Wednesday, February 28, 2018

County-by-county voter registration swings, 2017 to 2018

This Voter Registration Maps series post shows the county-by-county trend in voter registration since last January.

Registration swung toward the Republican Party in all 77 counties. Jefferson County had the largest swing, posting a shift to the GOP of 6.44%. The smallest change was in Canadian County, which came in at 1.08% swing toward the GOP.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jarrin Jackson continues 2nd District campaign town halls

Congressional Candidate, Businessman, and US Army Combat Veteran Jarrin Jackson to Continue his 26 County "Let’s Talk” Town Hall Series 

Republican Jarrin Jackson continues his 26-County tour through Eastern Oklahoma’s 2nd District with his “Let’s Talk” Town Halls taking place in 5 more locations this Saturday, March 3, 2018.

Jarrin Jackson states, “I am taking the time to visit with Oklahoma's District 2 voters face to face. Voters should expect their Representative to look them in the eye and have a real back and forth dialogue that is not scripted or screened, to truly hold their Congressman accountable. I am committed to be accountable to the people I will represent, and these meetings allow voters to give clear directives on the important priorities to be addressed. I am hearing loud and clear President Trump’s agenda should be delivered. Eastern Oklahoma deserves to have a Congressman who truly takes their needs and priorities to Washington, not a Congressman that hides behind phone call screeners because he is on the payroll of special interest to bring Washington Swamp talking points and bureaucracy to Oklahoma.”

The events are open to the public, please arrive early for best seating:

Okmulgee County
Okmulgee Public Library
218 S. Okmulgee Ave, Okmulgee
8am

Okfuskee County
Citizens State Bank
402 W. Broadway, Okemah
10am

Hughes County
Holdenville Public Library
209 E. 9th Street Holdenville
11:45am

Haskell County
Stigler Public Library
410 NE 6th Street, Stigler
1:45pm

McIntosh County
Checotah Senior Center
611 N Broadway St, Checotah
4pm

Jarrin Jackson is already endorsed by former US Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn.

In a recent statement, Dr. Coburn said he is backing Jarrin Jackson’s candidacy because, “Who we send to Congress is really important. Jarrin Jackson has shown his character by already doing a tremendous amount in service to our country. He is a combat veteran, a West Point graduate, a leader…Jarrin Jackson has virtue - and has shown from his service in the military, serving veterans and working in his community, and growing his restaurant franchise business - he holds himself to a high standard and commitment to doing what is right for our communities, for our state, and for our nation.  Jarrin Jackson is a patriot and a warrior, and is not going to abuse your trust. Because he has virtue.”

A graduate of West Point, Jarrin Jackson is a decorated combat veteran who served as a Captain in the US Army in Afghanistan. After over a decade of military service, Jarrin Jackson has gone on to success in the private sector -  owning and operating franchise restaurants, and also works to find jobs for transitioning active duty members to secure their first civilian job as they reintegrate into private sector. Jarrin is married to Dr. Katie Jackson, and they live in Rogers County with their two children. The Republican primary election for Congress is June 26th.

The incumbent Congressman Mullin is also currently being outed as a pro-pork politician in ads by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, highlighting Mullin's support of bringing back earmarks just as our nation is working to pay off the current crippling debt, and going back on his promise to serve three terms to avoid being a career politician.

For more information on ongoing schedule of Jarrin’s Let’s Talk Town Hall events, please visit his facebook page at facebook.com/JarrinJackson and his campaign website at www.JarrinJackson.com.

Coleman endorsed by Congressman Jody Hice


Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) Endorses Captain Andy Coleman
Names Coleman “A True Conservative”

TULSA, OK:  Andy Coleman has secured the endorsement of U.S. Congressman Jody Hice in the race to succeed Congressman Jim Bridenstine.  This marks the third endorsement in less than two weeks for Coleman, a former Air Force Captain, military veteran of Iraq, and field leader for the Voice of the Martyrs.

“Andy Coleman is a true conservative,” stated Congressman Hice.  “He’s the type of guy I want fighting beside me in Washington.  Andy is a battle-tested conservative.  Time and again over his life, Andy has backed up what he believes with action.  I know the voters of Oklahoma’s First District can trust Andy to be a strong and effective voice for them in D.C.”

“I am truly honored to have Congressman Hice join our growing team of supporters,” shared Coleman.  “He is a man of faith.  He is a principled leader.  He stands firmly for our country, our Constitution, and our freedoms.  His work in Congress is vital to the conservative movement, and I appreciate his trust and support.”

Congressman Jody Hice represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, and previously served as a Southern Baptist pastor and radio talk show host. 

Hice’s endorsement follows a string of high-profile endorsements for Coleman’s surging campaign, including former U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Dr. Everett Piper, and the Combat Veterans for Congress.

Captain Andy Coleman is seeking the Republican nomination for the open U.S. congressional seat in Oklahoma’s First District.  He is an Air Force Academy graduate, former intelligence officer, and veteran of Iraq.  He is the only candidate in the race with military and national security experience – critical skill sets in short supply in the House.  For six years, Coleman led efforts to aid persecuted Christians in some of the world’s most dangerous countries as the Middle East Regional Director for the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian ministry based in Bartlesville.  Andy resides with his wife and three children in Owasso. 

Voter Registration Maps: Party Growth, 2017 to 2018

Continuing my Voter Registration Maps series update, here are maps representing the changes in percentage by county of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The state election board appears to have done a purge of the voter rolls, so changes are not as substantial as they have been the last few years, with a much more consistent pattern across the state.


As with last year, Republicans made positive gains in all 77 counties. The smallest growth was in Canadian County (+0.3%) while the greatest was in Jefferson County (+3.27%).


Once again, Democrats posted losses in every county. The smallest loss was in Cleveland County (-0.7%) while the greatest was in Jefferson County (-3.17%).


Independents had a down year, relatively speaking, losing percentages in 23 counties - by far a record for recent years. Texas County had the greatest loss at -0.997%, while Ottawa County once again had the greatest growth at 1.22%.

Richardson praises House committee passage of Turnpike audit bill


GARY RICHARDSON PRAISES PASSAGE OF BILL TO AUDIT 
OKLAHOMA TURNPIKE AUTHORITY

    Conservative GOP Candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is praising State Rep. Tess Teague (R-Choctaw) for her bill to mandate performance audits of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.  HB-2530 passed out of the House Transportation committee this afternoon by a vote of 6 to 5.

