure narcissist.

Let's just say that I'm not a fan. Would I vote for him over Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Joe Biden? Sure, but good grief... we better end up with a nominee who is actually conservative and would be a presidential President, not some tantrum-throwing statist masquerading as a conservative.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paul Blair exploring SD41 run, Bridenstine & Russell support


Exploratory Committee Forms to Advise Pastor Paul Blair on 
Potential Run for Oklahoma State Senate, District 41

September 24, 2015, Edmond, OK – A robust group of community leaders with diverse backgrounds have formed a committee to advise Pastor Paul Blair on a potential run in 2016 for the Oklahoma State Senate, District 41, on the Republican ticket.

Marc Nuttle, who serves on the board stated, “Next year is critical for voters to be well- informed in determining the direction of our state and nation. We face unprecedented economic, geopolitical, and policy challenges that must be navigated thoughtfully and wisely. I am pleased to serve with an outstanding committee, and to support Paul Blair in making a decision, that must be made, to continue Oklahoma on a sustainable path of sound fiscal and policy responsibility.”

Members of the Exploratory Committee include:

US Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-1)
US Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5)
OK Senator Nathan Dahm
OK Senator Josh Brecheen
OK Senator Joseph Silk
OK Representative Bobby Cleveland
OK Representative Dan Fisher
OK Representative Lewis Moore
Mr. Marc Nuttle
Mr. & Mrs. Jim & Joy Harlan
Mr. & Mrs. Larry Woods and Victoria Chappell-Woods
Mrs. Marianna Verga Lloyd
Pastor Blake Gideon
Pastor Kevin Clarkson
Mr. David Hornbeek
Mr. & Mrs. Ike & Peggy Burris
Mr. Stan Ward
Mr. Tom Hill

The district 41 state senate seat will be open due to term limits, which require the exit of current State Senator Clark Jolley.

Blair stated, “I have reached out to Clark Jolley to thank him for serving District 41 and wish him well on his return to the private sector in 2016. I am grateful to the strong team of advisors who have already stepped forward to surround me with prayer and advice as I consider this important service to the people of our district and state. We will consider this prayerfully and will make a final decision in the near future.”

Blair is a former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. He was born and raised in Edmond graduating from Edmond Memorial High School before receiving a football scholarship to attend Oklahoma State University, where he earned distinction as an award-winning offensive tackle.

Blair serves as Senior Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, and is Director of Reclaiming America for Christ. In 2008, he was named Pastor of the Year for the State of Oklahoma by the Bott Radio Network. In 2011, Blair was named National Pastor of the Year by Vision America at the Westin Galleria in Houston. In 2013, he was given the "James Caldwell" award by the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. Blair is also a founding partner of a small business headquartered in Edmond for the past 28 years. He and his wife Cindy have two sons, Joshua and Jacob. Both young men currently attend the University of Central Oklahoma

For more information and to receive updates on the exploratory committee’s activities, please visit www.PaulBlairforok.com.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Music Monday: Great Gate of Kiev

For this week's Music Monday, we've got Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's Great Gate of Kiev, from his larger work Pictures at an Exhibition.

It's an epic piece of orchestral music - one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Republican Scott Fetgatter announces for HD16

Okmulgee Businessman Announces Candidacy 
for State House District 16.

Citing a need to fight for smaller communities, Republican businessman and radio personality Scott Fetgatter announced his candidacy today for the state House.

"Through the years, job opportunities have dwindled in our state. Industry has moved away and poverty has increased. These challenges place pressure on families and on our schools."

"We need strong, conservative leadership in Oklahoma City to stem the tide. As a longtime small businessman and successful salesperson, I have spent years negotiating, marketing, managing programs and people, and building networks. These are the same skills I will use to root out new economic opportunities, improve our infrastructure, strengthen our schools and promote our rural towns."

A Republican, Fetgatter said "you can count on me to be a conservative champion in the state legislature."

"I will work every day to promote pro-growth policies, keep a watchful eye on our tax dollars, direct more money to our classrooms, protect the life of the unborn and defend our Second Amendment rights."

Fetgatter has been married to the former Kim Ballenger, a fourth generation Okmulgee native for 25 years. They have two grown children, Cody, a college student, and Meagan, who is pursuing a career in health care.

Contact the candidate at 918-759-0178, or visit his website and Facebook page.

Scott Walker drops out of Presidential race


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially suspended his presidential campaign this evening, ending a once-promising run for the White House that has fizzled out over the past few weeks.

