Monday, October 31, 2016

Music Monday: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

In honor of Reformation Day today, this week's Music Monday is the great old hymn 'A Mighty Fortress Is Our God' by German reformer and theologian Martin Luther.

Enjoy!



499 years ago today, legend says that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany, igniting the already smoldering flames of Reformation and beginning a return to Biblical teaching in the form of the five solasSola Fide (faith alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone).

Enjoy two other vocal renditions of the great hymn:


This video is of ~3,00 pastors and church leaders at the 2016 Shepherds' Conference (hosted by John MacArthur's Grace Community Church) singing this powerful song.


Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

AFP-Oklahoma issues guide on SQ779


As you may have noticed, Americans For Prosperity - Oklahoma is the newest advertiser on MuskogeePolitico.com. They have issued a helpful guide on State Question 779 for voters researching the issue in advance of the upcoming election.

If you look at their analysis, you will find out that:
  • The "it's just a penny" sales tax increase is actually a 22% increase in our state sales tax burden
  • SQ779 could increase taxes on Oklahoma households by more than $420 a year.
  • If passed, Oklahoma would have the highest average combined sales tax rate in America.
  • Less than 60 percent of the tax revenue could be spent on teacher pay raises and retention.
For more information, visit this link or click on the banner above.

If you would like to advertise for your campaign, ballot issue, or business, send an email to JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

SQ777, SQ779 and other election issues are driving record-breaking traffic to MuskogeePolitico. My two latest posts on SQ777 are now the 2nd and 4th most read posts here and have received a combined 9,000 views in the past 4 days, with a large amount directed through social media. The last two weeks have been by far the heaviest traffic in this site's eight years of existence. This is a great time to advertise on Muskogee Politico and reach voters and readers across the state.

State Chamber rates judges on the ballot


 by Fred Morgan, President and CEO of the State Chamber

Are you going to vote on Nov. 8? Good.

Do you consider yourself an educated voter? Even better. You know who you’re going to vote for president, senator, congressman and probably even who you’re going to vote for in your state representative and Senate race. Excellent. You may have even made up your mind on the seven state questions that will be on the ballot.

One last question: Have you decided how you’re going to vote when it comes to the retention of any of the appellate judges on the ballot? Are you going to look at the ballot and just vote “no” for all of them, or maybe “yes” for all of them? Do you know how they have voted on decisions that affect you, your business and your family?

Unfortunately, most voters go into the voting booth with little or no knowledge of who these judges are or how they have voted on decisions important to Oklahomans.

Four years ago, the State Chamber of Oklahoma, in partnership with other chambers and trade organizations, created the Oklahoma Civil Justice Council to serve as an educational tool for the public to learn more about our courts and judges. To that end, the OCJC has published its 2016 evaluation of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Court of Civil Appeals. We published similar evaluations in 2012 and 2014. These evaluations, conducted by independent reviewers, analyze cases where the judges have disagreed, reviewing the exact same law and the exact same facts, and which have an effect on civil liability.

So, how do our appellate court judges do when it comes to restricting civil liability that increases the cost of your insurance and the prices you pay for everything? Remember, the higher the rating, the more inclined the judge is to follow the laws passed by the Legislature. The lower the score, the more inclined the judge is to make up their own laws expanding liability.

  • Supreme Court Justice James R. Winchester, 74 percent.
  • Supreme Court Justice Douglas L. Combs, 36 percent.
  • Court of Civil Appeals Judge Tom Thornbrugh, 39 percent.
  • Court of Civil Appeals Judge John F. Fischer, 37 percent.
  • Court of Civil Appeals Judge Larry Joplin, 82 percent.

When you vote to retain (or not to retain) appellate judges on Nov. 8, you might want to remember these numbers. Check out the full ratings at www.okciviljustice.com.

Michener's Musings: candidates, state questions, judges


“Charlie’s Picks,” now “Michener’s Musings,” General Election Nov. 8.  Over thirty years ago, friends of Charlie Meadows, founder of OCPAC, began asking him for his opinions on issues and candidates.  Eventually the number of inquiries became so great that he began sending a mass email before each election which he called “Charlie’s Picks.”  When Charlie retired as the President of OCPAC in March 2015, the duties of weekly commentary and election advice transferred to me, John Michener.  To avoid confusion over authorship, we have decided that future election opinions, picks, and endorsements of OCPAC will be published under the heading “Michener’s Musings.”

You have our permission to forward these picks as far as you like.  If you have received these picks by forward, please join our Facebook group to receive regular updates, or send us an email at michenerjs@gmail.com to be added to our email distribution list.  We generally send only one update per week, and we will not share your email address with anyone.  To become an official member, join OCPAC today.

The following advice represents the opinion of the current OCPAC President and a majority of OCPAC’s leadership Board.  Our recommendations will be organized into five major sections:  1) U.S. Races, 2) State Questions, 3) Judging Justices & Judges, 4) Oklahoma Senate Races, and 5) Oklahoma House of Representatives Races.  In each race we have endorsed a candidate, picked a candidate, or leave it at “your choice.”  Here is what those designations mean:

Endorsed.  Candidates who are endorsed by OCPAC have received our seal of approval.  You can rest assured that their values align with OCPAC values.  They have completed our survey and appeared in person before our PAC for a grueling interview.  Based on this vetting process, we believe they understand the proper role of limited government.  They believe in the superiority of free markets over state-guided economic development, even in areas such as education and health care.  They understand the duty of the state to defend its citizens against the oppression of the federal government.  They believe we should not sanction, institutionalize, or encourage evil and depraved behavior, even if the federal government has done so.

OCPAC endorsed candidates include:  Jim Bridenstine, Matt Jackson, Tom Gann, Molly McKay, Kevin McDugle, Kyle Hilbert, Joe Newhouse, Scott McEachin, Tess Teague, Joseph Silk, Nathan Dahm, Chuck Strohm, David Brumbaugh, Travis Dunlap, Steven McGowen, and Jason Murphey.

PICKED.  Some candidates we simply pick.  This typically means the candidate agrees with us on certain key issues of high importance which would make that candidate more preferable than the alternatives.  We will attempt to explain a little about each pick.

YOUR CHOICE.  This might mean we were unable to obtain enough information to make a pick.  Some candidates do not respond to our inquiries and their campaign materials hold no trustworthy substance.  Or this might mean we believe all of the choices are equally bad.  What if none of the candidates believes in education choice for parents?  What if they all support state-guided economic development?  What if they all want to continue allowing babies to be murdered?  In those cases, we sympathize with how hard it must be to make “your choice.”

SECTION 1 – U.S. RACES

U.S. Congress, House & Senate:  STRAIGHT REPUBLICAN – Most of our congressional delegation is a huge disappointment.  Unfortunately, once the primary was over, our good choices were taken away.  We certainly cannot afford to send any Demonrats to Washington.  The good news is we have Jim Bridenstine there (he is the best we have), and since James Lankford got away from Tom Cole and moved to the Senate, his Freedom Index Score has gone from 66% to 80%.

SECTION 2 – STATE QUESTIONS

SQ 776, “Full Force & Effect of Death Penalty.”  Vote YES.  This measure would affirm in the state constitution that the death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment.  It would affirm that the death penalty remains in force even when a particular method of execution is unavailable.

SQ 777, “Right to Harm.”  Vote NO.  This proposed amendment to our state constitution sounds good on the surface, but it appears to have been written by Washington lobbyists on behalf of multi-national corporate agricultural interests.  The measure is designed to bypass our state legislature’s authority, so that federal mandates and regulations can rule the day in farming.  Ultimately, if passed, this measure would make it harder for small farmers to fight federal overreach and harder to fight the lawyers of out-of- state big corporations.  Here is a thirteen-minute explanation of SQ 777, and here is our interview on the Pat Campbell Show.