    "Representative Teague has seen first-hand, from constituents in her own district, how the Turnpike Authority inflicts damage on the people of Oklahoma," Gary Richardson says.  "After decades of operating with no accountability from the State of Oklahoma and no oversight for more than 60 years, OTA schemed to use eminent domain to steamroll property owners near Choctaw, and the voters are justifiably outraged.  OTA acts with total impunity, empowered by the belief they will never have to answer to anyone, and Oklahomans have had enough."

    Gary Richardson has been demanding both forensic and performance audits of OTA, along with state agencies, as a central part of his platform as Governor.  A performance audit, which provides a detailed account of spending and stewardship, has never been performed in the history of the OTA.  A forensic audit would root out corruption and malfeasance.

    "Lawmakers should also be outraged by the blatant deception from OTA Executive Director, Tim Gatz, during his testimony before the committee today," says Richardson.  "Gatz claimed OTA already performs audits.  However, he omitted the fact that those are financial audits which provide a fraction of the insight a performance audit would reveal.  Gatz claimed OTA's 'major bondholders' are a matter of public record.  However, he omitted the fact that disclosure is voluntary and up to the bondholders themselves.  He also failed to mention that he used money, that was supposed to go toward fixing our roads, to pay off two high-dollar liberal lobbyists to bully lawmakers into voting against the bill.  I was a prosecutor for many years and I know this - anyone fighting transparency that desperately has something to hide."

    HB-2530 will now go to the House floor for a vote.

    Gary Richardson is a native Oklahoman, a former US Attorney appointed by President Reagan, and founder of a nationally-renowned law firm in Tulsa.

OCPA column: Too Much State Revenue?


Too Much State Revenue?
by OCPA President Jonathan Small

State revenue keeps rising. This is good news for many Oklahomans, but not for those wanting higher taxes.

The State Board of Equalization has adopted revenue estimates for the next fiscal year. The board meets three times a year to provide revenue estimates. According to the Oklahoma Constitution, the February numbers set the parameters for the next budget.

Last Tuesday, the board released this revenue certification along with updated numbers for the current year. For context, actual general revenue collections in 2017 were $5 billion. The board now predicts that general revenue collections for 2018 will be nearly $5.8 billion. And for the next fiscal year? The estimate is nearly $6.1 billion.

Some revenue growth from 2017 to 2018 comes from tax increases, but most is the result of economic recovery. This is one of those inconvenient truths: Government revenues depend most on a healthy economy, not increasing tax burdens.

Consider the sales and use tax: 2017 collections were $2 billion but are projected to exceed $2.5 billion next year. Personal income tax collections for 2017 were $1.8 billion but projected to be $2.1 billion for next year.

Despite the increases, Tuesday’s meeting confused many. Real revenues and projections keep going up, and now exceed prior appropriations, yet the state still has a projected “shortfall” of $168 million.

The “shortfall” comes from a new, unvetted wish list from the executive branch that makes it look like lawmakers have less to spend when they have much more. The largest of these is the emergency bailout of $141 million to state university medical centers. Like the Health Department, federal money has been used improperly for 15 years and, once discovered, the federal funds cease. Most of those funds – $110 million – will come from next year’s budget. And, let’s not forget the bailouts of unaccountable executive branch agencies totaling at least $172 million in the past few months. These and other items turn the would-be surplus into a “shortfall.”

Despite all this, the state’s Byzantine system of revolving funds and dedicated accounts mean that there will be plenty of money to build the next state budget. And pending reforms, like improving enrollment fraud checks in our Medicaid program, better using future tobacco settlement payments and eliminating wind subsidies, mean that even a teacher pay raise is now possible without damaging tax hikes.

There are plenty of policy goals for 2018: criminal justice reform, expanding education opportunities to the most vulnerable, judicial reforms, and teacher pay to name a few.

But, before anything else can be accomplished, we need an open, honest, and, most importantly, transparent discussion about state finances.

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

Lamb Campaign Unveils First Television Ad

Lamb Campaign Unveils First Television Ad
Primary Election - June 26th

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, February 27, 2018 – Oklahomans for Lamb unveiled today its first television advertisement in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Todd Lamb. The 30-second ad focuses on Lamb’s experience as a United States Secret Service agent and how those lessons helped shape his approach to leadership.  During his USSS career, Lamb not only provided security to two U.S. presidents, but also investigated financial crimes in Oklahoma and across America.

“During my tenure in the United States Secret Service, I was required to not only have a detailed plan, but a contingency plan and a backup contingency plan,” Lamb said.  “There was not a day that went by that I did not know exactly what was expected of myself in carrying out my mission, whether it was protection detail or criminal investigation. Today, as a candidate, my RENEW Oklahoma plan is the only detailed plan that does not increase taxes or rely on gimmicks to fund core government services, and it is being warmly embraced throughout the state. When elected governor, I will execute a daily plan to advance Oklahoma across many spectrums, including education, the economy, corrections, public safety, human services and transportation infrastructure.”

Lamb’s RENEW Oklahoma plan focuses on five primary initiatives:

  • Reform Government
  • Education
  • Neighborhoods
  • Economic Growth | Diversification
  • Workforce

Oklahomans interested in learning more about the RENEW Oklahoma plan and the Lamb campaign may visit VoteToddLamb.com, telephone the campaign headquarters at 405.252.4289 or email info@VoteToddLamb.com. 

AD:

Friday, February 23, 2018

Map: OKGOP makes history, now leads in majority of counties


In this update to my Voter Registration Maps series, we're looking at majority/plurality party by county. As with every other voter registration map I've posted, this map has changed some since last year.

Republican majority: 27 counties (26 in 2017)
Republican plurality: 13 counties (11 in 2017)
Democratic majority: 29 counties (33 in 2017)
Democratic plurality: 8 counties (7 in 2017)

For the first time in history, Republicans now lead voter registration (either an outright majority or a plurality) in a majority of Oklahoma's 77 counties; the GOP leads in 40 counties. Just last January, it was the Democratic Party that lead in 40 counties.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Coburn headlining 'Growth and Opportunity Summit' in Tulsa Saturday

AFP Co-Hosts 2018 Growth and Opportunity Summit in Tulsa Saturday
Dr. Tom Coburn to headline conference

TULSA, Okla.—The 2018 Growth and Opportunity (GO) Summit is coming to Tulsa this Saturday, Feb. 24 at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Tulsa. The event will be headlined by a keynote address from former U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Coburn address this year’s Growth and Opportunity Summit,” said. AFP-OK State Director John Tidwell. “Things are moving quickly at the State Capitol and the GO Summit provides an opportunity for citizens and voters to learn more about what the state legislature is up to and how they can impact lawmakers when they engage on issues.”

