Monday, September 18, 2017

Congressman Russell endorses Lamb for Governor

Rep. Steve Russell endorses Lamb for Governor

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – September 18, 2017 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Todd Lamb announced today he has received the endorsement of Fifth District U.S. Representative Steve Russell (R - Oklahoma City). The Fifth Congressional District encompasses Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, including the cities of Oklahoma City, Edmond and Shawnee.  

"I have seen firsthand the proven leadership and talent of Todd Lamb when we served together in the state Senate,” Congressman Russell said. “His organizational skill, vision and great way with people made him an incredible floor leader in a very divided Senate. Todd is selfless, has a great moral compass and was willing to lay down his life for others as a United States Secret Service agent.  He has my vote, complete trust and confidence as Oklahoma's next governor."

Lamb said, “I am honored to earn the endorsement of Congressman Russell and appreciate the manner in which he represents the Fifth District in Washington, D.C.  He has never shied away from his conservative principles; the same principles that guide me on a daily basis, and that will define my gubernatorial administration.  Steve Russell has earned the respect of his constituents and conservative colleagues in the U.S. House, and I am excited to count him as a member of my campaign team.”

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Death of Honor in the GOP

Being a Republican used to mean something. A higher standard of conduct was demanded and expected. Honesty and integrity were commonplace. We policed our own. We were "the Party of Family Values".

Looking at the news today, one can witness the death of honor in the Republican Party.

It's indicative of the culture at large, in one sense. A society that increasingly rejects God and His standards will elect men and women who do the same. To paraphrase Scripture, they profess one thing with their lips but prove another with their actions. However, our inherently sinful nature does not excuse wrong actions.

Here are just a few examples I'm thinking of.

Republicans in Congress spent seven years claiming they would "Repeal and Replace" ObamaCare as soon as they were given control of the U.S. House U.S. Senate White House. American voters gave them everything they asked for, but when the time came, they were unprepared and unwilling to do what they had promised to do for seven years and four election cycles. They lied to the American public. They said what they needed to in order to get elected, never intending to actually follow through, otherwise they would have been prepared to act when they time came.

You can even look at the nomination of Donald Trump, a man with a crude and immoral past, who exhibited no change on the campaign trail, belittling and demeaning those who opposed him, and who fabricated and circulated false and (to be honest) slanderous quotes and stories about his GOP competitors.

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin made a pledge to run for only three terms in Congress. He repeated that promise numerous times and through his re-election campaigns. Now, he brazenly breaks it without remorse, and expects us to be fine with it.

Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature have seen unprecedented scandal and outrage in the past two years, and last eight months in particular. A state representative resigned after allegations he sexual harassed his assistant. A full ten percent of the State Senate GOP caucus has left office for crimes: one state senator went to federal prison for embezzlement of nearly two million dollars, another is likely going to prison for a very long time due to child prostitution and child porn, another broke campaign finance laws by embezzling $100,000 from his campaign for his private use, and another just resigned and was charged with sexual battery after previously getting in trouble for drinking and driving. The governor's chief finance officer has had repeated drunk driving charges, and still holds his position. Several former legislators have had run-ins with the law, or are rumored to have not sought re-election in order to avoid scandal coming to light.

Three other state representatives ran for office, only to turn around and resign to take private sector jobs within as little as 24 days of being re-elected. They spent time and money asking voters to elect them to represent them, then spurned that duty in favor of greener pastures. They thus denied their constituents of the representation they voted for and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by causing special elections.

Republican candidates (nationwide and in Oklahoma) spend millions of dollars on the campaign trail touting conservative principles, only to betray those values when they get in office. The pressure from leadership, lobbyists, and groups desperate for more government taxpayer money, along with the siren call of power, is too much for them to withstand. They take the easy road, tossing aside their campaign rhetoric (which they neither believed nor intended to keep) -- and along with it what voters expected them to do based on what they were promised.

All of this, and Republican Party leaders and elected officials (by and large) just shrug, and say "well, look at the Democrats."  That's not good enough. The Party of personal responsibility needs some serious self-examination. Democrats aren't the ones who have been in the Oklahoma news these last two years with scandal after scandal. Democrats get in Congress and do what they said they would do.