SQ 779, “The Boren Tax.”  Vote NO.  This measure would create a new, huge, permanent funding source for education which would only exacerbate the problems inherent in an inefficient and corrupt monopoly, as we have explained in previous updates.  If enacted, the Boren tax would increase the state education sales tax rate by about 28%, making our state less competitive with other states.  According to the Tax Foundation, it would raise Oklahoma’s average statewide sales tax to the second-highest in the union.

SQ 780, “Smart Justice Reform Act.” Vote YES.  This measure would change some drug possession crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, and it would raise the property crime threshold to $1,000, so that if the crime involved less than $1,000 in value, it would be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.  These changes make common sense.  There is a tremendous difference between having a misdemeanor versus a felony conviction on one’s record.  If we want the penalty to match the crime, this is a reform in the right direction.  Those who hurt themselves and others by abusing drugs are not beyond recovery.  They may deserve some punishment and rehabilitation, but to treat them as felons is to unfairly limit many of their future options.  The best argument against the measure is that it is tied to SQ 781, which is not good.  If you are concerned with 781, you might want to vote no on 780 for the practical reason that that they would likely pass together.

SQ 781, “County Community Safety Investment Fund.”  Vote NO.   A man came home and said to his wife, “Look at this new power drill I bought for free.”  “Bought for free?” she said.  “Yes.  It was originally $40, but it was marked half off, so I bought it with the $20 I saved.”  SQ 781 is reminiscent of the free power drill.  The state would come home with a new slush fund.  Revenue for the fund would come from the cost savings of implementing SQ 780, as imagined by the “best estimate” of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.  Then the funds would be redistributed to counties for “community rehabilitative programs.”  Let’s not buy another dollar-sucking socialist scheme.  We can use existing public and private programs to help those with addiction problems.  Any cost savings ought to be returned to the people or reallocated within law enforcement budgets for improvement to county jails or other proper needs.

SQ 790, “Repeal the Blaine Amendment.”  Vote YES.  Last year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered a monument of the Ten Commandments be removed from the capitol grounds, citing a portion of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the government from using public property for the benefit of any religious institution.  The purpose of the monument was to remember the historical influence of the Ten Commandments, not to support a particular religious institution.  Furthermore, the monument was placed by private funds.  The court’s opinion was wrong.

If the court’s opinion is applied consistently, women and children on Sooner Care will not be able to receive services from a clinic or hospital affiliated with a religion, we will not be able to vote at church polling places, and we will not be able to hold school or conduct public business at churches after a tornado or fire destroys a public building.

Sen. Joseph Silk of Broken Bow and Sen. Rob Standridge of Norman authored SQ 790 so that the citizens might correct the injustice of the court.  If SQ 790 passes, the state must still comply with the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents government from endorsing a religion, but we will be able to replace our Ten Commandments monument and continue to benefit from the generosity of churches.

Some argue that if we repeal the Blaine Amendment, we open the capitol grounds to satanic idols.  This is simply false.  Satanism played no historic role in the formation of our civil laws.  One such idol was already proposed and was laughed out of town, all the way to Detroit.  Download this Ten Commandments Flyer, and give a copy to everybody at church.

SQ 792, “Modernizing Liquor Laws.”  Vote Yes.  In a perfect world, we would dismantle the ABLE Commission and allow any businessperson to sell all kinds of adult beverages without state interference.  This complex resolution would not accomplish that, and it contains many anti-free market aspects.  The Legislature would still be regulating the adult beverage industry to a high degree.  The fascist ABLE commission would remain intact.  Licensing and other restrictions on ownership and sales would continue under this proposed amendment (e.g., felons could not be licensees—another reason to vote yes on SQ 780).  However, if passed, SQ 792 would inch Oklahoma in the right direction.  We would see more competition and availability of products as a result, and we would be more competitive with other states.  We might even be allowed to buy local communion wine on Sundays!

SECTION 3 – JUDGING JUSTICES & JUDGES

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices:  Vote NO on Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs.  They are not just.  Overall, our State Supreme Court is progressive and activist.  It sometimes disregards our state constitution, and its opinions are inconsistent.  These two justices voted incorrectly on five out of six key votes, yielding a score of only 16.5%.

In the last few years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has banned the Ten Commandments (Prescott v. Okla. Capitol Preservation Committee, 2015 OK 54), protected child rapists (Burns v. Cline, 2016 OK 99), protected abortionists (Burns v. Cline, 2014 OK 90), and protected sex offenders (Hendricks v. Jones ex rel. State ex rel. Okla. Dept. of Corr., 2013 OK 71).  Download this Judging Justices Flyer and give a copy to everybody at church.

Charlie Meadows provides the following recommendations on appellate judges based on his off the record discussions with attorneys, prosecutors, and lower court judges.

Judge Clancy Smith (State Court of Criminal Appeals):  Vote NO – Sources tell us that this Brad Henry appointee is very smart, but ideologically progressive to her core and way too nit-picky with jury decisions.

Judge Robert Hudson (State Court of Criminal Appeals):  Vote YES – Hudson is fairly new on the court.  He was appointed Payne county District Attorney by Frank Keating, replacing a corrupt DA.  Eventually he became chief of staff for Scott Pruitt.  He was recently appointed by Gov. Fallin to the Criminal Court of Appeals.  Hudson appears to be a serious Christian, and everyone consulted gave him very high marks.

Judge Thomas Thornbrugh (State Court of Civil Appeals):  YOUR CHOICE - The Court of Civil Appeals is the most difficult to evaluate because they do not settle many high profile cases.  Thornbrugh was the only judge on the court with whom some sources were not fully satisfied.

Judge John Fischer (State Court of Civil Appeals): Vote YES.

Judge Larry Joplin (State Court of Civil Appeals): Vote YES.


Read the rest below the page break...

Friday, October 28, 2016

RSLC Releases TV Ad Supporting “Yes” on SQ790



RSLC Releases TV Ad Supporting “Yes” on 790

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) released a TV ad featuring Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb encouraging Oklahomans to vote “yes” on State Question 790. The multiple six-figure ad buy will run in multiple markets across Oklahoma through Election Day.

“I’m proud to call Oklahoma home – a state where we love our neighbors, respect our differences and work together to make our state the best it can be,” said Lt. Governor Lamb. “These fundamental values are precisely why I believe we most vote ‘yes’ on 790 and get rid of the Blaine Amendment once and for all. Our state should always be a place where religious freedom is encouraged, where prayer is welcome before the big game, where fundamental services are available at all hospitals, and where parents have a wider range of opportunities and choices when planning their children’s education. I am hopeful that this TV ad will continue giving voters the information that they need to move our state forward by voting  ‘yes’ on State Question 790 this Election Day.”

“Freedom is the most basic right we have as Americans," said RSLC President Matt Walter. "I encourage all Oklahomans to vote 'yes' on 790 to ensure that this right is respected in the Sooner State. Getting rid of the Blaine Amendment is vital to ensuring that people of faith can continue to provide critical public services - from healthcare to education - that will benefit the entire state. Our new ad sheds a light on what is truly at stake this November. Oklahomans should vote 'yes' on State Question 790."

“Through my work with the national Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, a caucus within the RSLC, I have found that this organization shares our conservative Oklahoma values,” Lamb added. “I am glad that I have been able to enlist their support for this critical issue that is about more than the freedom to acknowledge and display our religious heritage, but is really about protecting the ways our state works together to improve the lives of Oklahomans.”

View the TV ad here.

About the RSLC
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices.  Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates to the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state legislator, the judiciary and other down-ticket races.  The RSLC has more than 150,000 donors in all 50 states. During the 2013-2014 election cycle, the RSLC was active in all 50 states and picked up ten new state legislative chambers, leading to an all-time historic high of 69 chambers controlled by Republicans.  Following the 2015 elections, Republicans now hold 32 total Republican lieutenant governor seats, along with a Republican majority of secretaries of state, now at 28. The RSLC successfully expanded the Future Majority Project and Right Women, Right Now initiatives, spending more than $6 million in direct support of Republican candidates of diverse descent and women, leading to the election of 164 new candidates. Last cycle, the RSLC also launched the Judicial Fairness Initiative and the new top-level domain for the Republican Party, ‘.gop.’ To learn more about the RSLC, please visit www.rslc.gop or follow @RSLC on Twitter.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Tax Bill 779": Group airs ad against SQ779

Oklahoma Deserves Better, a new group formed to oppose SQ779, has a television ad out on the proposed sales tax hike:



According to filings with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, the chairman of the group is Enid Mayor Bill Shewey, a vocal opponent of SQ779. It appears that numerous Oklahoma mayors are part of the coalition, including outgoing Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

You can learn more about their efforts and arguments against SQ779 at OklahomaDeservesBetter.com.