Among other learning opportunities available at the GO Summit, Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs Executive Vice President Trent England will give a lunch presentation on the Oklahoma Constitution, the longest state constitution in the country, and how the state can follow the law and best serve taxpayers. Rounding out the day will be a legislative roundtable with current members of the state legislature on the state budget “crisis” and what comes next for our state budget after the failure of the Step Up plan.

In between speakers will be breakout sessions that will provide a more detailed picture of issues that are being talked about at our State Capitol. These breakout sessions include:

  • Hollywood Handouts: Even in Oklahoma Hollywood is gobbling up tax credits. Where is the money going and what to we do about it?
  • Fact or Fiction: The Oklahoma Budget
  • Occupational Licensing 101: I need a license to do that?
  • Impacting your legislator: How to cut through the clutter and best communicate with your legislator.
  • Healthcare and Medicaid Reforms: How we can audit and right size our system through common sense reforms.
  • Inside the Oklahoma Education Funding Formula: What goes into the formula, what comes out and all the nonsense in-between.

The 2018 Growth and Opportunity Summit is presented by Americans For Prosperity-OK, Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs and Tulsa 912. For more information or to register for the conference please visit okgrowthsummit.com. Registration will also be available the day of the event.

For further information or an interview, reach John Tidwell at jtidwell@afphq.org or (918) 606-1182. 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Oklahoma Voter Registration Map, January 2018

In the latest installment of my long-running Voter Registration Maps series, we will once again take a look at voter registration across the state.

(click image to view larger)
Republicans continue making gains across the state, and now sit at 46.75% of all registered voters. Democrats are now at 38.18%, with Independents at 14.82%, and Libertarians at 0.243%.

Republicans went up 0.99%, Independents went up 0.2%, Libertarians went up 0.06%, and Democrats dropped 1.25%, for a net swing to the GOP of 2.24%.

Republicans took the lead in Mayes County, where they led by 5 registered voters (0.02%) as of January 15th, as well as in Osage and Washita Counties.

The next counties likely to fall to the GOP are Garvin (1.93% Democrat lead), Comanche (3.6% Democrat lead), Carter (5.2% Democrat lead), and Rogers Mills (6.33% Democrat lead).

Monday, February 19, 2018

House Dems respond to newest budget cuts


House Democrats Respond to Newest Round of Budget Cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Steve Kouplen, on behalf of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus, has released the following statement on the $44 million worth of budget cuts passed on the House floor Monday:

“It is unconscionable that the Republican leadership in the House has led the state to the point where further cuts to the current year budget are inevitable. Today, the House sent $44 million worth of cuts to be approved by the Senate. We firmly believe that there are still options on the table to bring in a small portion of revenue for this year and put the state on a better path forward beginning the next fiscal year.

The House Democratic Caucus stands ready to commit all 28 of our votes to a bipartisan revenue package that includes the Republican Party’s cigarette and motor fuel taxes -- along with our original request to increase the incentive gross production tax to 5 percent that has now garnered support from State Auditor Gary Jones and the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs. This package, coupled with the Senate passing the itemized deduction cap from 2017, would allow us to close the upcoming budget hole and provide teachers and state employees with a raise. With 100 percent of our caucus supporting, we would only need 48 Republicans, or 66 percent of the caucus, to pass this plan.

As we have mentioned in the past, it seems that the Republican Caucus is more worried about political cover while cutting agencies than actually finding a solution. Otherwise, we would be voting on revenue packages regularly until we find a combination that works.

Our fear is that as the race for the next Speaker of the House continues to heat up, we will continue to see fewer options for revenue and more of the same fiscal policy that has plagued this state for the last decade. Nevertheless, the House Democratic Caucus stands ready to negotiate at any time to prevent budget cuts and provide the revenue necessary for a teacher and state employee pay raise.”

OCPA column: A Better Plan

A Better Plan
by OCPA President Jonathan Small

It’s easy for insiders to support tax increases–much easier than it is for low- and middle-income families and small businesses to pay higher taxes.

That’s why the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has offered a revenue and reform plan. Our plan even received the endorsement of former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

What’s missing from our plan? A messy income tax hike on those who can’t afford it. Included is the same $5,000 teacher pay raise that big government advocates keep using for their bait-and-switch games. It’s time to give teachers the pay raises they deserve and stop the rest of the bureaucracy from using teachers as pawns while state agencies refuse to reform.

“It’s time for the circus to end,” Sen. Coburn said, noting that “teachers, the most vulnerable, working Oklahomans, and small businesses are being held captive and will suffer damaging tax increases that will harm families and ruin future efforts for pro-growth tax reform.”

Our alternative plan would set gross production taxes to 5 percent on new wells for 36 months. It would increase cigarette taxes by 75 cents a pack. Wind tax credits would be capped at $10 million. Voters would be asked to approve shifting new settlement payments from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust to the state’s Medicaid program, surely a worthy way to spend money earmarked for health. And, the Indian tribes would be asked to forgo $67 million in rebates on tobacco sales since they are also citizens of Oklahoma.

Those measures would pump $505.4 million into the state treasury to fund a $5,000 teacher pay raise. They wouldn’t make the tax code more complex or make revenue promises that are unlikely to materialize. And, they avoid burdening most families and working Oklahomans with more taxes.

If lawmakers are dead set on raising taxes, at least they should do it in the least damaging way. The more challenging but vital work remains: reforming and restructuring state government to prevent this annual exercise in panic budgeting from ever happening again.

We could start with rigorous audits of every state agency, questioning outcomes rather than just accounting for inputs, and by passing some real reforms like work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients and allowing schools to use local revenues for top priorities like teacher pay. We should also end Oklahoma's Hollywood film handout that paid millions to Harvey Weinstein.

As Sen. Coburn said, “It’s time for politicians to do their number one job, which is tough and accountable oversight.”

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

Rick Santorum endorses Coleman for Congress

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum Endorses Andy Coleman for Congress
Calls Coleman a Committed Conservative and National Security Leader

TULSA, OKLAHOMA: Today former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) endorsed Captain Andy Coleman for the open congressional seat in Oklahoma’s First District.