Walker briefly led the GOP field in polling back in March, and was second to Jeb Bush until Donald Trump entered the race. Trump joining the race hurt Walker more than any other candidate.

Here's Walker's full statement:
As a kid, I was drawn to Ronald Reagan because he was a Republican and a conservative. But most of all, I admired him because of his eternal optimism in the American people.

That thought came into my head when we were all standing at the Reagan Library last Wednesday. President Reagan was good for America because he was an optimist.

Sadly, the debate taking place in the Republican party today is not focused on that optimistic view of America. Instead, it has drifted into personal attacks.

In the end, I believe that voters want to be for something and not against someone. Instead of talking about how bad things are, we want to hear about how we can make them better for everyone.

We need to get back to the basics of our party:

We are the party that believes that people create jobs – not the government – and the best way to grow the economy is to get the government out of the way and build it from the ground up.

We are the party that believes that the way to measure success in government is by how many people are no longer dependent on the government – because we ultimately believe in the dignity of work.

We are the party that believes that a strong military leads to peace through strength and that will protect our children and future generations – we believe that good will triumph over evil.

We are the party that believes in the American people – and not the federal government.

These ideas will help us win the election next fall and – more importantly – these ideas will help make our country great again.

To refocus the debate will require leadership. While I was sitting in church yesterday, the pastor’s words reminded me that the Bible is full of stories about people who were called to be leaders in unusual ways.

Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and – ultimately – to the future of our country.

This is a difficult decision as so many wonderful people stepped up to support our efforts. Tonette and I are so very thankful for the many outstanding volunteers and the excellent staff who helped us throughout the campaign. You have become like family to us.

And speaking of family, I want to personally thank my wife Tonette – who has been a rock – as well as our amazing sons Matt and Alex. I thank my parents, my brother David and his family – and all of our other family and friends for their love and support.

Most of all, I want to thank God for His abundant grace. Win or lose, it is more than enough for any of us.

Thank you.

I'm disappointed to see Walker go (I had been leaning his direction), but I definitely agree with his sentiment that the field needs to start clearing. There are too many candidates, and we need to start coalescing around someone that can beat both Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

We now have 15 Republicans running for President (links go to the candidate's official website): Jeb BushBen CarsonChris ChristieTed CruzCarly Fiorina, Jim GilmoreLindsey GrahamMike HuckabeeBobby Jindal, John KasichGeorge PatakiRand PaulMarco RubioRick Santorum, and Donald Trump.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trump 30.8%, Carson 22.5%, Fiorina 8.3% in Oklahoma poll


SoonerPoll released the results of their latest quarterly poll this evening, showing Donald Trump and Ben Carson with commanding leads over the rest of the GOP field. This is the first Oklahoma primary poll that I'm aware of.

Donald Trump - 30.8%
Ben Carson - 22.5%
Carly Fiorina - 8.3%
Ted Cruz - 6.5%
Jeb Bush - 6.2%
Mike Huckabee - 5.0%
Marco Rubio - 4.1%
John Kasich - 2.2%
Scott Walker - 1.6%
Chris Christie - 1.0%
Rand Paul - 0.9%
Rick Perry - 0.5%
Jindal/Gilmore/Graham/Pataki/Santorum- 0%
Undecided - 10.4%

The poll of 320 likely Republican voters in Oklahoma was conducted September 1-15, 2015 from a dual frame of 82 cellphone and 238 landline users. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.48 percentage points.
Interestingly, Rick Santorum (who won the 2012 primary here) didn't receive a single vote. Rick Perry suspended his campaign during the middle of this survey.

SoonerPoll didn't release crosstabs of the poll, but in their article mentioned that Trump's lead came from "somewhat conservative", "moderate" and "liberal" Republican primary voters (led by over 10% in each), while he was in a statistical tie with Carson among "very conservative" voters (28.8% to 27.2%).

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Trump launches Oklahoma team, announces State Fair visit

Donald Trump fans in Oklahoma have some big news - he will be speaking at the State Fair in Oklahoma City this coming week. The Oklahoman reports that The Donald will make an appearance at the fair on Friday at 5:30pm.

Trump has been getting big crowds recently, so expect another large turnout at the fair.



In other Oklahoma Trump news, State Senator Ralph Shortey announced that he is co-chairing the Trump campaign here, along with State Representative Mike Christian, Carol Hefner, Bob Dani, Larry Stein, and Ferlin Kearns.

