Friday, October 20, 2017

Hern Continues Fundraising Momentum in CD1 Special Election

Kevin Hern Continues Fundraising Momentum in CD1 Special Election

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

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

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

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

Conservative Leaders Rally to Support Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor

Conservative Leaders Rally to Support Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OCPA: The Honesty Gap

The Honesty Gap
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

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

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

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

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

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

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

It appears Oklahoma will be more honest about student performance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cruz schools Bernie on Robin Hood and taxes

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

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

Watch the exchange here:

Richardson wants AG opinion on Indian Gaming Compact negotiations


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cornett to kick off gubernatorial campaign Wednesday

Mick Cornett to Hold Two Events, Kick Off Campaign

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

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

Tulsa Event: 

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Look

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

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

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

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

Music Monday: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass

This week's Music Monday is the When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass, written and performed by the bluegrass group Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.


See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at

October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

OCPA: To beat Texas, emulate their pro-growth policies

Another Red River rivalry
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

Each year in October, Oklahoma’s eyes turn south of the Red River to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for the annual football rivalry between OU and Texas. Texas has won 61 of those games, OU has now won 46, and five were ties. Unfortunately, thanks to the tax, regulatory, and policy advantages Texas holds, we’re nowhere near that record when it comes to economic, versus athletic, competition with our southern neighbors.

We’ve heard the sad story for years now. The gross domestic product of Texas is an astonishing $1.6 trillion. Ours is barely more than a tenth of that. Forbes says Texas has the number one business climate in America, which may explain why there are 109 of the 1,000 largest companies based there.

Since 2000, the population of Texas has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the nation. Between 2010 and 2013, 1.3 million people moved there. By 2012, Texas boasted eight of the 15 fastest growing cities in the land, and for a period after the 2008 recession, Texas was creating a majority of all the new jobs in America.

Ask yourself how many people you know who grew up and may have been educated in Oklahoma who now live in Texas. If you’re typical, you’ll run out of fingers and toes in a hurry. The Texas economic growth record is strong and sustained, and even in our best years, we’ve never come close to matching it.

Of course we know why, and it has nothing to do with agile linebackers or nimble quarterbacks. The Texas advantage is simple: restrained taxation (including no state income or capital gains taxes), sensible regulatory policies, and prudent spending.

Generally, Texas policymakers control spending in tight times. This year, Oklahoma state government will spend $4,577 per capita. Texas spends less than $4,000 per capita, and they still manage to provide core services. IRS data report that from 1992 to 2015, Oklahoma lost a net $1.48 billion in adjusted growth income to Texas.

So what is Oklahoma doing right now? Some policymakers are forcing a special legislative session to raise taxes after three regular sessions that boosted taxes and fees by approximately $500 million annually and steadfastly refused to control spending. We also tax productivity and investment; Texas doesn’t and gets a lot more of it.

Despite the Sooner win over the Longhorns, the state of Oklahoma gets beat every day of every year by the Texas economy. The win hardly offsets the losses of this and every year to the powerhouse Texas economy driven by sensible, pro-growth policies that we must emulate.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (

Friday, October 13, 2017

Glen Mulready kicks off Insurance Commissioner campaign

Glen Mulready Launches Campaign for Insurance Commissioner
Announces Campaign Funds of More than $300,000

TULSA, OK – More than a hundred supporters from across the state joined Glen Mulready last night to officially launch his campaign for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner.

“I am humbled and energized by the number of people who attended the kick-off and who have supported my campaign,” said Glen Mulready, “I am grateful for every donation I have received. The campaign is growing and I look forward to continuing to travel the state to share my vision with voters about how we improve access to insurance, make our state more business friendly, and protect consumers.”

Mulready announced his statewide campaign’s first fundraising report numbers at the event. His upcoming report will show more than $302,000 in total funds and contributions. This includes $185,750 raised from more than 240 individual donors and PACs, as well as just over $1,000 in in-kind contributions. In addition, Mulready’s total includes $115,281 left over from his 2016 legislative campaign committee. As Mulready filed paperwork in July, this is the first fundraising quarter for this campaign.

“I am so happy to support Glen Mulready. I have known Glen, his wife Sally, and the boys for years. Not only is Glen an insurance professional, but he and his family are just good people,” stated event attendee Ken Wamble.