“Andy Coleman is exactly what Washington needs more of; a committed conservative with the foreign policy and national security experience necessary to make a real difference.  I served for eight years on the Senate Armed Services committee and saw first-hand the need for more veterans with real-world, on the ground experience in foreign affairs in the halls of Washington. Andy Coleman has the experience needed to be a leader on day one and as a defender of persecuted Christians in some of the most dangerous hot-spots in the world; I know he will never back down on his conservative values,” stated Santorum.

Santorum ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2012 and carried the state of Oklahoma in the Republican primary that year.  Every county in Oklahoma’s First Congressional District was carried by Santorum in 2012.

“I am truly honored and incredibly grateful to Senator Santorum for his support.  He has been a reliable defender of religious freedom, the innocent unborn and a leader on national security,” expressed Coleman.

Santorum’s endorsement comes on the heels of a surge of support for Coleman as he assembles a coalition of religious and national security conservatives drawn to his unique background and life experiences. 

Captain Andy Coleman is seeking the Republican nomination for the open congressional seat in Oklahoma’s First District.  He is an Air Force Academy graduate and former intelligence officer who served in the Middle East.  He is the only candidate in the race with military and national security experience – critical skill sets in short supply in the House.  For six years, Coleman led efforts to aid persecuted Christians in 17 hostile and restricted countries, as the Middle East Regional Director for the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian ministry based in Bartlesville.

Music Monday: The Olympic Spirit

In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics going on in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this week's Music Monday is The Olympic Spirit by American composer John Williams.


Enjoy!

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 JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

February 12th, 2018: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
January 29th, 2018: Hail to the Chief
January 23rd, 2018: Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 39 No. 15
January 15th, 2018: Bleed The Same
January 8th, 2018: Saint-Saëns' Symphony No.3 'Organ' (Maestoso)
December 25th, 2017: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 18th, 2017: I Saw Three Ships (The Piano Guys)
December 11th, 2017:Who Is He In Yonder Stall
December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Coleman calls for 5 debates in CD1 GOP Primary


Coleman Encourages a Series of Five Debates Prior to the June U.S. House Primary

TULSA, OKLAHOMA:  Captain Andy Coleman today issued a call for all Republican candidates running for the GOP nomination in the First District U.S. House race to join him for a series of public debates in advance of the June primary.

Coleman is the first candidate in the race to publicly call for debates and encouraged his fellow Republicans to join him for debates around the First District.

“In order to drain the swamp in Washington, we need elected officials who are accountable and willing to answer the tough questions. I believe that if we expect voters to put their confidence in us, we should look them in the eye and answer the hard questions,” stated Coleman.

Coleman encouraged media and civic organizations to sponsor a series of at least five debates.  “Candidate forums are helpful, but debates are even more so.  With multiple candidate schedules to coordinate, it is important this process begin early.  Several organizations are already considering holding debates, and I’m grateful for their efforts.  I’m hopeful my fellow candidates will join me in participating in as many debates as possible,” added Coleman.

Captain Andy Coleman is seeking the Republican nomination for the open congressional seat in Oklahoma’s First District.  He is an Air Force Academy graduate and former intelligence officer who served in the Middle East.  He is the only candidate in the race with military, national security and experience working in the Muslim world – critical skill sets in short supply in the U.S. Congress. For six years, Coleman led extensive field efforts in some of the world’s most hostile countries to aid persecuted Christians as the the Middle East Regional Director for the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian ministry based in Bartlesville. 

Coburn Joins Conservative Legislators in Proposing State Budget Reforms


Coburn Joins Conservative Legislators in Proposing State Budget Reforms

OKLAHOMA CITY – Several conservative Republican State Representatives today joined with former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn in proposing a path to a teacher pay raise without a tax increase.  The statement is below.

We appreciate the members of Step Up Oklahoma for their civic leadership in addressing the issue of balancing our state budget, raising teacher pay and reforming state government processes. We share their goals. We want to provide teachers a $5,000 pay raise and are confident there will be a permanent teacher pay raise this year with or without a tax increase. We also must balance our budget, which will also happen with or without a tax increase. And, we agree with reforming state government to cut out wasteful spending.

We agree with most of the means chosen by Step Up Oklahoma to accomplish these goals: cutting wasteful subsidies to industrial wind companies; allowing the governor to appoint agency directors, and several of the other ideas furthered by Step Up Oklahoma.

We also believe that the people of Oklahoma are rightly suspicious of state government.  The Health Department scandal shows that there still is a great deal of wasteful spending, “bloat” and “mission creep,” and even corruption in state spending.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) has over 1,200 employees who are supposed to catch such wasteful spending and root it out, but they failed.  Recently, the whistleblower in the Health Department scandal accused former OMES Director and Gov. Fallin’s Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger of grand jury tampering and witness intimidation. If this is how the head of OMES treats whistleblowers, it begs the question:  how many other whistleblowers have been discouraged from bringing wasteful spending to light?

Before raising taxes on Oklahomans, we must make sure state government is spending current tax money wisely, with real performance audits.  But a bill to empower the State Auditor’s Office to conduct real performance audits on agencies was vetoed by Gov. Fallin at Doerflinger’s request.

There are many ways to balance the budget and give teachers a $5,000 pay raise, the combined cost of which is about $760 million. Just last Thursday, it was announced that state revenue is up $812.5 million over last year due to the improving economy.

Moreover, a bill held over from last year, for Medicaid audits, would remove people no longer eligible for Medicaid in Oklahoma.  This one bill would generate savings of at least $86 million, and as Arkansas’ recent experience shows, more likely up to $240 million, which savings could be applied to more efficient uses in our budget.

Cutting out corporate welfare subsidies to the wind industry, often owned by foreign companies, could generate up to $172 million annually.

Using existing funds from the Commissioners of the Land Office could also provide additional millions for a teacher pay raise, without reducing any current payments to school districts and without dipping into the current principal corpus of the School Land Trust.

The Legislature could right now afford the $760 million needed for a $5,000 teacher pay raise and balance the budget without a tax increase.

And there’s more. For each $1 allowed in the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, $2.58 is generated for scholarships and $1.24 is saved for the state budget, due to leveraging private donations for education. We should increase the current cap on such scholarship credits.

Up to $95 million of annual revenue from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is currently used on such wasteful things such as ads for smoke-free strip clubs and drag shows, and billboards against soda pop. These funds could be rerouted to more efficient uses, also.  This reform would require a vote of the people.

School districts could be allowed flexibility to use any part of their property tax revenue on teacher pay if they wished, instead of being restricted to current uses such as buildings. This reform also would require a vote of the people.