The responsibility doesn't lie solely with the candidates and elected officials; we, the voters share some of that blame, because we've fallen for the slick campaigning and elected and re-elected these individuals. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

The Republican Party needs to clean up house from top to bottom. If the elected officials won't do it, then Party officials need to speak up. The silence has been deafening.

Voters have a responsibility to weigh the actions of each elected official against what they pledged to do and against what they ought to do, and throw them out if they fail to match the standard. If we don't do our duty, we can expect the Republican house to begin to crumble.

Friday, September 15, 2017

OKGOP's Carolyn McLarty announces for SD27 special election

Hat-tip to Kenny Bob Tapp for this great news:

Carolyn McLarty Announces Run For State Senate District 27

“It’s time to stop talking and start DOING! It is time to put the principles of good government to work. I am prepared to do this; I have the knowledge, experience and the proven conservative track record needed to be an effective State Senator. I am reliable and I am passionate about what is best for the people of District 27. With the current budget crisis in our state and multiple challenges in the economy, education, and health care, we need assertive and faithful leadership to bring opportunities for stability and prosperity back to Oklahoma,” McLarty said.

Dr. Carolyn McLarty is a retired veterinarian, who operated the Animal Care Clinic in Woodward for 20 years. Since 2008 she has served as the Republican National Committeewoman for Oklahoma. In this position, she has represented our state’s conservative values consistently. She has demonstrated her ability to effectively lead while serving on the RNC Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Resolutions Committee.

She believes that upholding conservative principles is vital for our leaders. “Leading based upon our moral compass and guiding faith can thwart pressure from outside influences. When we make decisions based upon our faith and values, we can build a safer more prosperous state for our children; a state where they can thrive and raise their own families with a higher quality of life,” McLarty said.

A strong proponent for education, and the quality of education our children receive, McLarty fought to encourage development of excellent new standards for Oklahoma education to replace Common Core. “It is vital that we provide our children the best education that we can. Education for good citizenship is imperative for a government “by the people.” Further, quality education ensures that our children can aspire to higher goals, and enrich the State with their talents,” McLarty said.

“Through my experience in the Republican National Committee, I have worked hard to create win-win outcomes between the establishment and the grassroots. I can work in the State Senate to pass legislation that ensures that our state government serves the people of the entire Senate District 27 from Northwestern Oklahoma to the end of the Panhandle. I will fight hard to encourage legislation that enables our conservative principles and values to bring security, liberty, and prosperity to the District. As a sovereign state, we must push back the encroachment of the Federal Government into state government functions,” McLarty emphasized.

Carolyn McLarty has been married to Tom for 42 years. Together they have three children and three grandchildren. She served on the Board of Directors at the Pregnancy Center in Woodward for nine years. She also served as President of the Northwest Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, was Chairman of the Board of the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority Board, Board Member of Eagle Forum, a national conservative pro-life organization and was a delegate/alternate to the Republican National Conventions for the past five Presidential elections.

Fallin officially calls Special Session

Governor Mary Fallin Calls Special Session to Deal with Budget Shortfall, Government Inefficiencies and Teacher Pay Increases

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order calling for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature for lawmakers to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget as well as develop long-term solutions to government inefficiencies and fund a pay increase for public school teachers.

The governor called for the first extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Sept. 25.

Fallin recommended lawmakers:

  • Address the immediate budget shortfall created by the loss of the $215 million cigarette fee revenue.
  • Have the option to address a long-term solution to continuing budget shortfalls.
  • Address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government.
  • Clarify intended exemptions to the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles. 
  • Address a needed pay increase for K-12 public school teachers.

“Urgent action is needed,” said Fallin. “Lawmakers need to come together quickly to fill this fiscal year’s budget hole so our citizens can be assured they will receive necessary core services. I also am asking them to develop solutions to address structural deficits in our budget. For decades, we have attempted to balance our budget for too long with the use of one-time resources. We must develop a budget based on stability, not volatility.”