Mulready, who has more than 34 years of experience in the insurance industry, has also led numerous efforts to reform the state’s insurance laws in his capacity as a state legislator. A Republican, Mulready was first elected as to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2010. Former chairman of the Insurance Committee, Mulready currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader.

Vaughn Graham, President of Rich & Cartmill, is the chair of Friends of Glen Mulready, 2018 and Gip Gibson, President of Commerce Bank, is the Treasurer.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Session on hold: State Capitol closed for one week for electrical upgrade

As part of the ongoing restoration work at the State Capitol, the building's aging electrical infrastructure will be replaced, necessitating the complete closure of the Capitol building for an entire week, starting tomorrow evening.

This had been scheduled for quite some time, and will mean that the Legislature will be unable to meet for the ongoing Special Session until power is restored and the building is reopened on Monday, October 23rd.

State Capitol Building to be Temporarily Closed for  Electrical Upgrade

OKLAHOMA CITY – The State Capitol building, which will be without power, will be closed to everyone but workers from Manhattan Construction for one week starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, per direction of the Oklahoma Fire Marshal. The temporary closure is necessary to ensure the safety of construction workers, tenants and visitors while the Capitol’s outdated electrical infrastructure is being replaced. The building will be reopened to tenants and the public on Monday, Oct. 23.

“When you’re talking about this sort of voltage, there’s virtually no way to work it safely when you’re talking about the terminations. That’s why you have to completely shut down the power to do the work,” said Andrea Gossard in a video detailing the electrical power project. Gossard is the project manager for Manhattan Construction, the company handling the interior restoration work.

The upgrade will allow the old and new systems to run parallel during restoration. As restoration progresses, electrical service will be switched from the old to the new, thus limiting the need for future power outages.

“As in all aspects of the Capitol Restoration project, safety is our No. 1 priority,” Capitol Restoration Project Manager Trait Thompson said. “This work is necessary to make the transition from the Capitol’s outdated electrical system to a modern system. This is one more positive step in the restoration of the people’s building.”

Thompson says the Office of Management and Enterprise Services established a special project team for the outage and assigned key staff to partner with the agencies in relocating them to other state office buildings during the time the Capitol is without power.

Since the announcement of the outage was made in April, OMES’ entire project team has met in person twice with representatives from every Capitol tenant, as well as numerous times over the phone and by email to coordinate logistics for moving phones, printers, computers, specialized equipment and other necessary items to their temporary locations. Additionally, OMES worked out a plan with each tenant for mail delivery during the outage. For those tenants with IT servers in the building, there was a special meeting to review shutdown and power up procedures and timelines.

Signs announcing the closure will be posted at each Capitol building entrance. On Oct. 13, prior to powering down the building, OMES and the Department of Public Safety will physically inspect every area of the building to ensure everyone has vacated. Once the all-clear is given, OG&E will commence action to bring the power down.

Visit for more information on the Capitol Restoration project, including documents related to the electrical work on the blog "VIDEO: Electrical Shutdown Necessitates Capitol Closure in October."

Yen excludes Midwife group from Interim Study on Licensure of Midwives

Following up on a story I ran early in the 2017 legislative session, here's the latest on State Sen. Ervin Yen's efforts to regulate midwifery in Oklahoma. Yen (R-OKC) had filed two measures that would dramatically restrict midwifery practice in Oklahoma -- one failed in committee, while he held the other over for further discussion at an interim study.

Since January, a coalition of the Midwives Society of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Midwives Alliance, and NACPM Oklahoma chapter has been working with Sen. Yen on his proposals, giving input from their perspective and attempting to come to a reasonable solution.

Sen. Yen held his interim study yesterday, and despite comments to me in January expressing his willingness to work with the Oklahoma midwives, he excluded their group from participating in the interim study.

That's right. Sen. Yen cut the largest association of out-of-hospital midwives in Oklahoma out of a legislative study on licensing midwives.

Here's what the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives had to say:
Today, October 11th 2017, Oklahoma Senator Ervin Yen conducted an interim study entitled “Licensure of Midwives” intended to explore licensure of out-of-hospital midwives in Oklahoma. This study was held at our request after he submitted a bill last session that would have inadvertently criminalized our profession.