Former OKGOP chair Tom Daxon endorses Gary Johnson for President



October 26, 2016, Salt Lake City, UT -- Tom Daxon, former Oklahoma State Auditor, Secretary of Finance and Revenue, and Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, has let it be known that he will be voting for Gov. Gary Johnson for President.

In a message to Governor Johnson, Daxon says, “Thank you for making the personal sacrifices inherent in running for President. I will be voting for you.

“I am a life-long Republican. Fifty years ago, I was President of the Oklahoma County Teen-Age Republicans and later Chairman of Oklahoma College Republicans and part of our delegation to the 1976 National Convention. I have held statewide elective office as a Republican and served as Republican State Chairman. Only a few times have I failed to vote for the Republican candidate. But, I am an American first!

“This is a very important election. Donald Trump announced his candidacy with a promise to restrict immigration from Mexico and he all but declared a trade war with the rest of the world. With our serious national debt, we need growth. We aren't going to get it with a bunch of new regulations and high tariffs. And - with government playing its proper role, America CAN compete with anyone in the world.”

Daxon served as Oklahoma State Auditor from 1979 to 1983, and as the state’s Secretary of Finance and Revenue from 1995 to 2003. He served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party from 2006 to 2008.

Pruitt to join Silk for business policy luncheon Monday


State Senator Joseph Silk Welcomes Oklahoma Attorney General to SE OK for a 
Community Tour and Pro-Growth Business Policy Luncheon

October 26, 2016 -- Attorney General Scott Pruitt will join State Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) for a community tour on Monday, October 31st, viewing business projects and expansion across State Senator Silk's district, and meeting with community partners and residents.

Senator Silk stated, "It is always a pleasure to welcome statewide officials to see first hand the extensive growth and business expansion occurring in our communities. I am pleased to show the progress we are making on repairing roads and bridges. Quality transportation routes are the lifeblood to facilitate manufacturing, goods and services flow to grow business commerce in our region. These improvements have been a large focus in my service on the Senate Transportation Committee, and we are seeing tangible results of that priority. I am looking forward to showing Attorney General Pruitt around and introducing him to the wonderful people who are the backbone of our local communities."

In addition to several stops at local businesses, the public and business community is invited to join Attorney General Pruitt and State Senator Silk a Pro-Growth Business Policy Luncheon at the Ceilito Lindo's Restaurant, located at 3104 NE Lincoln Road in Idabel, beginning at 11:30am.

Space is limited for the luncheon, please text or call 580.775.4349 timely to reserve your space.

After the luncheon, State Senator Silk will accompany Attorney General Pruitt to Hugo, for several more stops with local business proprietors and community residents.

OCPAC Voters' Guide on State Questions, Supreme Court

Continuing with more perspectives on the State Questions and judges on the ballot, here is what John Michener, president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has to say:



Answering Ballot Questions, A Voter Guide

SQ 776, “Full Force & Effect of Death Penalty.”  Vote YES.  This measure would affirm in the state constitution that the death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment.  It would affirm that the death penalty remains in force even when a particular method of execution is unavailable.

SQ 777, “Right to Harm.”  Vote NO.  This proposed amendment to our state constitution sounds good on the surface, but it appears to have been written by Washington lobbyists on behalf of multi-national corporate agricultural interests.  The measure is designed to bypass our state legislature’s authority, so that federal mandates and regulations can rule the day in farming.  Ultimately, if passed, this measure would make it harder for small farmers to fight federal overreach and harder to fight the lawyers of out-of- state big corporations.  Here is a thirteen-minute explanation of SQ 777, and here is our interview on the Pat Campbell Show.

SQ 779, “The Boren Tax.”  Vote NO.  This measure would create a new permanent state-wide sales tax.  About 70% would go to government school districts, about 20% to state universities, and almost 10% to the State Dept. of Education.

Space does not permit us to fully reveal the utter depravity of this proposal.  The government school system functions as an inefficient and corrupt monopoly, as we have explained in previous updates.  Creating a huge, permanent, new funding source will only exacerbate the problems inherent in the system.

Practically speaking, the new tax would be a tremendous burden on the citizens of the state.  If enacted, the Boren tax would increase the state education sales tax rate by about 28%!   Would you stand for your income tax rate or real estate tax rate increasing by 28%?  Is that reasonable?  The increase would make our state less competitive with other states.  According to the Tax Foundation, it would raise Oklahoma’s average statewide sales tax to the second-highest in the union.  This is no way to roll out the welcome mat for prospective families and businesses.

Furthermore, the only way to get rid of this onerous tax would be to amend the state constitution again.  Funding state departments should not be accomplished by four million people changing the constitution.  It is the proper responsibility of the Legislature in the budgeting process as they analyze needs and attempt to provide oversight of our many departments.

SQ 780, “Smart Justice Reform Act.” Vote YES.  This measure would change some drug possession crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, and it would raise the property crime threshold to $1,000, so that if the crime involved less than $1,000 in value, it would be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.  These changes make common sense.  There is a tremendous difference between having a misdemeanor versus a felony conviction on one’s record.  If we want the penalty to match the crime, this is a reform in the right direction.  Those who hurt themselves and others by abusing drugs are not beyond recovery.  They may deserve some punishment and rehabilitation, but to treat them as felons is to unfairly limit many of their future options.

SQ 781, “County Community Safety Investment Fund.”  Vote NO.   A man came home and said to his wife, “Look at this new power drill I bought for free.”  “Bought for free?” she said.  “Yes.  It was originally $40, but it was marked half off, so I bought it with the $20 I saved.”

SQ 781 is reminiscent of the free power drill.  The state would come home with a new slush fund.  Revenue for the fund would come from the cost savings of implementing SQ 780, as imagined by the “best estimate” of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.  Then the funds would be redistributed to counties for “community rehabilitative programs.”  Let’s not buy another dollar-sucking socialist scheme.  We can use existing public and private programs to help those with addiction problems.

SQ 790, “Repeal the Blaine Amendment.”  Vote YES.  Last year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered a monument of the Ten Commandments be removed from the capitol grounds, citing a portion of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the government from using public property for the benefit of any religious institution.  The purpose of the monument was to remember the historical influence of the Ten Commandments, not to support a particular religious institution.  Furthermore, the monument was placed by private funds.  The court’s opinion was wrong.  If the court’s opinion is applied consistently, women and children on Sooner Care will not be able to receive services from a clinic or hospital affiliated with a religion, we will not be able to vote at church polling places, and we will not be able to hold school or conduct public business at churches after a tornado or fire destroys a public building.

Sen. Joseph Silk of Broken Bow and Sen. Rob Standridge of Norman authored SQ 790 so that the citizens might correct the injustice of the court.  If SQ 790 passes, the state must still comply with the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents government from endorsing a religion, but we will be able to replace our Ten Commandments monument and continue to benefit from the generosity of churches.

Download this Ten Commandments Flyer, and give a copy to everybody at church.  Ask them to vote YES on SQ 790.