Administration costs in our state’s colleges are 70 percent higher than the national average. Reducing such administrative costs to the national average would save the state over $300 million per year.  Currently, legislators are prohibited from making such line-item appropriations to the Regents for Higher Education.  A vote of the people would be required to allow line-items on the Regents’ budget.

There are many ways to reform our education system to make sure more of our tax dollars are going to teacher pay, rather than to excessive administration and other non-teacher costs.

Bills on all these topics have been introduced this session, but are awaiting committee hearings.

“For too long, bureaucrats have grown Oklahoma state government without being audited.  The sensible reforms offered here will help raise teacher pay and right-size Oklahoma’s government without a tax increase.  Medicaid audits, eliminating corporate wind subsidies, TSET reform, and better use of funds from the Commissioners of the Land Office are common-sense proposals that are long overdue,” Coburn said.

Let’s demand performance audits on the agencies and schools and cut out the waste before we increase taxes. We can still give a $5000 pay raise to teachers and balance the budget in the meantime.

Republican Lawmakers who are a part of this plan include:

Rep. Kevin Calvey
Rep. Scott McEachin
Rep. Bobby Cleveland
Rep. Kevin West
Rep. John Bennett
Rep. George Faught
Rep. Tom Gann
Rep. Rick West
Rep. Jeff Coody
Rep. Mike Ritze

Bunny Chambers endorses Cathy Costello


GOP LEADER, BUNNY CHAMBERS, ENDORSES CATHY COSTELLO FOR LABOR COMMISSIONER

    The former President of the conservative Oklahoma Eagle Forum, Bunny Chambers, is endorsing Cathy Costello in her campaign for Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner.

    “Cathy Costello is a woman of principles and principles are critically important for a Labor Commissioner,” Bunny Chambers says.  “Costello will be a Labor Commissioner who is evenhanded and fair - never vindictive in the application of the law.  The wrong person in that position could wield a great deal of power against well-meaning employers who disagree on certain policies. Oklahoma must have a Labor Commissioner who can exercise professional restraint and objective judgement in any situation.  Her decades of running successful businesses makes Cathy Costello the ideal conservative to be Oklahoma’s next Labor Commissioner.”

    In addition to leading the Oklahoma Eagle Forum, Bunny Chambers also was state leader of the Pro-Family Forum and National Committeewoman to the Republican National Convention.

    “Bunny Chambers has a national reputation as a dedicated and principled conservative,“ says Cathy Costello. “That is why I consider this endorsement to be a tremendous honor. A Labor Commissioner should always execute the duties of the office without bias or personal agenda. I want voters to know my conscious will never be a casualty of political expediency.”

    Cathy Costello is a co-founder of several domestic and international businesses and is a sought-after national speaker and advocate on issues of mental health. Costello has been instrumental in passing major landmark state and federal legislation to improve how employers address mental health needs in the workplace.

       The Republican primary for Labor Commissioner is scheduled for June 26, 2018 and the general election will be held November 6, 2018.

    For more information on Cathy Costello's campaign for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, visit her website at www.CostelloForOK.com.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Coburn joins Jarrin Jackson for town hall in Durant this evening


Dr. Tom Coburn, former US Senator, to Join Candidate for US Congress, Former US Army Captain Jarrin Jackson at Town Hall in Durant

Dr. Tom Coburn, former US Senator, will join US Congressional Candidate Jarrin Jackson at a Town Hall event at Durant Public Library on Friday evening, February 16, 6:30pm at 1515 W. Main, Durant.

In a recent statement, Dr. Coburn said he is backing Jarrin Jackson’s candidacy because, “Who we send to Congress is really important...Jarrin Jackson has virtue. He has shown his character by already doing a tremendous amount in service to our country. He is a combat veteran, a West Point graduate, a leader."

Coburn continues, "People are worried about our country - it isn't just one thing that is wrong, but there are many challenges that have developed to feeling insurmountable because many who hold office don't have the character trait of virtue - the firmness of purpose and courage to carry out high standards, no matter the cost. Jarrin Jackson has virtue - and has shown from his service in the military, serving veterans and working in his community, and growing his restaurant franchise business - he holds himself to a high standard and commitment to doing what is right for our communities, for our state, and for our nation.  Jarrin Jackson is a patriot and a warrior, and is not going to abuse your trust. Because he has virtue."

The incumbent Congressman Mullin is also currently being outed as a pro-pork politician in ads by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, highlighting Mullin's support of bringing back earmarks just as our nation is working to pay off the current crippling debt, and going back on his promise to serve three terms to avoid being a career politician.

Jackson stated, "It is an honor and privilege to have Dr. Coburn's support. I look forward to serving according to the principles of his legacy. I am ready to take the torch and carry it forward for our country."

Jarrin Jackson is a combat veteran, who owns franchise restaurants and works to find jobs for transitioning active duty members to secure their first civilian job as they reintegrate into private sector. The Republican primary election for Congress is June 26th.

For more information on ongoing schedule of Town Hall events, please visit his Facebook page and his campaign website at www.JarrinJackson.com.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Senate bringing top agencies back for further budget hearings


Senate bringing top agencies back for further budget hearings

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday will hold the first of a series of hearings to further review the budgets of the top appropriated state agencies.

“Whether the state is in an economic boom or a bust, one of our most important jobs is providing oversight of how agencies spend our tax dollars to ensure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus. “These hearings will provide senators with more information about agency budgets and spending, which, in turn, will help us make more informed decisions when it comes to writing the budget.”

Schulz said typically, agency budget hearings are held by appropriations subcommittees during the interim. Bringing agencies back to the Capitol during the legislative session for a hearing in front of the full Senate Appropriations Committee will give all senators and the public an opportunity to learn more about agency budgeting and spending practices, he said.

Senator Kim David, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the total appropriations of the agencies that will appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee represent 92 percent of the annual appropriated state budget.

“These agencies consume the lion’s share of the appropriated state budget so it makes sense that we give more time to review these budgets,” said David, R-Porter. “These budget hearings will assist us in providing oversight of how agencies spend your tax dollars. Additionally, holding hearings during the session will bring more people into the process, providing lawmakers and the public with even more information about the state budget.”