Even though we initially reached out to him, and have consistently stayed in touch with him through our representatives, he intentionally excluded us from participating in this study. Instead of choosing to hear from the foremost expert on out-of-hospital midwifery regulation in the US, who we brought in at our own expense to testify, he invited a physician, a hospital CNM, and a legislative analyst to present testimony.

We are shocked and disappointed that, despite our efforts and willingness to cooperate, our voice was intentionally silenced. We are frustrated that many of the questions asked could have been more accurately addressed if we hadn’t been excluded. It is inexplicable that professionals from the singular industry that is being threatened with regulation were censored. 
From what I have been able to ascertain, Yen had given the midwife group the impression that they would be allowed to participate, before he abruptly pulled the rug out from under them in the last week or so. There's no good reason for Yen exclude the largest midwife group from being heard at his interim study.

Perhaps Senator Yen wanted his interim study to be an echo chamber, rather than a productive exchange of ideas and investigation of solutions. Indeed, he seems dead-set on destroying a productive set of entrepreneurial health-care workers that have benefited thousands of Oklahoma mothers and families over the years.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stitt matches donations to reach $1.6M, claims record quarter


TULSA, OK – Today, conservative Tulsa businessman, Kevin Stitt announced his campaign for governor amassed more than $1.6 million in his first three months as a candidate. The amount is a record for first-time candidate and is the all-time Oklahoma record for one fundraising quarter.

“I’m humbled so many Oklahomans are joining our campaign to turn our state around,” Stitt said. “Our state faces some big challenges that can’t be solved by the career politicians who got us into this mess. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Oklahoma.”

In the third quarter of 2017, the Stitt campaign raised $811,147 from more than 560 individuals. More than 79 percent of the donations came from Oklahomans.

In addition, Kevin contributed $800,000 to the campaign.

“I never ask anyone to do anything I’m not willing to do myself, I will be matching contributions to my campaign dollar for dollar,” Stitt said. “Oklahoma has given my family tremendous opportunities, but I’m worried about the next generation. I’m running for governor because I know our state can do better.”

Kevin, a pro-life conservative, is the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (GMG). GMG is one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage companies and employs more than 1,100 people providing mortgage services in 40 states.

Stitt grew up in Norman. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 19 years and have six children. They attend Woodlake Church in Tulsa.

For more information go to

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Paul Cason Announces Candidacy for HD83

Paul Cason Announces Candidacy for House 83

Paul Cason announced today that he will be a legislative candidate for the Republican
nomination in House District 83.

“Oklahoma is facing tough times, and it is crucial that we have principled conservative leaders in office to guide our government,” Cason said. “As an attorney who works with businesses every day, I have helped Oklahomans overcome tough legal issues. As a lawmaker, I will use that same expertise to guide policy decisions.”

District incumbent Randy McDaniel, a Republican, is leaving office due to term limits. “It is time to stop talking about the major issues confronting Oklahoma and start working toward achieving some tangible results,” Cason said.

Cason has long been active in Republican politics, having served as a staff assistant to U.S. Sen. James Inhofe and as a field director in Alaska for the Republican National Committee during the 2014 election cycle. Cason interned in 2013 with then-Congressman James Lankford.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University where he studied History and Political Science. While at Purdue, Cason was involved in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and held several leadership roles. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Cason is currently a partner with the Rosell Law Group, focusing on business and estate issues.

“To grow Oklahoma’s economy and create jobs, we need to elect legislators who understand how rules and regulations impact the private sector,” Cason said. “My mission as State Representative will be to focus Oklahoma government on its core duties and otherwise streamline and eliminate regulation whenever possible.”

Cason, 32, serves on the Infant Crisis Services Young Professionals Board. He attends All Souls Episcopal Church.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Music Monday: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb

This week's Music Monday is the I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb, by songwriter Ray Boltz, and is performed in this video by the Fountainview Academy high school choir and orchestra.


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

Oklahoma Libertarian Party moves to Closed Primary


On Saturday September 7th, during a special meeting of the Executive Committee, the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma voted to allow only registered Libertarians to select the party's candidates. All Libertarians currently registered as Independent should re-register in order to vote in the party primaries.

As of today, there are three gubernatorial candidates competing in the Libertarian primary to be held on June 26, 2018 with a runoff election on August 28, 2018. Indications predict primaries necessary for other races as well. All registered voters will be able to vote for the winning Libertarian candidates during the general election, on November 6, 2018.