That makes at least four campaigns in Oklahoma that are publicly represented by Republican state legislators (Bush, Cruz, Rubio and now Trump).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Coming Soon: State Chair Candidates Survey


Continuing what I've done for the last two elections for OKGOP Chair, I hope to post a new survey from the current candidates by this time next week.

Since Randy Brogdon resigned, we've had three individuals toss their hat in the ring to succeed him at the helm of the State GOP: Estela Hernandez (current Vice Chair), Robert Hubbard (3rd District Chair) and Pam Pollard (Past Vice Chair, current OFRW Chair). The vote will be decided by the members of the State Committee.

Keep an eye here for the answers from the candidates!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Music Monday: Nearer, My God, To Thee

From time to time, I've posted some of my favorite pieces of music. My musical taste is a little different from most - I prefer a more classical, orchestral or choral style generally. I once had a member of Congress complain about the music I've posted on my blog (he was half-kidding).

I figured it was time for another musical interlude, so here's The Piano Guys' rendition of the old hymn "Nearer, My God, To Thee".

Enjoy!

Voter Registration Map: 2010 to 2015 swing

Here's an update to my Voter Registration Maps series, detailing five years of registration changes in Oklahoma.

(click to view larger)

Since 2010, Oklahoma Democrats have lost 117,169 voters (-5.57%) and the majority, Oklahoma Republicans have gained 72,995 voters (3.76%) and the plurality, and independents have grown by 35,831 voters (1.81%).

The lowest swing for the OKGOP came in Adair County (3.98%), and the highest was in Tillman County (28.34%). Oklahoma and Tulsa counties had the second and third slowest swing to the GOP (4.19% and 4.67%).

Democrats had positive movement in zero counties.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cathy Costello Petitions Governor Fallin to Serve Out Her Husband's Term

This came out on the 8th, but I'm just now getting around to posting it. Count me on board with this idea.



OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Today Cathy Costello, the widow of slain Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, requested that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin appoint her to serve the remainder of her husband’s term.

“So many in our state have been grieving over the loss of my late husband Mark. I cannot thank you enough for the tremendous support you have shown to me and my family during this time” Costello said in a letter sent to Fallin on Tuesday. “As you know, Mark and I have been partners in everything since the day of our marriage. Throughout our 33 years in business, we have successfully launched 8 businesses in 6 different industries with service in over sixty countries worldwide, all while raising and educating our 5 children. We have always sought to use our resources to better the lives of those around us.”

Costello would join the wives of President’s, Congressmen, and US Senators who continued the work of their husbands after their death should she be appointed as Labor Commissioner.

“There is still work to be done” Costello continued. “According to Oklahoma Statute 51.12, ‘If any officer of the state, district, county, city, town or other governmental subdivision of this state shall die while in office, and shall leave a surviving spouse, the said surviving spouse shall be eligible (if otherwise qualified) to be appointed to and to hold said office during the term for which the said officer was elected…’. In the history of our nation, and as recently as 2010, the practice known as the Widow’s Mandate has allowed 48 women to continue the work they started with their husbands as their successors.”

As Labor Commissioner, Costello would continue working to improve workplace safety in Oklahoma. “As tragic as my experience was, it is not unique to me or my family,” She said today. “Currently 2 million people suffer from work related violence every year in the United States, many of which are tied to mental illness. This is only one issue that impacts the workplace. 1-in-5 Oklahoman’s suffer from some type of mental illness that affects their ability to provide for their loved ones. We currently rank 2nd in the nation for mental illness and it is one of the greatest challenges to our state economy.”

After learning that she was eligible to serve and receiving the encouragement of other elected officials, Costello decided to formally ask the Governor to allow her to continue her husband’s work, “After the countless conversations with you, and the support of many citizens, the support offered by state and federal officials, as well as my business partner and brother-in-law Richard Costello and business leaders around the state, I formally ask that you allow me to finish the work that Mark and I started together,” She said.

Mrs. Costello is looking forward to working with Governor Fallin and continuing to work toward a safer workplace so that Oklahoma can move toward a brighter tomorrow.

Cathy Costello was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 22, 1959. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1981 where she met Mark. The couple was married in January 1982. Mark was murdered at the hand of his mentally ill son in front of his wife. Mark died in Cathy's arms on Sunday, August 23, 2015. They would have been married for 34 years on January 8th, 2016.