SQ 792, “Modernizing Liquor Laws.”  Vote Yes.  In a perfect world, we would dismantle the ABLE Commission and allow any businessperson to sell all kinds of adult beverages without state interference.  This complex resolution would not accomplish that, and it contains many anti-free market aspects.  The Legislature would still be regulating the adult beverage industry to a high degree.  The fascist ABLE commission would remain intact.  Licensing and other restrictions on ownership and sales would continue under this proposed amendment (e.g., felons could not be licensees—another reason to vote yes on SQ 780).  However, if passed, Oklahoma would inch in the right direction.  We would see more competition and availability of products as a result, and we would be more competitive with other states.  We might even be allowed to buy local communion wine on Sundays!  Vote YES.

Judging Justices

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs will be on the ballot.  Vote NO on both!  In the last few years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has:
  • Banned the Ten Commandments.  Prescott v. Okla. Capitol Preservation Committee, 2015 OK 54.  The U.S. Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments on its building.  Previous state Supreme Courts have upheld Christian symbols like a Cross on public ground.
  • Protected child rapists.  Burns v. Cline, 2016 OK 99.  The court struck down a law requiring tissue samples from minors getting abortions.  This law would have helped attorneys prosecute rapists.  Other state agencies have this authority, but the court targeted this pro-life law unjustly.
  • Denied women ultrasounds.  Nova Health Systems v. Pruitt.  292 P.3d 28, 2012.  Seeing an ultrasound makes a mom 80% less likely to choose abortion.  Babies die every day as a result of this opinion.
  • Protected abortionists.  Burns v. Cline, 2014 OK 90.  This decision overturned the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
  • Protected sex offenders.  Hendricks v. Jones ex rel. State ex rel. Okla. Dept of Corr., 2013 OK 71.  The court overturned a law that deterred sex offenders from moving to Oklahoma.
Download this Judging Judges Flyer and give a copy to everybody at church.  Ask them to vote NO on Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

North Carolina's top Libertarian candidates are Oklahoma exports

The Oklahoma Libertarian Party is experienced a mini-resurgence, obtaining ballot access for the first time since the 2000 election. In addition to the party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, 15 other Libertarians will be on the ballot for a variety of offices, ranging from U.S. Senate to the state legislature.

Those candidates won't be the only Oklahoma Libertarians on the November ballot, however. In an interesting coincidence, the top Libertarian candidates in North Carolina both have Oklahoma ties. My wife stumbled across this tidbit while researching candidates for friends and family in her homestate.

Lon Cecil


Lon Cecil is the Libertarian Party nominee for Governor of North Carolina. A 19-year resident of the Tarheel State, Cecil was born in Oklahoma, graduated from Oklahoma State University, and worked for a time in Ada with a small-market television station.

In recent polling, Cecil is drawing about 3%, which could have a major impact on the race, as incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory is locked in a virtual tie with Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper.



Sean Haugh

Sean Haugh is the NC Libertarian Party nominee for U.S. Senate. Here are some excerpts from his website:
I was born in Tucson in 1960 and still have strong Arizona roots. But I list my hometown as Tulsa because we moved there when I was 2 and stayed until I left high school.

I love living in Durham in part because it's a lot like living in Tulsa without having to live in Tulsa any more.

I don't align myself with any particular religion, but I am an Oklahoma Sooners football fan, which is pretty much the same thing.
Haugh has a very active YouTube channel, where he rambles in a bizarre-yet-halfway-entertaining manner. While Cecil came across as a respectable and semi-serious candidate in a recent televised debate, Haugh sounds and looks like a goofy nut.

Incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr has a slight lead over Democrat challenger Deborah Ross, but Haugh is receiving between 2% and 6% in recent polling.

Will North Carolina's Oklahoma Libertarians be more successful than Oklahoma's Oklahoma Libertarians? We'll know for sure come November 8th.

Voters' Guide: Fair & Williams on State Questions, Judges

We're now less than two weeks away from Election Day, and voters are beginning to look into the various State Questions and Judges that will be on the ballot. Here is a voters' guide from Steve Fair and Georgia Williams, two conservative activists from southwestern Oklahoma. Fair blogs at Fair and Biased, and served a term as National Committeeman for the Oklahoma Republican Party, while Williams currently serves as Vice-Chair for the Comanche County Republican Party.


This is Williams & Fair’s twentieth year of providing analysis of the State Questions, the Justices and Judges on the Oklahoma general election ballot.  Georgia Williams and Steve Fair hosted The Grapevine, a popular radio show for five years.  They are knowledgeable and thorough in their research.  They evaluate each proposal and person. They provide commentary on the state questions and a profile of the justices/judges.   They give their recommendations on how to vote on each SQ and judge.  While Steve and Georgia are both active in the Republican Party, their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Party.    To contact them, email okgop@aol.com or jorjaw@sbcglobal.net.

STATE QUESTIONS

State Question #776: This measure would add a Section 9A to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution.  It states that all death penalty statutes are in effect, that methods of execution can be changed, and that the death penalty is not cruel and usual punishment.

Steve: This state question came to be because of a shortage of the drugs that were approved for executions.  Oklahoma has used lethal drug injection as the vehicle to execute for several years.  In years past, the gas chamber was used as was the electric chair.    In our state’s early history, hanging and firing squads were used.  The AG and DOC need the flexibility to carry out the death penalty as pronounced by a jury by whatever method they believe is best.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #776.

Georgia: Some crimes are deserving of the death penalty.  The controversy over the use of ‘generic’ drugs to carry out an execution was a tempest in a teapot.  If a criminal has been convicted by a jury of a capital crime and exhausted their appeals, the method of execution should not be the issue.  They should meet their maker.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #776.


State Question #777: This measure would add Section 38 to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution. It creates the guaranteed right to engage in farming and ranching.

Steve: This proposal protects Oklahoma farmers and ranchers from unreasonable government interference and attacks by out of state special interests.  With radical groups like PETA and other ‘animal rights’ activists, food producers and processors are playing under a new set of rules.  GMO labeling, mandated reduction of sugar, fat and sodium in processed food have found their way into the marketplace and EVERY American should be aware that it costs them every time one of these radical groups is successful in getting a proposal through a state legislature.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #777.

Georgia: This amendment is supported by farmer-led organizations all across Oklahoma, because agriculture is the lifeblood of Oklahoma’s economy and a deeply held part of Oklahoma’s heritage. The Right to Farm will protect all farmers equally and ensure that you have access to great-tasting, healthy, affordable nutrition.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #777.


State Question #779: Would create a new Article (#13C) to the Oklahoma Constitution.  It would create a “limited purpose fund’ to improve public education.  It would levy a one cent sales and use tax to provide revenue for the education fund.  It would allocate funds for specific institutions and purposes related to the improvement of public education.

Steve: If #779 is passed it would make Oklahoma #1 in the nation in sales tax.  While teachers deserve a pay raise, so does every Oklahoman.  We can ill afford placing our retailers near a bordering state in an uncompetitive situation by raising the sales tax rate.  The real issue in education is the number of school districts and administrators.  Oklahoma does not get enough money to the classroom, but until we get serious about dealing with that issue, we are nibbling around the edges.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #779.

Georgia:  There are a number of problems with this proposal.  First, not all of the money will go to common or public education.  A significant amount will go to higher education and the career tech system.  When you couple that with the fact the proposal would make Oklahoma the highest sales tax state in the country, this proposal is not in the average Oklahoman’s best interest.  There is absolutely no evidence that more money is going to make our kids learn more.  We have been hearing that for years- ie horse racing, liquor by the drink, lottery, casino gambling.  It never works.  Other states have tried a dedicated sales tax for education- ie Mississippi- and it had hasn’t worked.  If this is passed, it will take the legislature out of the education funding process- at least with the monies this sales tax would generate.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #779.


State Questions #780/781:  This measure would amend Oklahoma state Statues #63,21 & 59.  It would reform the criminal sentences for certain property and drug offenses.  It would make drug possession a misdemeanor.  It would not affect manufacture or trafficking of drug statues- they would remain felonies.

Steve: Because Oklahoma has a high incarceration rate, some groups are intent on keeping what they call non-violent offenders out of prison.  They believe drug users are not violent and present no threat to the general public.  Most law enforcement in the state oppose this change and rightfully so.  While drug users are to be viewed differently than manufacturers or distributors, they still pose a violent threat to society.  This SQ is a move to ultimately decriminalize drug use.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #780 & 781.