The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget, which took effect July 1, has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds, state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.

“In the call, I have also given the Legislature the authority to address the need for more efficiencies in state government, which should provide long-term savings for the taxpayers,” the governor said. “In this regard, I have provided the budget committee chairpersons an extensive list of efficiencies I have proposed.

“I have been talking with legislative leaders from both parties and I will continue to work with them until an agreement is reached,” Fallin said. “I wish we had an easy button to push but that is not reality. Our challenges in front of us are difficult and it will take great resolve and statesmanship for us to be successful.”

Fallin said it is important for lawmakers to provide sufficient revenues to meet the basic responsibilities of state government, such as education, health and public safety.

“We must deliver services that work for the people, and put people over politics,” the governor said.

“I have also provided the legislative authority to clarify our intention that the new 1.25 percent sales tax on vehicles not extend to the trucking industry,” she said.

Fallin said it’s time a permanent pay raise is enacted for public school teachers. However, the governor said a pay raise alone will not improve student outcomes, urging lawmakers to ensure more existing dollars are reaching the classroom by eliminating administrative inefficiencies.

“I encourage lawmakers to see this special session as an opportunity to change the fiscal course we are headed,” said Fallin. “I hope they seize the moment to pass legislation that makes more recurring revenue available, reduces our reliance on one-time funds, and puts our state on the path to success.”

Pro Tem Schulz pushes cigarette tax, urges pre-special session agreement

Senate Pro Tem urges lawmakers to come together with revenue plan ahead of special session

With a special session less than two weeks away, Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz called on lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and come together on a plan to fill the $215 million budget hole created by court rulings this summer.

“The special session is rapidly approaching and all we’ve seen so far is political games from both sides of the aisle. I understand why the public would think it’s ‘déjà vu all over again’ and worry that the special session will be a repeat of the end of regular session," said Schulz, R-Altus.

“We don’t have time in a special session for ideas that have not been thoroughly vetted in the legislative process. We don’t have time to rehash arguments from the past two years. Before the special session is gaveled in, we need to have an agreement and plan in place so that we can move quickly and effectively. It’s time to come together. It’s time to stop bickering and playing political games. It’s time to do the job Oklahomans elected us to do."

“Senate Republicans have met three times since the initial court ruling that left a $215 million hole in the budget. We’re preparing for every scenario, but it’s clear to the Senate that the best path forward is to pass a $1.50 cigarette tax increase. The Senate passed a cigarette tax during the regular session and the Senate is ready to move on it again if the House can send one our way."

“Let’s do this now, get it done quickly in special session to address the budget hole and return our entire focus to important issues like job creation and economic development, regulatory and tax reform, and increasing educational quality and opportunity for Oklahomans.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

State Reps. Moore, Cleveland Issue Republican Budget Challenge

Moore, Cleveland Issue Republican Budget Challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Reps. Lewis Moore and Bobby Cleveland announced today they are challenging Republican lawmakers to prepare for a line-by-line budget review ahead of a pre-session Republican Caucus meeting in December. Moore and Cleveland hope lawmakers will each find $50 million to $100 million in budget reductions and efficiencies.

 “We have spent too much time and energy lately finding creative ways to increase revenue,” said Moore, R-Arcadia. “This Republican Budget Challenge is a way for us to shift our focus back to conservative principles: eliminating waste, streamlining government and finding efficiencies that benefit Oklahomans. It can and has to be done."

 “We understand going line by line through agency budgets is a tedious task,” Moore said. “But, if we spent even half as much time rooting out waste as we have trying to increase revenue through the legislative process, I bet we could find some real savings. For the past few years, the legislature has allocated money to agencies in block grant form, with agencies determining how they would allocate funds within their agencies.  The legislature, which represents the citizen’s will, to include how much money to raise and spend, should go through each agency budget, line-by-line, prioritizing needs and dictating spending.  I believe each agency and our citizens will be better served with greater scrutiny."

 After the December caucus meeting, Moore and Cleveland hope to release results outlining the top ideas to the public ahead of the 2018 session.