The hearings will be held in Room 535 of the Oklahoma Capitol. The hearing schedule (subject to change, if necessary) is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 20
3:30 pm:  Oklahoma Ethics Commission
4:30 pm:  Oklahoma State Department of Education

Tuesday, Feb. 27
3:30 pm:  Oklahoma Health Care Authority
4:30 pm:  Oklahoma Health Department

Tuesday, March 6
3:30 pm:  State Regents for Higher Education
4:30 pm:  Department of Public Safety and/or Office of Juvenile Affairs

Tuesday, March 13
3:30 pm:  Department of Human Services
4:30 pm:  Department of Career and Technology Education

Tuesday, March 20
3:30 pm:  Department of Corrections
4:30 pm:  Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Tuesday, March 27
3:30 pm:  Department of Transportation
4:30 pm:  Office of Management and Enterprise Services

Jones playing dealmaker? House Dems join his budget proposal


At a press conference held a short time ago, State Auditor Gary Jones offered his solution to for a teacher and state employee pay raise, flanked by the House Democratic caucus, which endorsed his plan.

Jones' plan has some similarity to the OCPA proposal released on Monday, with the addition of the fuel tax increase. Jones said that this would simplify taxes by making the fuel taxes the same (diesel is currently taxed 3 cents less than gasoline) and the GPT and income tax the same (5%)

House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs) pledged all 28 Democratic House votes for the plan, while Democrats also added that they'd like to take up the itemized-deduction cap bill that is sitting in the Senate (another ~$100M in more taxes new revenue).

UCO changes mind, re-invites Ken Ham to speak


UCO CHANGES MIND - INVITES CHRISTIAN SPEAKER

After an overwhelmingly negative response in the media and from the public, President Don Betz of the University of Central Oklahoma has extended a personal invitation for Ken Ham to speak on the UCO campus.  Ham is the founder and president of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter near Cincinnati. 

Ham had initially been invited to the campus by the UCO Student Government, but the invitation was rescinded after substantial bullying and intimidation was levied on UCOSA President Stockton Duvall by campus LGBT activists. 

“I am happy with the change of action,” said local pastor Paul Blair.  “I only wish there was a change of heart.” 

Blair is Senior Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond.  Blair extended an invitation for Ham to speak at his church after UCO campus representatives broke the initial contract. 

“Subsequent university press releases continued to shirk any responsibility and confused the facts,” Blair added.  “They failed to protect the safety and well-being of student Duvall, neglected to protect Mr. Ham’s First Amendment rights and then refused to admit their mistake.” 

Blair continued: “The university has a record of spending substantial taxpayer dollars on Drag Queen Shows and Sex Carnivals. However, it resists allowing conservative or Christian voices to be heard.  There is a systemic problem that has still not been addressed.  I urge UCO alumni and legislators to act.  Oklahoma is a conservative state.  It is shocking to see a public university so out of touch with the people who fund it.”

Ham will be speaking on Monday, March 5, from 3 PM to 5 PM in Constitution Hall at UCO.  He will be accompanied in the campus presentation by Dr. Georgia Purdom.  Dr. Purdom (PhD, molecular genetics, Ohio State University) will address the topic “Genetics and the Bible.”  Ham will speak a second time that day at Fairview Baptist Church at 6:30 PM.  Fairview Baptist Church is located at 1230 N. Sooner Road in Edmond.  Topics will be different for both events.  There is no charge to attend either event, but seating is limited at both venues.

Fallin comments on Doerflinger's resignation

Following a major story by investigative journalists at TheFrontier that uncovered a 2012 domestic violence incident and interrupted 911 call that had been covered up, Preston Doerflinger (Gov. Fallin's "jack of all trades" appointee) has now resigned as interim commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health and as Cabinet secretary of finance, administration and information technology.

Doerflinger's wife called he choked her during an argument, after which she called 911. Doerflinger took the phone from her, ended the call, and choked her again before police arrived. His wife did not press charges because she "she did not want him to lose his job [as interim Department of Human Services commissioner]."

The Frontier articles are must-reads as they are full of additional details:




Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Resignation of Preston Doerflinger

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement following the resignation of Preston Doerflinger as interim commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health and as Cabinet secretary of finance, administration and information technology.


“The board of the Oklahoma State Department of Health has accepted the resignation of Preston Doerflinger as interim commissioner. He has also resigned as secretary of finance, administration and information technology.

“Preston has played a critical role in state government, serving as director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, and Cabinet secretary of finance, administration and information technology. During the past seven years, his efforts saved tax dollars by implementing cost-saving reforms and consolidating state agencies. He also helped guide the Department of Human Services during a critical time when key reforms, such as the Pinnacle Plan, were implemented. I appreciate his service to the state.

“I was unaware of the personal situation involving Preston and his ex-wife almost six years ago. Mrs. Doerflinger did not contact my office about this matter. I take domestic violence very seriously, but I will take Mrs. Doerflinger at her word that this matter was not a case of domestic violence. I respect Preston’s decision to move on from his government service, and wish him and his family the best.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Election Night: Coburn holds on, Holt and Murdock win


Muskogee Mayor Bob Coburn (hint for the media: he's Tom's cousin, not brother) eked out a narrow victory tonight over his ex-son-in-law Wayne Divelbiss. After polls closed, Divelbiss took an early lead, at one point nearly reaching 56%, but as the last precincts started to come in the gap narrowed.

Two precincts (including Coburn's home precinct) experienced voting machine problems; those ballots had to re-counted at the election board office. With 14 of 15 precincts reported, Divelbiss still led by over 50 votes. Coburn's home precinct was the last to be counted, and came in big for him, pushing him to a 71-vote victory.

Divelbiss ran against Coburn in the 2016 mayoral election, where Coburn defeated him 71% to 20%. This time, Coburn beat him by just 71 votes, or 2.38%.

In other Muskogee city elections, Ward I City Councilman Ivory Vann won reelection, and Jaime Stout won the open Ward II seat.

All municipal offices in Muskogee are technically nonpartisan, but Coburn, Divelbiss and Stout are registered Republicans; Vann is a prominent Democrat.

In Oklahoma City, State Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) cruised to 78% in his mayoral bid.

In the State Senate District 27 special election, State Rep. Casey Murdock (R-Felt) easily defeated his Democratic challenger.

Club For Growth TV ad hits Mullin on earmarks and term limits


From Club For Growth:

DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN MARKWAYNE MULLIN PROMISED TO PROTECT TAXPAYERS? HE DOESN’T.

Washington, DC – Today Club for Growth unveiled a new 15-second ad to bring attention to the wasteful spending practice of earmarks that Rep. Markwayne Mullin embraces.

Club for Growth’s ad, “Amnesia,” begins airing on TV in Oklahoma and will also run digitally.