Over the past several months, party members have been weighing the merits of both the open primary and closed primary options. Through the sponsorship of panel discussions and education events, the party has used participation in the decision making process as a positive way of engaging the community and energizing membership.

Immediately after the vote, party leaders expressed a renewed commitment to advancing party objectives and continuing to take advantage of the tremendous positive momentum currently being experienced.

“Decisions like this and others are welcome indications of growth for us. Going forward we will concentrate on the recruitment of candidates and making sure Oklahomans know we’re here. These are exciting times. There is another choice when it comes to the political direction of Oklahoma’s future,” said Libertarian Party Chair, Tina Kelly

In addition to the three gubernatorial candidates running as Libertarians, Rex Lawhorn, Joe Maldonado and Chris Powell, there are eight candidates running in down ticket races. Included in that number is Traci Baker, a Libertarian and the youngest candidate to run for a non-partisan Norman City Council seat. The party is excited by this initial interest and expects many more candidates to declare before the arrival of the 2018 filing dates.

The party urges anyone interested in learning more or running for an office to contact them via their website

          *          *          *          *          *

Blogger's note: the OKLP had an 'open' primary last year, allowing registered Independents to vote as well as registered Libertarians. They were the only party to have a statewide primary, as two Libertarians filed to run against incumbent U.S. Senator James Lankford (R). They did so in a  recruitment/growth bid for the newly-recognized party, with one candidate (Robert Murphy) endorsing the other (Dax Ewbank) as they felt Ewbank, a 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidate, would have a better shot due to having been on a statewide ballot before.

However, Murphy ended handily defeating Ewbank, putting the "wrong" candidate in as nominee, in large part because more Independents voted in the OKLP primary than Libertarians. This seems to have prompted the OKLP's decision to close their primary.

Chris Powell, the sole Libertarian candidate for county office in 2016, argued earlier this year against closing the OKLP primary in a post here.

Holt tops $350k in OKC mayoral race fundraising

Holt for OKC Mayor Campaign Logs Best Fundraising Quarter Yet, Tops $350,000

October 9, 2017 -- The campaign to elect David Holt the next Mayor of Oklahoma City announced that as of September 30th it has raised $358,546. In the third quarter of 2017, the campaign raised $150,953. Just four months remain till Election Day. 

The donations have come from a broad base of support, including 502 total donors from 58 different zip codes in the Oklahoma City metro.

Continuing the growing momentum of Holt’s campaign, the third quarter fundraising total of $150,953 represented the largest quarter yet for the campaign.   

“We are deeply grateful for the support we have received,” said Holt. “We still have a ways to go in putting together the resources we will need to deliver our optimistic message to the people of Oklahoma City, but we are inspired by the many donors so far who have committed to continuing the Oklahoma City renaissance."

The election to decide Oklahoma City’s next Mayor will be held February 13, 2018.   For more information about the campaign to elect David Holt the next Mayor of Oklahoma City, visit

Kevin Stitt launches gubernatorial campaign


TULSA, OK – Conservative business leader Kevin Stitt officially entered the 2018 race for governor today with a promise to bring an outsider’s perspective and new energy to state government. Stitt promises to tackle Oklahoma’s problems head on.

Stitt, first-time candidate and pro-life advocate, is the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (GMG).

“Over the last few years, I’ve watched our state struggle. A billion dollar budget deficit, many schools going to four-day weeks, and a state government that just doesn’t seem to work as well as it should. I’m not a politician, but I’m running for governor because I care deeply about our state and I want my children and your children to have a bright future here in Oklahoma.”

Stitt founded GMG in 2000 in Tulsa. GMG is one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage companies and employs more than 1,100 people providing mortgage services in 40 states. Since 2012, GMG has been recognized 17 times for its success, growth and corporate culture. GMG is expected to originate more than $6 billion in mortgage loans this year, while its servicing portfolio will eclipse $14 billion. Approximately 100,000 customers are expected to receive mortgage services from GMG in 2017.

“I want an Oklahoma our citizens can be proud of. I want to see people flying the state flag again,” Stitt said. “I want our kids and grandkids to have a future right here at home.”

Stitt said his campaign would embrace a bold agenda focused on creating economic growth, ensuring schools have the resources they need to ensure every student receives a quality education and fixing a broken state government that hinders job creation and doesn’t work.