Georgia:  The fact is these two state questions should have been handled by the state legislature and not be voted on by the people.  These are policy questions and that is what we pay the legislature to do- handle policy.  I have mixed emotions about these two SQs because we do spend a lot of money locking up people who are drug users, but in the end, it’s important we don’t become soft on crime.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #780 &781.


State Question #790: This measure would repeal section 5 of Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution that currently prohibits the public expenditure and property use for religious purposes.

Steve: This issue came up after the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled the public display of the Ten Commandments at the Capitol violated the State Constitution.  It would repeal the so-called Blaine amendment.  Already a satanic group has vowed to petition the state to place a statue of Satan on Capitol grounds if #790 is passed and they may be successful.  The fact is America was founded upon the principles of Mosaic law (ten commandments) and the Decalogue should have been allowed to be displayed because of solely on historical significance.   The Supreme Court got it wrong.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #790. 

Georgia: The Ten Commandments are the basis for America’s laws, but if this is passed, it will open up the door for every group who call themselves a religious group to have the right to display whatever they want on the Capitol grounds.  While I would love to see the Ten Commandments returned to the Capitol, I think it must be on the basis they were the basis for our system of laws, not because they are a religious symbol.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #790.


State Question #792: This measure would add a new Article 28A to the Oklahoma Constitution.  It would permit current liquor licensees to see ‘low point’ beer.  It would allow grocery stores and supercenters to obtain licenses to sell wine and strong beer.

Steve: Oklahoma has some of the strangest liquor laws in America.  Many mistakenly believe it is because of the religious conservatives in the state, but the fact is the liquor distributors have ‘managed’ how Oklahoma consumers could purchase liquor.  For me, this is simply a ‘free market’ issue.  These are legal products that under current law cost Oklahomans 20% more to purchase than consumers in other states.  There is little evidence that expansion of liquor into wider distribution results in more consumption.  I WILL VOTE YES ON #792.

Georgia: By making is easier to purchase liquor, more liquor will be consumed.  For me, this is a conviction.  I cannot vote to expand liquor distribution.  I realize the liquor industry tries to control the way Oklahomans purchase their products, but if it is widely available at the local grocery store, more will be consumed.  I WILL VOTE NO ON #792.


JUSTICES/JUDGES

Oklahoma utilizes a ‘retention’ ballot system for judicial offices.  The Sooner state has three courts of appeal; The Court of Civil Appeals, The Court of Criminal Appeals, and a State Supreme Court.  In November three(3) justices and five(5) judges will be on the retention ballot.  Since the state went to the retention ballot system, no justice or judge has been removed from the courts.  Judicial reform is much needed in the state.  Mandatory retirement age for judges, term limits, or facing the voters in an actual election have all been proposed by state lawmakers.  It remains to be seem if true reform will happen in Oklahoma.  It is extremely difficult to find any information on justices/judges.  We base our recommendations primarily on who appointed them.  If a liberal Governor appointed them, they are probably like-minded.  Here are the judges Oklahomans will see on the ballot in November and Steve and Georgia’s recommendations.

Justices of the Supreme Court

James E. Winchester: 6 year term
Appointed: January 2000 by Governor Frank Keating
After graduating from law school, Justice Winchester, 63, practiced law in Weatherford and Hinton before being named Associate District Judge for Caddo County in Jan. 1983. In Dec. 1983, at age 30, Justice Winchester became one of the youngest district judges in the state when he was appointed as District Judge for the Sixth Judicial District of Oklahoma. During his tenure as a district judge, he tried more than 200 jury trials, ranging from fraud to first-degree murder death-penalty cases.  He is married to former State Representative Susan Winchester, who also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the OKC bombing memorial museum.  VOTE YES FOR RETENTION.

Douglas L. Combs: 6 year term
Appointed: November 2010 by Governor Brad Henry
Combs, 65, is a member of the Muscogee Nation. He served as district judge in the twenty-third judicial district from 2003 through 2010(Shawnee), and served as special district judge from 1995 to 2003. Prior to taking the bench Combs was in private practice and served as an assistant state attorney general and as a deputy clerk for the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Justice Combs graduated from Shawnee High School in 1969. He attended St. Gregory’s Junior College, now St. Gregory’s University and the University of Oklahoma to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1973. He earned his juris doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of  Law in 1976. Combs is married to Janet Lea Combs and the couple has two sons, both lawyers. VOTE NO AGAINST RETENTION.


Judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals

C Clancy Smith: 6 year term
Appointed: September 2010 by Governor Brad Henry
Smith, 73, is a former Tulsa County District Judge.  Smith began her career on the bench in 1994 as a special judge in the Family Division in Tulsa County. She held that post until 1998, when she moved to the Criminal Division. In 2005, then-Gov. Brad Henry appointed her a Tulsa County district judge. In 2010, then Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice James E. Edmondson appointed Smith to the Court of Criminal Appeals after Henry recused himself from the selection.  Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1964 from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She taught high school English in Tulsa and Jacksonville, Florida, for 10 years before going to law school. She received her law degree in 1980 from the University of Tulsa and went into private practice. VOTE NO AGAINST RETENTION.

Robert L. Hudson: 4 year term
Appointed: March 2015 by Governor Mary Fallin
Hudson, 59, was appointed to the Court by Governor, Mary Fallin. He was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma and graduated from Guthrie High School in 1975. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1980 with a double major in Agricultural Economics and Accounting. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University Of Oklahoma School Of Law in 1983. After graduating from law school, he went into private practice.  He is a former District Attorney and a former Assistant Attorney General.  Hudson has been married for thirty-three years. His wife, Mary Hughes Hudson, of Bartlesville, is a school teacher. They have five adult children and numerous grandchildren. Judge Hudson also owns and operates a wheat and cow-calf operation in the Guthrie area. He is a Deacon in the First Southern Baptist Church of Guthrie. VOTE YES FOR RETENTION.  


Judges of the Court of Civil Appeals

Thomas Thornbrugh: 6 year term
Appointed: September 2011 by Governor Mary Fallin.
Thornbrugh, 64, was a Tulsa area district judge.  Before he was appointed to the bench by Governor Keating, Thornbrugh spent more than 20 years in a private law practice in Tulsa. He is a Vietnam veteran, where he earned a Bronze star.  He worked for Senator Dewey Bartlett before he went to University of Tulsa law school.  He is married to a college professor and he serves as an adjunct professor at TU.  They have five children and five grandchildren.  VOTE YES FOR RETENTION.  

John F. Fischer: 6 year term
Appointed: May 2006 by Governor Brad Henry
Fischer,68, has both Bachelor and Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. He graduated from OU school of Law in 1975.   He was an assistant AG for four years and in private practice from 1980-2006.  He is involved in various arts and community activities.  Fischer and his wife Pam have been married for 44 years and have two daughters.  VOTE NO AGAINST RETENTION.  

Larry Joplin: 6 year term
Appointed: November 1994 by Governor David Walters
Joplin, 69, received a bachelor's degree and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma.  He was a partner in his own law firm, Wheatley & Joplin, from 1978 to 1982, and a partner with Crowe & Dunlevy from 1982 to 1993. Joplin also served as a special prosecutor for the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office from 1976 to 1978, and as general counsel for the State Insurance Department from 1993 to 1994.  VOTE NO AGAINST RETENTION.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ag Perspective: For SQ777

A few weeks ago, I reached out to two individuals who work in the agriculture sector to get opposing views on State Question 777, the Oklahoma Right to Farm Amendment. Both grew up in farm/ranch families, and continue to work in farming and ranching today.

This morning, Kenny Bob Tapp presented his arguments against SQ777, and this afternoon we hear from Jessica Sheffield-Wilcox arguing in favor of SQ777. My thanks to both of them for participating in this discussion.