 “We urge all of our members to participate in this challenge,” said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “We are hearing from Oklahomans across our state who believe there are inefficiencies in state government. It is our job to ensure a more efficient system, and the Republican Budget Challenge allows us to do just that.

 “We are excited to see the great ideas that this challenge produces. At the end of the day, we cannot expect taxpayers to bear the brunt of higher taxes when we all know there’s plenty of waste to be found in our system. Our citizens deserve better,” Cleveland said.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Democrats take another legislative seat in HD46 special election

In the special election held in House District 46 today, Democrats once again emerged victorious, snatching another Republican-held seat away and continuing their recent success in special elections. Democrats have lost only one legislative special election since April 2015, flipping two House seats (HD85 and HD75) and two Senate seats (SD34 and SD44). The "one that got away" was HD28, which Republican Zach Taylor held for the GOP by a mere 56 votes.

Democrat Jacob Rosecrants defeated Republican Darin Chambers 60.41% to 39.59%. Ironically, that's the exact same percentage that Scott Martin defeated Rosecrants by in 2016,  four and a half months before Martin announced his resignation to take a job with the Norman Chamber of Commerce.

House District 46 has a Republican District Rating (RDR) of 48.7, making it the 13th-most Democrat Republican-held seat (36th most Democrat out of 101 seats). Still, past elections have been heavily weighted to the Republican side; 60.41% in 2016, 64.4% in 2014, unopposed in 2012, 80.3% in 2010, 65.76% in 2008.

Until the continued drip, drip of scandals coming from Republicans at the State Capitol is stopped, Republicans can likely expect more losses in the future. The Democrats were unable to turn special election success into general election success in 2016, but 2018 may be different.

Another one bites the dust: State Sen. Marlatt resigns

The latest in a string of Republicans to resign in disgrace, State Sen. Bryce Marlatt stepped down today after being booked into the Oklahoma County Jail this morning for one felony count of sexual battery. He was released on bond.

The charge stems from an incident in late June, when Marlatt attempted to assault an Uber driver in Oklahoma City who was driving him to a bar. Marlatt had previously had a DUI-related charge a year or two ago, but evidently alcohol got him into more trouble again.

Marlatt had represented Senate District 27 (Panhandle and northwest corner of the state) since 2008, and was the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee before being removed after news of the incident broke in July.

Marlatt joins an illustrious "club" of legislators (all Republican) who have resigned from office in recent years due to sexual or legal misdoings:
  • State Sen. Rick Brinkley resigned in August 2015 after embezzling nearly $2M to support his gambling addiction
  • State Rep. Dan Kirby resigned in February 2017 after allegations he sexual harassed his assistant
  • State Sen. Ralph Shortey resigned after being charged with child prostitution in March 2017
  • State Sen. Kyle Loveless resigned in April over campaign ethics violations and embezzlement 

This creates the eighth empty seat in the state legislature since the 2016 election. Aside from Kirby, Shortey and Loveless mentioned above, the other vacancies are State Rep. Tom Newell (for a private sector job), State Rep. Scott Martin (for private sector job), State Rep. David Brumbaugh's sudden death, and State Sen. Dan Newberry (resignation to take a private sector job).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hern holding special election campaign kickoff Thursday

Kevin Hern for Congress Announces Kickoff Event

Tulsa, OK –Kevin Hern invites you to join his family, John Doak, and Don Newberry as he formally announces his candidacy in the special election for Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District and kickstarts his campaign this Thursday, September 14, 2017. The special election is taking place due to President Trump’s nomination of Representative Jim Bridenstine to head NASA.

“For the past 19 years, my family has had the honor to call Tulsa home,” said Mr. Hern. “In that time, I have been proud to get to know members of our diverse community through both living and working here. These relationships have led to a newfound passion for serving the people of Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District in the United States Congress.

“Now, more than ever, the American people understand that we need proven problem solvers, who understand how to create jobs, 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. I look forward to sharing my solutions to the problems facing our nation as I campaign throughout the district.”

The event will be held at Jenks Central Park, 208 N. Elm, from 6:00-7:30PM. The event is free and open to the public.