“As I travel the country visiting our Gateway offices, I see firsthand the momentum other states are getting. They are attracting and retaining good-paying jobs, they have a great infrastructure and have a modernizing state government,” Stitt said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I do have confidence in my fellow Oklahomans. I know we have the capacity to come together and solve our problems, no matter how great they seem.”

Stitt grew up in Norman. He received an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University. After moving to Tulsa, Stitt worked in the financial services sector before ultimately starting GMG. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 19 years and have six children. They attend Woodlake Church in Tulsa.

“Over the next year, I will be traveling the state constantly, talking to and learning from Oklahomans, because I know we have people in this state with the knowledge and the skills necessary to turn Oklahoma around."

Friday, October 06, 2017

Kevin Stitt plans gubernatorial kickoff on Monday

Tulsa Businessman Kevin Stitt Announces Candidacy for Governor of the State of Oklahoma

On Monday, October 9th Tulsa businessman, Kevin Stitt, will officially announce his candidacy for Governor of the State of Oklahoma. Stitt is a Tulsa resident and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (GMG). The first-time candidate started GMG in 2000, has grown the company to around 1,100 employees and is licensed to do mortgages in 40 states. Under Stitt’s leadership, GMG created five unique pillars for success and he would like to do the same for the state.

Kevin Stitt, CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group

Announcement details:

9:00 a.m. CDT, Monday, October 9, 2017
Gateway Mortgage Group
244 South Gateway Place
Jenks, OK 74037
West side of building
(Gateway is located on the southeast corner of Highway 75 and Main)

11:30 a.m. CDT, Monday, October 9, 2017
Gateway Mortgage Group
1931 W 33rd Street
Edmond, OK 73013

2:00 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 9, 2017
Gateway Mortgage Group
1016 SW C Avenue
Lawton, OK 73501

Lamb Campaign Reaches 77 County Fundraising Goal

Lamb Campaign Reaches 77 County Fundraising Goal

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 6, 2017 – Oklahomans for Lamb announced today that individuals from all 77 Oklahoma counties have donated to the 2018 gubernatorial campaign of Todd Lamb, demonstrating the widespread appeal and network of his support. The campaign just concluded its third quarter fundraising period September 30th, following a second quarter in which Lamb raised the most ever in any reporting period by a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

“Money alone does not define a campaign, however I am extremely honored by the trust and generosity Oklahomans have extended to me, and I sincerely thank each and every one of them,” Lamb said. “Grassroots support is extremely important, and that is why I am running a 77-county campaign. While other campaigns may focus only on the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas, I know it will take all corners of the state working together to put Oklahoma on the proper course it needs. Our collective future among urban and rural citizens is intertwined, and as I continue to visit with Oklahomans regarding my plan to ‘Renew Oklahoma’, I am convinced my conservative message is the right one for Oklahoma.”

“From a political perspective, it is very important to reach across Oklahoma,” said Keith Beall, Oklahomans for Lamb campaign manager. “If you examine the 71 counties outside of the two metropolitan areas, they account for 47% of Republican primary voters and 50% of general election voters. We are the only gubernatorial campaign to have statewide depth, and having a network throughout Oklahoma provides us with a solid foundation for the next 13 months.”

Oklahomans interested in learning more about the Lamb campaign may visit,
call the campaign headquarters at 405.252.4289, email the campaign at, or follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Inhofe "pleased" with Pinnell's candidacy

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe has some words of praise for Lieutenant Governor candidate Matt Pinnell:

"I was pleased to hear that Matt Pinnell was running for Lieutenant Governor. He got his start in politics interning for me in our Tulsa office. He has experience representing Oklahoma at the state and national level and is a proven conservative leader." - Senator Jim Inhofe

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Pledge-Breaker Mullin slams Senators for breaking pledges

2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin posted a video Saturday morning in which he slammed several Republican senators for breaking pledges.

He's specifically referring to Senators Collins, McCain, Murkowski, and Paul for failing to support the Graham-Cassidy healthcare plan that was the last proposal put forward by the Republican-led Senate to [sorta] repeal and [sorta] replace ObamaCare.

I agree with his outrage over Republicans failing to keep their promises, particularly on ObamaCare. However, the irony here is simply too much to ignore.

Allow me to remind Congressman Mullin to look in the mirror, where he will see a man who repeatedly pledged to the voters of the 2nd District that he would only seek three terms in the House, yet has brazenly decided to break that pledge.