Vote Yes on SQ 777, for Oklahoma’s Right To Farm
A Farmer's Perspective
by Jessica Sheffield-Wilcox

November 8th, 2016, Oklahomans have the chance to secure their freedom of food choice. State Question 777 (SQ 777), the Right to Farm bill, will protect Oklahoma’s farm family’s way of life and will allow every Oklahoman access to safe, affordable, abundant food. Right to Farm is not a Democrat vs Republican issue, but it is a chance for all Oklahomans to unite for the right to choose whatever food fits their current and future need.

SQ 777 is not retroactive, and it will not change any existing federal or state laws. SQ 777 will not allow foreign corporations to buy up farmland. In fact, it is illegal for foreign corporations to own production agriculture land in Oklahoma. Right to Farm will not allow our rivers and lakes to be polluted. Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers are among the top in the nation in voluntary measures taken to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff. [*1]

Farmers and Ranchers are consumers. We shop at the same grocery stores, buying our fruit, vegetables, and other staples just like everyone else. As consumers, we want choices. State Question 777 gives us a choice, so myself, or someone on a fixed budget can enjoy great food for the normal 9-10% of our budget, or the next person in line can enjoy spending 30% or more of their expendable income on their food choices for boutique labels.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the same group in trouble for raising thousands of dollars for “animal rescue” after the Moore tornado a few years ago, then using less than 1% for helping animals in need here in Oklahoma [*2][*3], is the main supporter for the opposition of SQ 777. HSUS has retained former Attorney General and failed gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson as their hired gun. Pushing their liberal agenda, Edmondson and the Kirkpatrick Foundation seek to hamstring Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers and are lining their pockets with HSUS’s ill-gotten funds under the guise of benevolent environmental warriors and champions of the small farmer.

Many have asked why do we need SQ 777? We need SQ 777 now due to our society being further removed from the farm with every generation. Few understand what it takes to grow a crop or to raise animals for food consumption. Less than 2% of the population farm and ranch, making it easier for extremist organizations like HSUS, PETA, or the Sierra Club to get an urban electorate to vote based on emotions and Chipotle-esque scare tactics instead of sound science. Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers watched as New York, California, and Maine, passed new laws and regulations that increase the cost of production and ultimately increase the cost of food to the end user. SQ 777 would allow Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers to continue to operate using scientifically proven methods, allowing us to continue to set the world standard for food safety and responsible stewardship.

My family has farmed in Muskogee County for several generations. We grow sweet corn for fresh markets, along with soybeans, corn, cattle, wheat, and hay. After obtaining a degree in Plant and Soil Science at Oklahoma State University, I married and moved to Major County where my husband I and grow wheat, beans, canola, grain sorghum, and cattle alongside his parents. His family has been farming in Major County since the Land Run. No one cares more for the land and their animals than a Farmer or Rancher. We understand that healthy, happy animals perform better, and that our water and soil is our legacy for future generations.

Join me in voting to keep the decision making in the hands of those who care the most. Farmers and Ranchers know too well the ramifications of burdensome, emotionally evocative regulations. Stand up for all Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers by voting Yes on State Question 777, for Oklahoma’s Right To Farm.

Respectfully,
Jessica Sheffield-Wilcox
Fairview, OK/Fort Gibson, OK

Ag Perspective: Against SQ777

A few weeks ago, I reached out to two individuals who work in the agriculture sector to get opposing views on State Question 777, the Oklahoma Right to Farm Amendment. Both grew up in farm/ranch families, and continue to work in farming and ranching today.

This morning, Kenny Bob Tapp presents his arguments against SQ777, and this afternoon we will hear from Jessica Sheffield-Wilcox arguing in favor of SQ777. My thanks to both of them for participating in this discussion.


SQ777: Right To Farm Or Harm?
A Rancher’s Perspective
by Kenny Bob Tapp

Rights such as the right to your person, property, and own industry are Inalienable, granted to you by your Loving Creator, which means they cannot be tampered with, providing no one else is harmed by them.

I believe Oklahoma State Question 777 is being supported by mostly well intentioned people.  At first it sounded great to this Oklahoma Rancher, until I actually took the time to read the language. Not only was it too vaguely written, but I also started to see the red flags.

The first red flag was the "compelling state interest" language. Farm Bureau representatives have told me it would have to be decided in the courts, and the thought of 777 eventually winding up before the same State Supreme Court that opinionated against the last two Life initiative petitions should send chills up your spine. These two proposed amendments would have likely ended abortion in Oklahoma. This same Court also opined that the 10 Commandment’s monument be removed.  It’s also interesting that Farm Bureau President, Tom Buchanan, told a group in Norman back in September regarding the “Compelling State Interest” language, “I wish it wasn’t in there.” [*1] The major proponents  of  777 have taken one out of  Nancy Pelosi’s play book: "We'll have to pass it to see what's in it."

Also, it would hamper if not prevent the Oklahoma Farmer and Rancher from taking legal recourse against a major ag corporation if their property, water, crops, or livestock are harmed by the corporation's farming practice. To add fuel to this fire, OUR water was made a "Compelling State Interest"  with the passage of HB 2446 this last legislative session as a bone thrown  to the leftist groups in an attempt to get them on board with 777. [*2]

Concerns with this provision:  “Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify any provision of common law or statutes relating to trespass, eminent domain, dominance of mineral interests, easements, rights of way or any other property rights. Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify or affect any statute or ordinance enacted by the Legislature or any political subdivision prior to December 31, 2014.”  Many conservatives and those of us in agriculture see that our liberal State Supreme Court would very likely codify with a court opinion the detrimental eminent domain laws and laws prior to 2014 that attack our rights, such as prohibiting individuals from taking their eggs outside of their farm to sell without a license (state permission).

SQ777 does not protect our inalienable rights already given to us by our Creator to make a living and handle our property as we see fit, as long as we do not interfere with another’s right.  This proposed constitutional amendment simply removes the artificial controlling authority of those Inalienable Rights from the state legislature, whom we can easily replace with other candidates, to a tyrannical supreme court that is almost impossible to remove.

There are those who claim that 777 would prohibit unconstitutional intrusion into our farms and ranches here in Oklahoma by federal agencies such as the EPA, USDA, etc.  This is simply not the case, looking at the language and as also admitted by my State Representative and a Farm Bureau Rep at a town hall meeting I attended.

Many are supporting 777 out of blind fear simply because infamous groups such as HSUS oppose it. Our concerns should be with a group that has had a very detrimental effect to Life and Liberty in Oklahoma, The Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. If you look at the authors and sponsors of 777, the majority of them are State Chamber backed candidates.

For almost 10 years of my citizen grassroots involvement in promoting 2nd Amendment legislation, abolish abortion legislation, free market efforts, and opposing insurance exchange efforts (Obamacare) in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Chamber and their controlled legislators have been at the forefront of stopping or opposing all these efforts and more.

My point is, while we haven't had any negative effects by the infamous HSUS in Oklahoma who oppose 777, Life and our freedoms have taken a huge hit from the infamous State Chamber, who apparently is the huge reason we have 777 on the ballot in Oklahoma.

Our Inalienable "Right To Farm” is already protected in the Oklahoma Bill of Rights:  Section II-2: Inherent rights.   “All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry.” [*3]

Rights, such as the rights to our persons, property, and own  industry, are solely gifts from our  Loving Creator, not men.  I urge my fellow farmers/ranchers and conservatives to hold on to those rights and refuse to grant them to the state via a rogue Oklahoma Supreme Court by voting No on SQ 777 (Right To Harm).

Kenny Bob Tapp and his wife, Rachel, live in Cimarron County, where he works on his family's ranch.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Music Monday: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'

This week's Music Monday is 'Mars, the Bringer of War' from English composer Gustav Holst's seven-movement suite The Planets.

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Conservative Performance Index - OK Senate

Following up on my Republican District Rating system, this post compares each legislator's conservative score to their district rating, to add up their Conservative Performance Index.