To watch Club for Growth’s ad, click here [or watch below].  The transcript of the 15-second ad can also be found below.



Club for Growth -- “Amnesia
TV ad transcript:
Is Markwayne Mullin losing his memory?
First Mullin forgot about his term limits promise.
Then he complained about spending. 
But now wants to bring back earmarks – - special interest spending scams that cost taxpayers billions.
Remind Mullin to just say NO to earmarks.

Platform Caucus comments on failure of Step Up plan, propose alternatives


OK Republican Platform Caucus Comments on 
Failure of Step Up Oklahoma Plan

OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, the Oklahoma State Legislature said NO to one of the largest tax increases in Oklahoma history – a tax plan proposed by the Oklahoma Step Up Coalition. This tax increase was being advertised as the only way to pay for a classroom teacher pay raise; a statement that simply is not true.  There are other options.

The bills proposed by Step Up Oklahoma represent the largest tax increase in over a generation – taking approximately $704 million dollars from the pockets of hard-working Oklahoma taxpayers to fund a $280 million teacher pay raise plus $424 million worth of projects for special interests and government agencies.

When President Trump pushed through the massive tax reform package less than two months ago, the result was an immediate economic resurgence as businesses and individuals realized they would have more money to invest and spend.

Step Up Oklahoma does Just the opposite of the Trump plan. While the coalition originally proposed a variety of free-market reforms, many were dropped in an effort to build a broader coalition.

The bills raise taxes through what Dr. Tom Coburn referred to as sham income tax reforms* that:
  • $41 mil  Increase the Standard Deduction Every Time you File Your Taxes April 15
  • $101 mil  Limit/Reduce the Itemized Deduction every April 15
  • $133 mil  Increase the Gross Production Tax
  • $173 mil  Gas and Diesel Fuel Tax
  • $256 mil  Tobacco Tax
It is estimated that Oklahoma could benefit from the Trump tax cuts by approximately $2.3 billion. It is unfortunate that lawmakers and special interests are so quick to try and grab that money.

Our economy is finally recovering from the devastating crash in oil and natural gas that began in 2014 and continued into 2016. As oil prices have begun to recover, revenues to the state have been up dramatically over past months.  Next week the Governor’s office reports how much money we will be able to appropriate for this coming year – these are called the ‘certified funds.’  We expect the certified funds to be up significantly compared to a year ago meaning that it makes no sense to pass a massive tax increase one week before we learn we have a budget surplus.

While the OK Republican Platform Caucus has taken a strong position against government waste and tax increases, we have been diligent to work for almost a year to find ways to balance the budget, promote government reform, fund core services and pay for a classroom teacher pay raise.

Some of these ideas include:

  1. Classroom Teacher Pay Raise – The CLO (Commission Land Office) has a current balance of $2.4 billion in assets and generated $322 million in 2017. This income stream would more than cover a teacher pay raise.
  2. Medicaid Audits (Arkansas recently audited Medicaid recipients and found 80,000 recipients no longer eligible to receive services. Similar audits in Oklahoma could save approximately $240 million per year. )
  3. TSET Reform – The tobacco endowment is currently valued at $1.3 billion. Income from this endowment is approximately $50 million per year and ongoing settlement funds from the tobacco companies are approximately $40 million. We propose using this $40 million to fund direct residency programs for our teaching hospitals.
  4. SWAG – the Oklahoma state agencies spend approximately $40 million on promotional throw away items.
  5. Agency Audits
  6. We do not support the repeal / modification of State Question 640.

Members supporting this press release include:

Rep. Chuck Strohm
Rep. Sean Roberts
Rep. George Faught
Rep. John Bennett
Rep. Rick West
Rep. Jeff Coody
Rep. Tom Gann
Rep. Scott McEachin3

*Reference to an op-ed written by Dr. Tom Coburn in The Oklahoman titled “In Oklahoma, treat the cause of the problem.”

GOP Gubernatorial Debate tonight in Tulsa


The Tulsa Area Republican Assembly is hosting a Republican gubernatorial debate this evening, moderated by Russell Mills of Tulsa's NEWS102.3 & AM740 KRMG. Co-hosts of the debate are the Tulsa 912 Project and the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club.

The debate will start at 6:30pm, and will be held at Brookside Baptist Church, located at 36th and Peoria in Tulsa. At last check, 5 of the 6 Republican candidates had confirmed they would be in attendance.

State Auditor Jones: Let the Audit Speak for Itself


At the State Auditor’s Office, we focus on two primary matters – accountability and transparency. To achieve these two objectives, our work must be beyond reproach and the  entanglement of politics.

Ours is a constitutionally-created, independent office with the principal purpose to examine and inspect whether public officials properly expended public funds.

The constitution names the State Auditor before the Attorney General. We are not agents of the Attorney General and we do not work for the Attorney General.

Our audits examine public records. We look at how public funds are spent. A finding of probable fraud, waste, or abuse is only stated when fully supported by financial records and other evidence.

The Special Investigative Audit of the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust (LICRAT) was a review of public documents to determine if the LICRAT Board complied with state law in the expenditure of public funds. Special Audits differ from other types of audits because we are not required to conduct these audits in accordance with government auditing standards.

A Special Audit must be requested and conducted when financial mismanagement is believed to have occurred. The LICRAT Special Audit was initially sought by for U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. The only reason to involve the AG was because his office is one of five statutorily permitted ways to request a Special Audit. The audit was conducted on behalf of Oklahoma taxpayers.

The former attorney general acted improperly when he shared the contents of the audit report with the subject of the audit. The impropriety was further compounded when he refused to share the audit with the people who paid for it – the taxpayers of Oklahoma.

The LICRAT audit wasn’t about Scott Pruitt, left-wing environmentalists, Andy Lester, or politics. As the State Auditor, I have taken the position that the people of our state deserve to know why the LICRAT Board spent over $3.6 million on a project when the cost could have been less than $600,000.

If, as Mr. Pruitt’s spokesman stated, the audit was “shoddy,” then release it so the public can make that determination. If, as Mr. Lester stated, the audit report determined “no direct evidence of a conspiracy against the state,” then release the audit so the public can make that determination.

The State Auditor is the fact finder, not the prosecutor. The sole discretion to prosecute is always retained by the prosecutor.

The only issue here is when the prosecutor determines not to proceed – don’t cover up the issue by withholding a public document, paid for with public funds, and conducted on behalf of the public.