TaxCutsNow Bus Tour stopping in Tulsa, OKC on Tuesday

As announced last week, Job Creators Network's TaxCutsNow bus tour is stopping in Oklahoma City tomorrow [Tuesday]!

We have just received word that the bus tour is making an additional stop in Tulsa tomorrow as well! The TaxCutsNow bus will be outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7902 S. Lewis Ave., in Tulsa tomorrow from 12:50 PM - 1:20 PM.

Both events are sponsored by Job Creators Network, Freedom Works, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma. The rallies will feature local policy experts and community leaders.

American small businesses and hard-working taxpayers have been struggling under high tax rates for years. It's time we change that. Passing tax cuts now means creating more jobs, increasing wages, expanding the economy, and letting Washington take less out of your wallet.

Please join us on tomorrow in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa to show your support for small businesses and other hard-working taxpayers.

Music Monday: Have You Forgotten?

This week's Music Monday is Have You Forgotten? by country music artist Darryl Worley, and is about the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. This video contains images and video from that day -- reminders of what our nation suffered and experienced 16 years ago today.

May we never forget.

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Doke touts Muskogee County's first balanced budget since '09

From Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke (R-Dist. 1):

Yesterday marked the dawning of a new day for Muskogee County. For a number of years now, the county has been operating in the red with deficit budgets. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the county spent $2,252,441 more than it brought in revenue. Beginning in 2015, the board of county commissioners set out to fix this problem. We began creating new policies and committed to fixing the county's budget woes.

In 2016, commissioners passed a balanced budget that was designed to end deficit spending. For the first time in years, we finished the year with no RED numbers. In fact, Muskogee County ended the year with a surplus balance of $1.2 Million. With a $1.2 Million carry-over balance, we were able to start this NEW fiscal year with the largest budget in Muskogee County history.

Having better managed our funds, we found ourselves in a position to do some things that were long overdue. We are going to put a new roof and replace the HVAC at the courthouse. We are going to be able to pay for these enormous costs out of our budget rather than asking for tax payers to pass a bond. We plan to help Sheriff Rob Frazier purchase new patrol cars. We set aside funds for District Attorney, Orvil Loge to hire a civil attorney to help with his case load for the next year. We allocated monies to the volunteers of the Sheriff's patrol so that they could purchase new equipment.

The OSU Extension had suffered severe state budget cuts, and was at risk of having to cut staff and programs to our area youth. Muskogee County was able to step up and provide the needed funding to keep that agency alive, and continue providing agricultural training and programs to students throughout Muskogee County.

I would like to say thank you to the rest of our commissioner board and to our elected officials throughout the county who bought into the vision; came together; and made the necessary sacrifices to put the county back on the road to success. It is nice to be looking ahead and proactively fixing our problems now compared to where we were just a year or two ago.

Note: In 2014, Doke became the first Republican to be elected as a County Commissioner in Muskogee County. Balancing the budget has been one of the things he's pushed for while in office, and I believe this wouldn't have happened without his efforts.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Court ruling is dangerous for the Oklahoma taxpayer

The recent ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court has opened a dangerous can of worms for the Oklahoma taxpayer. By essentially eviscerating Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution, the Court now has given the Legislature free rein to hike taxes on Oklahomans in complete disregard of the will of the people as expressed in passage of SQ 640, which was intended to place strict limits on the increasing of Oklahomans' tax burden by the Legislature.

Governor Fallin, who plans to issue a call for a special session, began the year by pressing for nearly $2,600,000,000 (2.6 Billion with a B) in new and increased taxes. $1.7B of that would have come by removing the sales tax exemption on services. Armed with this ruling, she may feel emboldened to continue that push for higher taxes. Legislators should resist her, and Oklahomans should flood the State Capitol with calls against raising taxes or fees or removing tax exemptions, or whatever other loophole the Governor and Legislature may try to use to squeeze more money out of taxpayers for the state's coffers.