The conservative rating ('CR' in the spreadsheet) I used is an average of the American Conservative Union scores for Oklahoma legislators and the Oklahoma Constitution's Conservative Index. Using two sources broadens the perspective and scoring system.

Positive CPI scores indicate that the member's conservative voting outperforms their district. Negative scores show that the member is more liberal than the district.

In my last post, we looked at the CPI for State House members. Now, let's look at the CPI for State Senate members.


SD5 Sen. Joseph Silk has far and away the best CPI score at +45.4. The next four are all Republicans - SD6's Josh Brecheen (+32.7), SD33's Nathan Dahm (+31.9), SD4's Mark Allen (+31.6), and SD14's Frank Simpson (+31.4).

12 Republicans have CPI scores of +20 or better. Only two Democrats have positive scores: Anastasia Pittman (SD48, +7.2) and J.J. Dossett (SD34, +0.7). The only Republicans with negative scores are Ron Sharp (SD17, -1.6) and Bryce Marlatt (SD27, -1.6).

The average Republican CPI score is +15.0, and the average Democrat CPI score is -8.0.

13 senators are leaving office due to term limits, not seeking reelection, or losing their primary election. The average CPI for those leaving office is +2.0 (+7.1 for Republicans and -14.8 for Democrats). For the members who are running for reelection or elected without opposition, the average CPI is +13.9 (+17.7 for Republicans and -4.6 for Democrats).

Conservative Performance Index - OK House

Following up on my Republican District Rating system, this post compares each legislator's conservative score to their district rating, to add up their Conservative Performance Index.

The conservative rating ('CR' in the spreadsheet) I used is an average of the American Conservative Union scores for Oklahoma legislators and the Oklahoma Constitution's Conservative Index. Using two sources broadens the perspective and scoring system.

Positive CPI scores indicate that the member's conservative voting outperforms their district. Negative scores show that the member is more liberal than the district.

In this post, we'll look at the CPI for State House members.



In what might surprise some, the top performer is Democrat State Rep. Regina Goodwin. She represents HD73, in the heart of north Tulsa. Her district has the lowest Republican rating in the state at 10.0%. Her conservative rating is 53, giving her a CPI of +43.0. She is the only Democrat in the top 34 House scores.

The second highest CPI score is Rep. George Faught of HD14 at +38.1. Term-limited Rep. Sally Kern (HD84) is third with +36.1, and term-limited Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (HD54) is fourth with +34.4. Freshman Rep. Scooter Park (HD65) is fifth with a CPI of +33.3. Incoming House Speaker Charles McCall is sixth at +33.1.

The lowest Republicans are Rep. Casey Murdock (HD61) with -15.6, term-limited Rep. Doug Cox (HD5) with -5.5, Rep. Leslie Osborn (HD47) with -3.8, term-limited Speaker Jeff Hickman (HD58) with -3.0, and term-limited Rep. Marian Cooksey (HD39) with -2.7.

Six Republican and one Democrat have CPI scores above +30. 18 Republicans have a score between +20 and +30. The average Republican score is +14.8, and the average Democrat score is -4.4.

61 Republicans have positive CPI scores, while 9 Republicans have negative CPI scores. 12 Democrats rate in positive territory, while 19 are negative (including six below -20).

33 House members are leaving office due to term limits, not seeking reelection, or losing their primary election. The average CPI for those leaving office is +6.2 (+14.0 for Republicans and -6.4 for Democrats). For the members who are running for reelection or elected without opposition, the average CPI is +9.8 (+15.1 for Republicans and -3.2 for Democrats).


In my next post, we'll look at the Conservative Performance Index for the State Senate.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Republican Ratings for all State House and Senate Districts

I've developed a rating system to determine how Republican each state house and state senate district is. The formula is comprised of the three elements: Mitt Romney's percentage in the 2012 presidential election (federal-level), Mary Fallin's performance in the 2014 gubernatorial election (state-level), and Republican voter registration (local-level).

Have a look at each full list. I included which members are leaving office (not seeking reelection, defeated in primaries, or term limited), as well as which districts have general election races.

On Monday (Lord willing) I'll post what I'm calling the Conservative Performance Index, where we'll examine each legislator's conservative score (an average of two different conservative rating systems) and compare it to their district's Republican rating.

Up first, State House:


At 70.6%, the most Republican district is HD61, which is comprised of the Panhandle and the far northwestern part of the state. The next three most Republican districts (HD67 - 69.7%, HD80 - 69.6%, HD69 - 69.1%) are all in south Tulsa and Broken Arrow, and #5 goes to HD41 at 68.7% (a gerrymandered district running from Enid to the edge of OKC).

The five least Republican districts are HD73 in  north Tulsa (10.0%), HD97 (17.0%) and HD99 (22.9%) in Oklahoma City, HD72 (29.3%) in north Tulsa, and 88 (31.5%) in Oklahoma City.

The average rating for all House seats is 51.9%. For Republican-held seats, it's 57.1%, and for Democrat-held seats the average is 40.4%.

The five most Republican seats held by Democrats are Wagoner County's HD12 at 54.9% (an open seat), HD8 (northeast) and HD85 (David Dank's old seat, the Democrats surprise special election win) at 53.9%, HD6 (northeast corner), and HD7 (far northeast corner).

The six least Republican seats held by Republicans are HD62 (41.8%) and HD64 (42.2%) in Lawton, Muskogee's HD14 and southeast Oklahoma's HD22 (43.4%), and Pontotoc County's HD25 and Sequoyah County's HD2 (45.4%).


Now, let's look at the State Senate:


The most Republican district is again in far northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle - SD27 at 69.1%. Next are SD25 (67.3%) in south Tulsa, SD22 (66.2%) in northwest OKC, SD41 (65.0%) in the Edmond area, and SD33 (64.1%) in Broken Arrow.

The five least Republican districts are SD11 in  north Tulsa (17.7%), SD48 (18.3%) and SD46 (32.1%) in Oklahoma City, SD9 (38.2%) in Muskogee and Cherokee counties, and SD16 (40.1%) in Cleveland County.

The average rating for all Senate seats is 52.1%. For Republican-held seats, it's 55.3%, and for Democrat-held seats it's 38.3%.

The three most Republican seats held by Democrats are SD34 (the Brogdon/Brinkley seat, also a special election stunner) at 59.3%, SD1 (47.6%), and SD13 (46.6%).

The five least Republican seats held by Republicans are all in 'Little Dixie' -SD5 (41.1%), SD7 (41.3%), SD8 (41.4%), SD6 (44.3%), and SD4 (44.4%). I believe all five senators are the first Republicans ever elected in their seat.


If you'd like to see maps to show where all the different districts are, go here for State House maps and here for State Senate maps.

Tom Coburn supports SQ777, 'Right to Farm'

Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn stars in a new ad from the Yes on 777 campaign, supporting the 'Oklahoma Right to Farm' state question:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

MVP: Lt. Gov. Lamb finishes 105th fundraiser for legislative candidates

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb with SD1 GOP nominee Micheal Bergstrom and supporters

With an event today for Micheal Bergstrom, GOP nominee in Senate District 1, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb has now done 105 fundraisers for Republican legislative candidates since taking office.

In the last three weeks, Lamb has also done events for State Rep. Tommy Hardin (HD49), Scott McEachin (HD67), Tammy West (HD84), Dave Rader (SD39), State Rep. Elise Hall (HD100), State Sen. Joseph Silk (SD5), and Dell Kerbs (HD26).

The most traveled of Oklahoma's statewide elected officials, Lamb is also in the midst of his 7th 77-county tour (actual events in each county, not simply driving through).

Lamb has likely helped Oklahoma Republican candidates raise hundreds of thousands of dollars (if each fundraiser averaged just $2,000 - a fairly low amount - the total would be over $200,000). I applaud his dedication in helping Republican candidates across the entire state. I doubt any other Oklahoma Republican elected official has done put forth as much effort as this.