Cathy Costello and her late husband Mark

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Republican Dewayne Pemberton announces for SD9


Retired Admin at Muskogee Schools Dewayne Pemberton
Announces for State Senate District 9

Muskogee, OK – Dewayne Pemberton has officially announced his candidacy for Oklahoma State Senate District 9. The seat, currently held by Earl Garrison, is term limited in 2016. Pemberton is a strict constitutionalist of one who believes in upholding family values, personal responsibility, and he will stand strong to protect our personal liberties. With nearly a 26 year leadership experience in public education from serving as an Athletic Director to High School Principal at both Hilldale & Muskogee Public Schools, Mr. Pemberton will be effective on day one at the Oklahoma State Capitol to be a strong conservative voice at the table for District 9.

Dewayne Pemberton and his wife Claire Pemberton of 36 years have three grown children who have all served in the US Army. Pemberton recently retired from his 36th year in public education – a lifetime commitment to education and of leading & inspiring thousands of students, faculty members, and the local communities.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Social Studies and Health/Physical Education from University of Central Arkansas in Conway Arkansas where he graduated Cum Laude. Pemberton has completed masters work at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and has a Master’s in Education Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He has a Principal and Superintendent Specialist certification from Oklahoma State University Tulsa. He spent the first 10 years in education as a social studies teacher, football, wrestling and track coach with Carlisle, Jay and Muskogee Public Schools. He was assistant head coach/defensive coordinator of the 1986 Muskogee High School State Football Championship team.

Pemberton states, “I believe in a limited government – one that encourages economic prosperity by allowing the private sector to freely work. I believe the free enterprise system is the single most effective system of economics in the history of the world. I also believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. We should fight to protect the life of the unborn except in rare cases of saving the life of the mother. Abortion must end. We should be fully aware of our states’ rights granted to us by the US Constitution. I will be the strong conservative voice of District 9 and will carry that voice of the district to the Oklahoma State Capitol and I would like to thank Senator Garrison for his years of service to our community.”

Dewayne Pemberton is a Republican, member of the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce, and is actively involved within the local GOP of Muskogee. The Primary election for Oklahoma Senate District 9 which covers Muskogee, Talequah, and surrounding areas will be held in June of 2016. For more information, please visit PembertonForSenate.com or call Dewayne directly at 918-687-0063.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Republican Al Stevens announces for HD13


Community Activist & Retired Businessman Al Stevens 
Announces for State Rep

Muskogee, OK – Al Stevens of Muskogee, OK has announced his candidacy for State Representative District 13, the seat that incumbent Jerry McPeak will be leaving next year due to term limits. Al and his wife of 43 years Sandy Stevens, a retired Spanish teacher of Muskogee Public Schools, have three grown children – Jason, Misty, & Jenny. Al’s official campaign kickoff has been set for Tuesday, October 13th and will begin at 5:30 pm held at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame located at 401 S 3rd St, Muskogee, OK 74401. Everyone is welcome.

Stevens received his bachelor’s in Business Administration in 1979 from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK. He recently retired from OG&E, where he worked for 40 years, in Management of Community Affairs for Muskogee and previously at Woodward (in the Western part of the state). While at Woodward, Stevens served as the President of the Alva Industrial Team where he worked closely in bringing Value Added Products, a frozen dough manufacturer, into the district which brought 120 new jobs to the area.

Al Stevens has had a lifetime commitment of service. Since the move to Muskogee, Al has served as the Chairman of the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce. He was also actively involved in the Chambers of Checotah, Ft. Gibson, Muldrow, & Warner. Al also helped form the Downtown Muskogee Main Street Program, bringing the first Main Street Program to the City of Muskogee. In fact, he received the “Friend of Main Street” Award for the State  of Oklahoma in 2009. Among many other committees and boards Al has extended his heart and passion into include interests relating to community leadership courses, tourism, and education.

“Al is a generous, servant, & dedicated man of integrity. He has done so much for our community and I’m proud to call him my husband,” Sandy Stevens commented. Al Stevens is a fiscally responsible and social conservative who believes in a limited government, traditional marriage between one man and one woman, and is 100% pro-life. Al states, “I believe the federal government continues to sneak its way into our everyday way of life through handouts to our state that often don’t need – I will be a strong voice for the people of District 13. They will be the voice I represent – not an encroaching federal government infringing upon our faith, freedom, & families. I will fight to protect the life of the unborn, our right to keep and bear arms, parental choice in education, and will bring common sense conservative solutions to the Oklahoma State Capitol. I would like to thank Jerry McPeak for his years of service to this community and district and I humbly ask for your prayers, support, & vote in this election.”

The Republican primary election for State Representative District 13 of Oklahoma will be held in June of 2016. For more information, please visit www.AlStevensforOklahoma.com.