Justice Combs said this in his dissent, and I am in full agreement with him:
The aim of the people in adopting State Question 640 must not be thwarted by such parsing of words and definitions. The Legislature must not be allowed to circumvent the requirements of Okla. Const. art. 5, § 33 when the clear principal object and purpose is to raise new revenue.
$10 billion worth of tax exemptions in the Oklahoma tax code are now subject to removal by a bare majority vote, rather than the 3/4ths vote intended by the petitioners and voters who wrote and approved SQ 640 in 1992. Hold on to your wallets, folks, because Governor Fallin and the Legislature will be coming for them.

Former OKGOP National Committeeman Steve Fair wrote this on his blog in response to the ruling:
[W]e need a statute of limitations on removal of exemptions. If a good or service has not been taxed for eighty years, then it should be considered a new tax or fee. [...] This was clearly a loophole the legislature was looking for to fill this year’s budget hole.
I think that's a great idea. Hopefully, some taxpayer-defending legislator will take up the mantle next session and work to advance a measure along these lines.

Oklahomans will need to keep a close eye on the Special Session that will begin on September 25th. Your wallet will be placed on the table by a pack of hungry vultures who have complete disregard for the intent and purpose of Article V, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Gov. Fallin plans to call Special Session beginning Sept. 25th

Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Plans to Call Special Session to Adjust Budget for Current Fiscal Year

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement on her plans to call a special legislative session for lawmakers to adjust the current fiscal year budget:

“I am planning on calling a special session beginning September 25 for legislators to adjust the current fiscal year budget. A formal call for a special session will be issued in the next few days, but I wanted to announce my intention to call a special session for planning purposes. I also want Oklahomans to know we are working diligently to address the fiscal matters of our state.”

EDITOR’S [Press Office] NOTE:  The state’s 2018 fiscal year budget has a shortfall of $215 million as a result of last month’s Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling, which struck down a proposed smoking cessation fee that was estimated to raise that amount. The $215 million represents just state funds. With the loss of matching federal funds state agencies estimate the total is nearly $500 million.

SoonerPoll: Lamb 32%, Cornett 29%, all others in single digits

Bill Shapard of SoonerPoll went on KFAQ's Pat Campbell Show yesterday morning, and mentioned some polling numbers from two surveys they ran in recent days. These figures had not previously been released publicly.

GOP Gubernatorial Primary
Todd Lamb 32%
Mick Cornett 29%
All others below 10%
MoE +/- 4.81%

GOP Lieutenant Governor's Primary
Dewey Bartlett 22% (not currently a candidate)
Dana Murphy 10%
Matt Pinnell 7%
Undecided 60%

You can hear Shapard's interview here. When more details of this survey are released, I will post them.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

OCPA: "Messaging" Matters, So Do Facts

"Messaging" Matters, So Do Facts

As chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Rep. Leslie Osborn was one of the legislature’s budget negotiators earlier this year. She used that position to make the case for a litany of tax increases, claiming that Oklahomans are “tired of us doing things the way we’ve always done them.” This begs the question: what has the state been doing?

As one of the most conservative states when it comes to election results, some might assume that the Oklahoma legislature continually cuts taxes. In fact, the state ranks 36th in per capita tax collections. A study shows that Oklahoma historically has had an above average tax burden compared to the rest of the nation. While there have been some state tax cuts, Jonathan Small has shown that the legislature has also increased revenue.

Despite changes in tax laws and fluctuations in revenue, what has remained constant year after year has been the increase in state government spending. According to the data from Oklahoma’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), state government has increased spending in 22 of the last 23 years. Despite recessions in 2008 and 2015, when many Oklahoma families had to make tough choices, Oklahoma government continued to spend.

During the same interview Leslie Osborn said that “more than ever the message and the meaning is going to matter more.” Message matters, but it is imperative they be not only sincere, but also based on facts. Oklahoma government has been growing, not shrinking. People might question the priorities in the budget or in how agencies spend money, but the total burden on Oklahomans is higher than ever.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion striking down SB 845 states “by strictly limiting the Legislature's ability to enact laws that generate additional revenue—the people's preference that when revenues shrink, so too does their government.” This is the people’s will as expressed in the Oklahoma Constitution. Maybe the state should try doing things this way?