While some might rake in cash for their own committees, and donate a mere pittance to candidates, Lamb has stepped up to the plate to legitimately help candidates win elections.

When it comes to elected officials helping elect more Republicans, I'd say that Lamb wins the MVP award.

OK2A gives State Sen. Joseph Silk top award


Oklahoma Second Amendment Association To Present Top Legislative Award to State Senator Joseph Silk at Heritage House Reception in Antlers

(10/19/2016) – Don Spencer, President of Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, will present the Minuteman Legislator of the Year Award to State Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) at an event to be held in Silk's honor. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the event, which will be at 4pm on Monday, October 24th at Heritage House, located at 610 SW D St in Antlers.

Don Spencer stated, "Senator Joseph Silk is a standout in the State Senate, tirelessly and stalwartly defending our 2nd Amendment rights and private property rights. Senator Silk was the Senate author for HJR1009 to update the state constitution to read to "The right to keep and bear arms …shall not be infringed.” This was OK2A’s premiere bill for the 2015 and 2016 session. He was senate author of multiple pieces of legislation to protect rights, from HB2936 which protects landowners from unjust condemnation to HB2637, the Oklahoma Hunting Freedom Act. State Senator Silk is a leader who has demonstrated strongly his commitment to upholding constitutional freedoms."

The award is given to the legislator who "aggressively defends the God-given right of the individual to self-preservation and who advances significant legislation to restore the Second Amendment right of the individual to keep and bear arms." In 2016, that award goes to State Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow).

State Senator Joseph Silk expressed his strong appreciation for recognition of his work in expanding gun rights. "The Minuteman Award is the capstone of the awards given in protection of our constitutional freedoms of gun and private property rights. With the uncertainties of the national election ahead of us, it is critically important that our state keep in place and add lawmakers who truly understand the absolute need to stand on our state level for state's rights to defend our 2nd Amendment and every freedom the US Constitution affords us."

State Senator Silk is endorsed by multiple groups, due to his strong leadership and accomplishments already in his first two years in office. The NRA, Gun Owners of America and Oklahoma Second Amendment Association have all endorsed Silk for re-election, and Silk earned a rare “A+” top rating from the NRA for his outstanding leadership on gun rights legislation. Silk is also endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business for his work on creating policies that are friendly to job growth -policies which have resulted in a decrease in unemployment numbers in counties in Southeast Oklahoma. For his conservative, constitutional stands, former Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn and Oklahoma Conservative Pac also endorse Silk’s election.

For more information on Senator Silk, please visit his Facebook page /SenatorJosephSilk. For more information on OK2A, please visit ok2a.org or on Facebook at Oklahoma Second Amendment Association.

Solid red Utah going for... Evan McMullin?


Utah has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1968. In the last four elections, the GOP nominee received 72.62% (2012), 62.24% (2008), 71.5% (2004), and 66.8% (2000). In 2012 and 2004, no state had a higher percentage for the Republican candidate. In 2008 and 2000, Utah was third on the list of reddest states.

Thanks to a homegrown conservative Independent candidate, that may be about to change.

A native of Utah and a graduate of BYU, Evan McMullin spent 10 years in the CIA (2001-2011, including overseas service in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. In 2013, McMullin joined the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs as a senior advisor and in 2015 became the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, resigning shortly before he announced his presidential campaign on August 8th of this year.

Positioning himself as a principled conservative, McMullin is primarily appealing to conservatives and younger voters. His running mate is Mindy Finn, a tech expert who has worked on numerous Republican campaigns and served as a staffer for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). McMullin is 40, and Finn is 35, making the ticket perhaps the youngest in history.

Here are the polls taken in Utah since McMullin jumped in the presidential race:



August 19th: Trump 39%, Clinton 24%, Johnson 12%, McMullin 9%.
September 19th: Trump 34%, Clinton 25%, Johnson 13%, McMullin 12%.
October 11th: Trump 26%, Clinton 26%, McMullin 22%, Johnson 14%.
October 12th: Trump 34%, Clinton 28%, McMullin 20%, Johnson 9%.
October 14th: Trump 37%, Clinton 20%, McMullin 20%, Johnson 7%.
October 16th: Trump 30%, McMullin 29%, Clinton 28%, Johnson 5%.
October 19th: McMullin 31%, Trump 27%, Clinton 24%, Johnson 5%.

No third-party or Independent candidate has won a state since 1968. Evan McMullin might just change that.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gun Owners of America endorses Steven McGowen in HD1


Steven McGowen, Candidate for State Representative, Earns Gun Owners of America Endorsement And NRA 'AQ' Rating
 
(Idabel, OK, 10/19/2016) -- Steven McGowen, candidate for Oklahoma’s House of Representatives, has earned the endorsement of Gun Owners of America, a national gun rights group committed to defeating restrictive gun legislation and politicians who are working to disarm the population. Gun Owners of America endorses the pro-gun candidate in a race who agrees that the 2nd Amendment truly is a right that ‘shall not be infringed’ – exactly as the Constitution intends. In addition, McGowen was awarded the 'AQ' pro-gun rights rating from the NRA.

Steven McGowen is pleased to be chosen to receive the Gun Owners of America endorsement, outperforming the incumbent Democrat legislator, Johnny Tadlock.

McGowen notes, “I’m not just a gun advocate on paper; I understand the inherent right in our U.S. Constitution that the right to Keep and Bear Arms should not be restricted. When I served in the military, I fought to uphold our Constitution. You can depend on me to continue that fight as your Representative in the State Legislature, to make sure that that right, and every right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, is upheld and protected.”

Steven McGowen, son of Earl and Sue McGowen, was raised in McCurtain County, where his great, great grandfather’s family settled as sharecroppers just after the Civil War. McGowen is a veteran of both the U.S. Army and then service in the National Guard, a former law enforcement officer, and currently a healthcare professional at the local McCurtain County hospital in Idabel. McGowen runs a cow/calf ranch in Garvin with his father.

To learn more about Steven McGowen and his candidacy for State Representative, visit www.StevenMcGowen.com.

Inhofe endorses State Sen. Larry Boggs for re-election


SEN. JIM INHOFE ENDORSES STATE SENATOR LARRY BOGGS
Cites Valuable Partnership Inhofe and Boggs have on 
issues pertaining to state and the nation

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) hosted an endorsement luncheon at Pete's Place in Krebs last Monday. A key reason State Sen. Larry Boggs (R-Wilburton) has earned Senator Inhofe's endorsement is because of the valuable partnership Inhofe and Boggs have on issues pertaining to the state and the nation. Boggs serves on both the veterans and transportation committees in the State Senate, while Inhofe is chairman on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

"As a member of Oklahoma's Senate Transportation committee, Larry Boggs was been instrumental in providing input on what was needed locally in his district, which helped to secure much-needed funding to improve U.S. 69," said US Senator Inhofe.  "Larry Boggs has prioritized the urgent need to upgrade the highway, working collaboratively with city officials and ODOT to help keep the project on track.”

U.S. 69 is slated to get a new bridge, new highway surface, grading and drainage work. The project will bring more than $13 million to the area.  The improvement will stretch from Peaceable Road to Wade Watts Boulevard and is expected to take a little more than a year to be completed.

“This major highway upgrade is vital to helping keep our area economically competitive and attractive for new businesses and residents. I am glad to help make it happen," Sen. Boggs said. "Working behind the scenes in politics to help put pieces in place for the right overall decisions to be made might not be glamorous but it gets the job done."
 
"Larry Boggs and I are cut from the same conservative cloth,” Inhofe said. “I urge voters to send Larry back to the State Capitol because he has proven that he will faithfully represent the district's rural interests while promoting the core values important to the people of Southeast Oklahoma."
   
Larry Boggs is a lifelong resident of Southeastern Oklahoma, successful business owner and rancher.
On Monday, October 24, Lt. Governor Lamb will host an endorsement luncheon in Larry Boggs' honor at Pete's Place, 120 SW 8th Street in Krebs at 12 noon. To RSVP, please email info@boggsforsenate.com.