Audits are complicated. Many times, fraud and embezzlement are complicated. Often audits are confusing to a prosecutor who isn’t confident he can sufficiently explain it to a jury in order to obtain a guilty verdict. As such, much white-collar crime goes unprosecuted.

I have confidence in the work product of our office, its people, and their professionalism. We stand by the courage of our convictions while others cast aspersions on the reputation and integrity of those who favor accountability and transparency.

Let the Audit Speak for itself.

Press Release Note: Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones doesn’t issue many news releases. As auditor, he has consistently taken the position that an audit should speak for itself. Since taking office in 2011, Gary has issued 15 news releases, of which, four were about a specific audit.

Stitt launches first TV ad for gubernatorial campaign

KEVIN STITT LAUNCHES FIRST TV AD IN GOP PRIMARY FOR GOVERNOR

TULSA, Oklahoma (February 13, 2018) – The Kevin Stitt for Governor campaign launched its first TV ad today in the Republican primary for governor of Oklahoma.  The 60-second TV ad, titled “Hard Times,” is a substantial buy that will appear statewide on broadcast and cable stations.

“It’s hard times right now here in Oklahoma. So where do we turn for the fix? To the career politicians that got us into this mess? Our state is looking at a huge budget nightmare and our schools are at four days a week,” says Kevin Stitt in the ad. “I’ve solved big problems my whole life. I don’t think the career politicians know how to fix it.”

The introductory ad is aimed at helping voters get to know Stitt, a fourth-generation Oklahoman and founder of Tulsa-based Gateway Mortgage Group. Stitt highlights the current problems facing the state and then draws voters’ attention to his proven leadership and problem-solving skills in the private sector that allowed him to build a successful mortgage company starting out with “just $1,000 and a computer.”

Stitt’s theme targets voters that seek an alternative from career politicians. The TV ad highlights how he has spent the past two decades focused on his faith, family, and creating more than 1,100 private sector jobs by the age of 45. Stitt promises to bring his Oklahoma-values and his business acumen to state government.

“Because Oklahoma’s turnaround starts right here, right now,” says Stitt at the close of the ad.

At the end of January, Stitt concluded his first “Listening Tour” in all 77 counties, where he held town halls to hear the concerns and ideas of voters to address state government. Stitt will continue traveling across Oklahoma, sharing more of his vision to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state and roll out conservative ideas under his five-pillar platform to launch Oklahoma’s turnaround.

Teague: Step Up tax hike was irresponsible, unstable

State Rep. Tess Teague (R-Choctaw) posted these thoughts after the failure of the Step Up Oklahoma tax hike bill, HB1033XX.


Rep. Tess Teague:

Today, as you all know, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted on the tax increases that were part of the Step Up Oklahoma plan put together by a coalition of businessmen. The tax increases would have totaled $723 million and would have represented the largest tax increase in state history.

The vote was held open until 11:00 p.m. tonight and did not pass. The final vote was 63-35. Being that it needed 76 aye, the bill has failed.

I voted no.

I heard from many people in this district before the vote, during it and afterwards. While I know some were for it - and who can blame teachers for wanting (needing) a pay raise and advocating for this legislation - most of this district was against it. I have been on the doorsteps this interim and last week during the evenings after session. I've been in your living rooms discussing the budget and tax increases. Today when I went to the Capitol to vote, I took those conversations with me. I stood up against Step Up. While teachers certainly need a pay raise, the Legislature owes it to this state to make sure that happens the right way and we owe it to hard working taxpayers to be respectful of your hard earned dollars and not rob you of it.

I cannot in full conscience vote on such a massive tax increase package because I believe it is irresponsible governance to ignore the systematic issues that got Oklahoma into this mess and stick my hands into taxpayer's pockets to solve budget woes. Band-aid taxation is not and will not be the answer. This tax package would have raised, among other things, your income tax and your gas tax. Why have business leaders with above average salaries put together a plan that puts the financial burden on working class Oklahomans? Average salaries of my neighbors in HD101 look a lot different than this coalition. This is how we're supposed to step up? The onus is not on citizens - it is on the Legislature.

It might interest many of you to know that state tax collections are running ahead of schedule for this fiscal year and our economy is ticking up (not to mention, many of the bills we passed in regular session and in the special sessions raised a lot of revenue) and we are actually about to find out in about a week and a half that we have a surplus. I hear that number will be somewhere in the range of $170 million. Wondering why this plan was being rushed through with the utmost emergence right now and just could not wait?? Because how silly would it be to let that news come out and then try to play like we still needed it. When I have money in the bank, I don't ask for a loan and neither should our state. State revenue is up $815 million over the last year, which is enough to balance the budget and give teachers a $5,000 pay raise without a tax increase.

I've also been asked, "You voted no, so what's your solution?" There are so many answers to that. The most obvious being that waste, fraud and abuse is not just a hypothetical, but a proven issue in our state agencies and we have got to get control of our state government. Yes, we need audits. Yes, we need investigations. Yes, this will save money and stop the bleeding. No, it's not the only solution. There are countless other reforms including, but not limited to, BTU tax on oil (60% of this would be paid by people out of state and would net a $1 billion return if not more), using existing funds from the CLO could pay for a $5,000 teacher pay raise, TSET funds could be used, administrative costs in higher education could be brought to the national average and would save $300 million per year. The list goes on. I've been repeating today that although the future looks bleak and it might not seem like there is light at the end of the tunnel, it's only the second week of session. Now that the Step Up plan has been defeated, I believe the Legislature can get back to work on something that can pass without harming the hard working taxpayer.

I'd also note that I find it so incredibly strange that we were ready to attach a teacher pay raise to an unstable income source. The state relied too heavily on oil and gas and when it tanked, so did the state. If we attach our teacher pay raise to something with such fluctuation, can we really consider it stable? Or what about the cigarette tax? Wasn't the incentive for the cigarette tax cessation? Aren't we passing this tax to get people to stop smoking? Well if people stop smoking...then the tax money stops coming in. So....there goes the pay raise. I can't believe this seemed like a viable option. Teachers, you deserve better!

I want to thank those of you who have interacted with me and called my cell phone, called my office, sent emails, reached out on Facebook, or given me tea and soda when I stop by your house! I want to especially thank you for your understanding and patience as I go through all of my correspondence and write each and every one of you back. I want to make sure I give everyone the time they deserve. As you can see from this post, the explanations get lengthy.

As always, I welcome your feedback, thoughts, questions, concerns, etc.

Teague represents House District 101, which covers portions of southeastern Oklahoma County.