Denise Crosswhite Hader announces for HD41

Denise Crosswhite Hader Seeks Oklahoma House District 41 Seat

Denise Crosswhite Hader, Republican, officially announced her candidacy for Oklahoma House District 41 for the 2018 election cycle.  District 41 is currently represented by John Enns.  District 41 includes all of Piedmont, Surrey Hills, Waukomis, Drummond, Lahoma, Carrier, Hillsdale, Bison, and portions of Enid, Cashion, Deer Creek, and Oklahoma City.

Crosswhite Hader has had a passion for impacting public policy her entire life.  Having learned governmental and legislative processes as a Congressional Field Representative, a Legislative Liaison to Former Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello, and as a House staff member at the Oklahoma State Capitol; Denise will hit the ground running to rein in out of control government programs and focus on the core functions that state government should provide.  Crosswhite Hader served on the Tinker Bond oversight committee which provided enhancements to the base to protect our state’s largest employer against BRAC closure.  Her legislative priorities are transportation infrastructure, military, public safety, corrections, and giving more freedom and local control to public education.

“Like the vast majority of Americans, I am tired of folks who run for political office claiming the values of opinion polls and then betraying their claimed convictions as soon as they are elected.  In me, if I receive the privilege of being elected, the citizens will have a representative with a servant’s heart, which will work to eliminate legislative and bureaucratic entanglements in their lives.  I want to restore the American Dream for the citizens of District 41 and the State of Oklahoma by allowing them to take back more control of their own lives.  I am excited to meet the citizens of District 41 face to face, to ask them about their priorities, answer their questions, share my qualifications, explain my convictions, and ask for their vote.” Crosswhite Hader said.

Crosswhite Hader is a 1983 graduate of Piedmont High School and has a degree in Government from Oral Roberts University.  She owns a small property management company.  Denise and her husband, Marc Hader, live in Surrey Hills.  They have two daughters and sons-in-law who live in the metro area, and are enjoying their grandchildren, Reagan, Lincoln and Grant, ages 3, 2, and 1.

Bridenstine comments on his NASA nomination

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Nominated to Lead NASA

Washington, DC, September 5, 2017 -- Congressman Jim Bridenstine:  "It is an honor to be nominated to serve our nation as NASA Administrator. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. Should I be confirmed by the United States Senate, I will work with all diligence to achieve the President’s vision for America’s leadership in space.”

Jim Bridenstine served as a U.S. Navy pilot on active duty for nine years, followed by four years in the Navy Reserve where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  In 2015 he transitioned to the Oklahoma Air National Guard.  He was elected to Congress in 2012 and serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.  In 2016 he introduced the American Space Renaissance Act.  Bridenstine lives in Tulsa, OK with his wife Michelle and their three children. For a full bio, please click here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Music Monday: Bach's Double Violin Concerto

This week's Music Monday is the great German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, Strings, and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043, more commonly called the Bach Double Violin Concerto (or simply the Bach Double). The Double is played here in 1958 by two of the premier violinists of the 20th century, Yehudi Menuhin and David Oistrakh.


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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Pinnell to make campaign stop in Muskogee on Tuesday

Former OKGOP Chairman and current Lieutenant Governor candidate Matt Pinnell will be holding a campaign meet-and-greet in Muskogee on Tuesday.

Other Republicans seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor are Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, State Senator Eddie Fields, and Dominique Block.

Fmr. State Rep. Pam Peterson endorses Coleman for Congress

Tulsa, OK – Representative Pam Peterson recently endorsed Andy Coleman’s U.S. congressional campaign for Oklahoma’s First District. As a former state representative, majority floor leader, and Tulsa County Republican Chairman, Peterson is a widely respected Republican leader in Tulsa County and throughout Oklahoma.