Yes, I'm upset at Republicans like Mullin who fail to keep their promises. As I said in a recent post, it's another example of the death of honor in the GOP. For him to sanctimoniously criticize others for breaking promises while his very campaign is a broken promise is hypocrisy of the first-degree.

Here's Mullin's video:

Unsurprisingly, I am blocked from commenting on any of Mullin's posts, or even from liking his page.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Coburn, Keating, and Parman Write Letter to Lawmakers

From OCPA: "Earlier today, former United States Senator Tom Coburn, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and former Oklahoma Secretary of State Larry Parman sent a letter to Oklahoma lawmakers. In it, the three conservative leaders urged lawmakers to finally right-size government, pointing out that Oklahoma is hurting because Oklahomans are hurting."

Here is the letter:

Dear Oklahoma Policymakers,

Ronald Reagan once wisely warned: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” About taxes and spending, he said, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” These words of wisdom apply directly to fiscal policies being debated in Oklahoma today.

Take, for example, the last several legislative sessions. Numerous lobbyists for special interests and numerous government executives have worked to focus the discussion on how to take more money from Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens, from working Oklahoma families, and from small businesses and job creators.

Each session, the discussion has focused on cries for more revenue, money to be taken from Oklahomans by their government.

The reality, though, is that Oklahomans are hurting—due in large part to the significant price declines in oil and to the failures of the Obama administration’s economic policies and regulations. The Oklahoma Tax Commission reports that from 2014 to 2015 Oklahomans lost more than $13 billion in taxable income. Further, from FY-2015 to FY-2016, Oklahomans cut their purchases subject to state sales and use tax by $4.1 billion just to survive. From September 2015 to September 2016, fully 21,800 oil and gas and manufacturing jobs were cut.

Given what Oklahomans are facing, now more than ever is the time for policymakers to steel themselves and get about the tough work of reforming Oklahoma’s government. This means focusing funding on critical core functions while working to implement efficiencies. It’s time to craft a state budget that respects Oklahoma families’ budgets.

Now more than ever, policymakers must deliver on their campaign promises to right-size government and adjust it to the current tax burden borne by Oklahomans.

During stern times like these, it is unwise to fall for the trap that is state-level “tax-reform”—when this really means raising taxes on Oklahomans and permanently cementing unreformed state spending so that government can avoid the hard choices Oklahomans have to make every day. Policymakers should especially resist increasing tax burdens on Oklahomans while a lack of transparency in agency spending still exists.

Policymakers should work tirelessly until all expenditures of every state agency are reviewed by our elected legislators. No state agency should hire lobbyists or staff with state funds in order to lobby for even more taxpayer money. Sound and fiscally conservative policy must always consider reforms and prioritizing spending. The people of Oklahoma have spoken clearly in favor of this approach. Most state office holders have earned their offices by voicing support of these principles.

Some claim that recent special-election results show that policymakers aren’t taxing their constituents enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. Voters will reward those who keep their promises, who work tirelessly to rein in the bureaucracy and special interests—and who carry out their duties and personal lives with moral integrity. When policymakers break promises, avoid reining in the bureaucracy, and have moral failings, none should be surprised when they themselves and those who claim to wear their political colors suffer electoral defeat.

During this special session, those who claim the principles and label of Ronald Reagan must act on their promises. Those principles reject all tax increases and efforts to generate more revenue during times like these. State reports and certified revenue documents show that lawmakers have already passed legislation which increased annual revenues available for appropriation by more than $500 million over the last three legislative sessions.

It is time to dig in to eradicate crony capitalism. It is time to rein in unreformed spending. It is time for real, market-driven Medicaid reforms and innovative health care spending. It is time to be honest about non-instructional growth in common and higher education. It is time to implement government-wide business process improvements and reform outdated government structures.

Policymakers must make the same difficult choices being made by the most vulnerable, by working Oklahoma families, and by small businesses and other job creators in Oklahoma.


Tom Coburn
Former United States Senator

Frank Keating
Former Oklahoma Governor

Larry Parman
Former Oklahoma Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce

Monday, October 02, 2017

Music Monday: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Brahms)

This week's Music Monday, submitted by reader Dustin M., is the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83 by 19th-century German composer Johannes Brahms. This video features Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman and renowned American conductor Leonard Bernstein.