“Politics at the federal level is pretty tough these days,” Peterson observed. “But Andy Coleman has a proven track record of serving well in tough situations. Graduating from the Airforce Academy. His role as a military intelligence officer in Baghdad. His work in the Middle East to help persecuted Christians as a leader with the Voice of the Martyrs. Those were not light tasks. They took courage, skill, faith, accountability and grit – qualities we need desperately in D.C. I’m also impressed with his conservative background, as a former leader with groups like the Federalist Society. We need conservatives who have served in the policy trenches, and taken firm stands for the U.S. Constitution, our liberties, and our values. Finally, Andy’s national security and foreign policy experience sets him apart in this race for a federal seat. Altogether, Andy has the background and capacity for this role. That’s why I’m excited to endorse Andy Coleman in his race for U.S. Congress.”

Coleman is running to replace Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who announced he would not seek reelection following his current term.

Coleman reacted enthusiastically to Peterson’s endorsement. “Pam is held in such high regard by so many in Oklahoma, including myself,” Coleman explained. “It absolutely made my day when I heard she was supporting my campaign. Pam is a faithful and thoughtful leader, which is why I am so grateful to receive her endorsement.”

Rep. Pam Peterson’s endorsement of Andy Coleman’s campaign follows several others, including Dr. Everett Piper, Senator Denny Garrison, and Morton Blackwell. You can learn more about Andy Coleman and his campaign by visiting

Friday, September 1, 2017

Inhofe, Lankford, Dahm comment on Bridenstine's NASA nomination

Following the Trump administration's announcement that the President was nominating Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator, Oklahoma politicians are beginning to comment.

Sen. Jim Inhofe: "I am pleased President Trump has announced his intent to name Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator today. As the former administrator of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, Jim Bridenstine's lifelong passion for space, combined with his work in Congress on modernizing our nation's space program will serve him well at NASA. I look forward to working with my fellow Oklahoman in this new capacity."

Sen. James Lankford: "Rep. Jim Bridenstine has served his nation as a Navy Pilot and as a US Representative specializing in satellite innovation. His background in aviation and space, coupled with his commitment to fiscal responsibility make him an excellent choice for NASA Administrator."

State Sen. Nathan Dahm (one of the several Republicans running to succeed Bridenstine):
Senator Nathan Dahm Comments on Bridenstine NASA Appointment

Broken Arrow—Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) congratulated Congressman Jim Bridenstine Friday on his presidential appointment to NASA administrator. Bridenstine previously served as executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum & Planetarium before being elected to Congress.

Dahm says Bridenstine’s new role at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will not only positively impact the nation, but also be beneficial to the city of Tulsa with its large aerospace industry.

“Congressman Bridenstine has served Oklahoma well the past five years,” said Dahm. “He has set the bar high for whomever follows him in the First Congressional District seat, but I know he will continue to serve this state and nation with integrity in his new position.”

Upon Bridenstine’s promotion, the First Congressional District seat becomes vacant. Dahm, a constitutional conservative, is running for Bridenstine’s seat.

For five years Dahm has served in the Oklahoma State Senate. His district encompasses Broken Arrow, Bixby, and Tulsa. During his time in the Senate, Dahm has been a champion for individual rights, including the right to life and the Second Amendment right to self-defense. He has fought for openness, transparency, and accountability in government.

If elected to serve as Oklahoma’s First District Congressman, Dahm promises to serve the people just as he has consistently done during his time in the Senate.

“I will continually fight to uphold the oath I have sworn to defend the Constitution, to protect our God-given rights, and to restore the balance of powers between the states and the federal government for limited government operating under Republican principles,” says Dahm.

Trump nominates Bridenstine for NASA Administrator

President Trump has announced his nomination of Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine to serve as the new NASA Administrator. From the announcement this evening:
James Bridensine of Oklahoma to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Mr. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma's First Congressional District. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Mr. Bridenstine began his Naval aviation career flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. While on active duty, he transitioned to the F-18 Hornet and flew as an "aggressor" at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center. After leaving active duty, Mr. Bridenstine returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium and flew counter-drug mission in Central and South America in the Navy Reserve. He holds a triple major from Rice University and an M.B.A. from Cornell University. Mr. Bridenstine is currently a member of the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

If confirmed by the Senate, this appointment would trigger a special election in the 1st Congressional District. There's already a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace Bridenstine, who had pledged to not seek a fourth term in the U.S. House.