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

OK Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt to Retire

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt to Retire

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today received and accepted a letter from Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt stating his intention to retire at the end of this year.

Watt, justice for the 9th Supreme Court Judicial District, wrote that his retirement will take effect Dec. 31.

Watt, of Altus, began his judicial service in 1985, when he was appointed special district judge for Jackson County. He was elected associated district judge for Jackson County in 1986.

In 1991, then-Gov. David Walters named Watt as his general counsel. He was appointed by Walters to the Oklahoma Supreme Court on May 17, 1992, and is in his 26th year of service on the high court. He served two terms as chief justice, from 2003 until 2007.

“Having spent almost half of my entire life serving in the judicial branch of government, the past 25½ years on the Supreme Court have been the most rewarding of my entire life,” Watt said. “As the new year dawns, I look forward to beginning the next chapter in my life spending more quality time with my grandchildren, traveling with my wife, Cathy, and taking active retired status beginning Jan. 1, 2018.”

Supreme Court justices serve on the court as long as they are able and must appear on the ballot and be retained by voters every six years, according to state statute.

“Justice Watt has served the state well while being on the bench for more than 30 years, including the past 25 years as a Supreme Court justice,” said Fallin. “He’s been a man of integrity, and has served with distinction. I appreciate his knowledge, dedication and fairness while on the high court. I wish him the best in his retirement and want to thank his wife and family, too, for their sacrifice and service to our state.”

Watt earned a bachelor’s degree in history/government from Texas Tech University and a doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Texas Law School. In 1973, he moved to Altus, where he worked in private law practice and served as Altus city prosecutor until 1985.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will accept applications for nominees to the court. The commission reviews the applications and submits three nominees to the governor.

At the time of appointment, applicants must be 30 or older, have been a qualified elector in the 9th Supreme Court Judicial District for at least one year immediately prior to the date of appointment, and have been a licensed practicing attorney or judge of a court of record, or both, in Oklahoma for five years preceding the appointment.

The 9th Judicial District consists of Harmon, Greer, Kiowa, Caddo, Canadian, Comanche, Jackson, Tillman and Cotton counties. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Amid NFL protests, Fort Gibson football team takes the field in a different way

In the midst of the ongoing controversy over the National Anthem at football games, with college and even high-school players now joining the new "fad" of protesting, the Fort Gibson (OK) High football team took a different approach at their home game against Poteau last night:

Thanks to Payton Fore Photography for the photo.


Eddie Huff on National Anthem protests: what did Hitler think?

Former KFAQ host Eddie Huff posted these thoughts on the NFL national anthem protests, and I just had to share it:
"For all of those who think the anthem is a symbol of white superiority and oppression, and think President DJT is a racist beneficiary of "White Privilege," I ask one question.

What do you think Adolf Hitler though of when he heard the American National Anthem? Two words:


The 1936 Olympics in Berlin were to showcase Aryan superiority but Jesse Owens, a BLACK, AMERICAN, athlete, Pee'd all over that in winning a record 4 Gold Medals.

Imagine Hitler's demeanor each time Jesse stood on that podium above Hitler's specimens of white superiority. I will bet that Hitler had the Star Spangled Banner banned.

It was not the flag and anthem of Germany, France, Russia, Arab or even African nation that was played. It was the Anthem of the United States of America. Jesse returned HOME to receive a "Ticker Tape Parade" celebrated as national hero.

So the next time a person tells you that the Flag and Anthem are racist symbols, ask them what Hitler thought about that."

Friday, September 29, 2017

Conservative leaders urge Oklahoma politicians to protect taxpayers

September 28, 2017

Dear Governor and State Lawmakers,

We are a coalition of conservative citizens, many of us serving in leadership of state or local organizations, who write to urge you to address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government and to resist raising taxes on your constituents.

Many Oklahoma families and businesses are struggling and have been forced to reduce their own spending. Indeed, Oklahomans lost more than $13 billion in taxable income and reduced purchases by $4.1 billion in one year alone when oil prices collapsed.

And yet, Oklahoma’s total state government spending is at an all-time high. The state is now on track to spend more money next year—more than $17.9 billion—than at any time in our history. If you believe that certain state services are not adequately funded, we urge you to prioritize spending rather than raise taxes.

“Limited government” and “lower taxes” have been winning campaign messages in Oklahoma over the last decade. Some candidates have even made written promises to oppose and vote against (or veto) “any and all efforts to increase taxes.” We encourage you to stay true to these principles and to oppose efforts to increase the burden of government on hard-working Oklahoma families.


Jonathan Small
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

John Tidwell
Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Steve Curry
Republican National Committeeman for Oklahoma

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith
Tulsa 9.12 Project

Tom Newell
Former chairman, General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Michael Bates

Brandon Arnold
National Taxpayers Union

Jamison Faught

Andrew Lopez
Canadian County Republican Party

Daniel Schneider
American Conservative Union

Charles W. Potts
Oklahoma Republican Party executive committee member

John Michener
Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

Bunny Chambers
Eagle Forum of Oklahoma

Lisa B. Nelson
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Ashley N. Varner
ALEC Action
Other signers will be added to the letter as the special legislative session continues.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Drunk on cash? TSET promotes nightclubs, bars, drag shows

OCPA’s Center for Investigative Journalism revealed some shocking news this week about the spending habits of Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). TSET is a state agency created to fund programs that help people quit smoking and help pay for the costs of smoking-related health care.

TSET was formed as a result of the state's lawsuit against tobacco companies in the 1990s, and currently sits on an endowment worth over $1 billion. It brings in and spends about $50 million every year on tobacco cessation campaigns or health issues related to tobacco use. Or rather, that's what TSET is supposed to use the money for.

These days, you often find TSET promoting drinking water instead of surgery drinks, exercising, eating fruits and vegetables... which, while good things to encourage, are not what TSET was set up to spend money on. Oh, and TSET apparently now pushes nightclubs, bars, and drag shows for teenagers -- at non-smoking locales, of course.

Because alcohol is so much better than tobacco for Oklahomans' health and safety.

From the OCPA-CIJ article (they warn that the many links in their article showing what TSET is pushing "will lead to content that some will consider offensive"):
Smoking and second-hand smoke are health risks. So are many other behaviors. But one Oklahoma state agency is so focused on opposition to smoking that it promotes bars and night clubs as long as the venues promise to be smoke free.

One promoted Oklahoma City night club specifically advertises to teenagers “15 and up” and hosts regular “drag shows.” Other boosted bars and clubs feature similarly racy fare, putting Oklahoma in the odd place of promoting alcohol and risky behaviors just because they are not accompanied by smoking.


One TSET project that is about smoking is Free The Night, which offers "promotional opportunities to smokefree bars and clubs.” TSET created the program in 2013 and spent $653,150 on it in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

On its website and various social media pages, Free The Night promotes 35 “partners” that are “smokefree bars and clubs.” Many are traditional bars, sports bars, or dance clubs, but some of these TSET-promoted businesses offer racier fare.

One Tulsa club specializes in scantily-clad women performing burlesque shows, another recently featured male strippers, and a third is advertising “torture acts” and a “spanking booth” as part of an upcoming event. A fourth Tulsa venue specializes in programs featuring men dressed as women and hosts watch parties for “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

Perhaps most startling is the Oklahoma City club that TSET’s Free The Night website calls “a safe, supervised, and smokefree place to hang out” and “an exciting, different place for youth to spend their weekends.” The Free The Night site links to the club’s Facebook page, which shows that most of the programs involve men dressed, but often barely dressed, as women. With TSET’s help, the club targets teenagers, inviting people as young as 15 to attend programs like “drag 101” and making show times earlier “so our younger crowd can actually stay and see the show.” There is no upper age limit at the club.

According to a presentation last year by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, “excessive alcohol use cost $3.08 billion [in Oklahoma] in 2010 as a result of lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime.” Part of the Department’s mission is to provide services to the 251,000 Oklahomans who are dependent on or otherwise abusing alcohol. But while one state agency tries to combat alcohol abuse, another—TSET—actually spends state money to promote bars and nightclubs.

Read the full article, along with the aforementioned and warned links, here

From another OCPA article on the shocking program:
Beyond the hypocrisy of spending state dollars to promote shots, cocktails, and vodka infusions, consider what else those funds could buy. The state share of nursing home costs is $51.45 per day. That means TSET’s Free The Night spending could have covered the state’s share of 12,694 days of nursing home care.

TSET appears to be yet another example of a runaway government agency in need of oversight.