Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The REAL reason Gary Jones is being evicted from the State Capitol

From News9:
OKLAHOMA CITY - With the renovations to the state Capitol, one agency is getting kicked to the curb. The state auditor said he’s being told to leave, and he believes it’s because he’s ruffled some feathers.

"It’s a concerted effort,” Auditor Gary Jones said. “I mean, for the last two years, they have gutted our budget in an amount that's almost obnoxious. And you know what's sad is when they are not truthful about it."

Jones has long been a very vocal critic of government waste. It’s his job. Now, he believes he’s being punished for it.

State Auditor Gary Jones broke the news yesterday afternoon in a Facebook post:
"Since the Oklahoma State Capitol was built the Oklahoma State Auditor's office has had an office there. Sadly we were just notified that after the next legislative session we are being told to vacate and find rental space somewhere else at an additional cost to taxpayers of $70,000 annually. We are not happy! This decision was made by the House, Senate, and Office of Management Services with no input from our office."
Jones told the Oklahoman this:
“I think obviously it's political in the fact they don't feel like we're important enough to have space in the Capitol,” Jones said. “As to whether it's vindictive, I can't help but think that it is. Maybe we've been a little too vocal talking about how much money the House and Senate is spending, along with others. I'm talking about the raises that have been given by OMES — the huge raises whenever we were supposed to be cutting back. They've got people comparable to ours making anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a year more than ours.”

Blogger and longtime GOP activist Steve Fair pointed out that Jones has made a lot of enemies at the Capitol with his opinionated nature and his auditing work, and that played a role in this decision. I think there's a lot of validity to that. Gary Jones is not one to go along to get along, and he's irritated a lot of powerful players in the Capitol.

However, I think I've figured out the REAL reason why the Auditor's office is the one being evicted, rather than say, the Office of Management and Enterprise Service (OMES).

Secretary of Finance and OMES Director Preston Doerflinger, following
a Jan. 2015 DUI-related arrest. He was recently cited for driving with a revoked license.

If Gary Jones needed to go to the Capitol for a meeting, he can drive himself there. If Preston Doerflinger needed to, he'd have to walk or get a designated driver.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Music Monday: Liberty

This week's Music Monday is Liberty, played by Oklahoma fiddler Kyle Dillingham.


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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

SoonerPoll finds rising support for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

State Sen. Kyle Loveless

SoonerPoll: Support for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform on the rise

(August 24th, 2016)  New data from Sooner Poll shows more Oklahomans than ever want to see Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. Support for reform is up to 73.7% in 2016 compared to 69.9% in 2015.

"These numbers clearly show Oklahomans are ready for lawmakers to act on Civil Asset Forfeiture," says Bill Shapard, President of Sooner Poll.  "Despite overwhelming public support during the 2016 legislative session, for whatever reason, leadership decided to brush the issue aside.  But, when almost 3 out of 4 Oklahomans want to see this issue addressed, lawmakers really need to pay attention."

Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) has championed Civil Asset Forfeiture reform for more than a year and plans to re-introduce legislation in 2017.  Sen. Loveless has built a coalition spanning the political spectrum to push for substantive reform next year.

"The work to reform Oklahoma's Civil Asset Forfeiture system has always transcended partisan lines and this new poll only amplifies the call to end the practice of seizing money and property from Oklahomans who have not been convicted of any crime," says Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.  "Oklahomans across the political spectrum understand that empowering the government to take a person's property or money with very little, if any, actual cause is an affront to our fundamental rights and freedoms."

Senator Loveless believes the burden now lies solely on the legislature to fix a broken system.

"This is not a law enforcement issue, this is an issue where government is wrong to take people's property without proving anything in court," Sen. Loveless says.  "Oklahomans of all walks of life, metro area to the smallest town, blue or red, left or right, regardless of where they come from Oklahomans want serious forfeiture reform."

Senator Loveless has requested an interim study on Civil Asset Forfeiture.  A date for that hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The poll surveyed 398 Oklahoma voters from July 20-25th and has a margin of error of 4.91%. The questions and results are posted at www.SoonerPoll.com.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Music Monday: Summon the Heroes

With yesterday's conclusion of the 2016 Summer Olympics, we'll finish our Olympic Music Monday theme with Summon The Heroes by the great composer John Williams.


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

Friday, August 19, 2016

Charlie Meadows' runoff election picks

"Charlie's Picks" for the August 23rd runoff

The following picks represent the opinions of the OCPAC leadership team.  We have noted which candidates were specifically endorsed and funded by OCPAC based on their conservative principles and policies.

Oklahoma Senate

District 13 (Garvin, Pottawatomie, Seminole) – JET MCCOY has name recognition from his rodeo adventures and would be favored to win.  OCPAC did not interview or endorse, but Greg McCortney is one of the public educrat candidates.

District 19 (Alfalfa, Garfield, Kay) – DR. ROSS VANHOOSER – Charlie met with Dr. Vanhooser and believes he would provide a conservative counterbalance to the liberal Dr. Yen in the Senate.

District 23 (Canadian, Kingfisher) – MATT STACY – OCPAC did not endorse either of the candidates, but Matt is for education choice.  His opponent, backed by educrats and every current, past, and future office-holder in the district, looks like and smells like a good-ol’ boy.  Matt is the candidate talking about principles, freedom, and smaller government.

District 25 (Tulsa) – JOE NEWHOUSE – OCPAC endorsed Joe, and his opponent is a recently registered Republican who is pro-abortion.

District 31 (Comanche, Cotton, Stephens) – YOUR CHOICE – Both candidates are running on platforms to protect the monopoly of public education.

District 39 (Tulsa) – AMANDA TEEGARDEN – OCPAC endorsed Amanda, one of the most conservative, principled candidates we have ever met.

District 41 (Oklahoma) - PAUL BLAIR – OCPAC endorsed Paul.  He will fight to protect life, liberty, and property.  He will be a true leader and game-changer in the Senate.  He was also endorsed by Dr. Tom Coburn.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

District 8 (Mayes, Rogers, Wagoner) – YOUR CHOICE – OCPAC did not interview or endorse in this race.  Both candidates are established businessmen who do not need the job.  Their websites sound good on the issues and do not raise any red flags.

District 60 (Caddo, Canadian) – YOUR CHOICE – OCPAC interviewed both of these candidates and found them solid on most issues.  Chad Slane was polished and well spoken, and Rhonda Baker was recruited by Rep. Dan Fisher; therefore, we did not endorse in the race.  However, we discovered one difference between the two:  Rhonda Baker supports Education Savings Accounts, while Chad was opposed to funding school choice.

District 67 (Tulsa) – SCOTT MCEACHIN – OCPAC and Tom Coburn have endorsed Scott.  It is worth noting that Scott is an intelligent and ardent supporter of states’ rights.

District 85 (Oklahoma) – MATT JACKSON – Matt is a life-long Republican activist and conservative.

County Offices.  We do not usually involve ourselves in local elections, but these particular races are noteworthy:

Cleveland County Court Clerk – MIKE REYNOLDS

Logan County Sheriff – JIM BAUMAN – Jim is a constitutional sheriff in the likeness of Sheriff Richard Mack.  He has attended multiple continuing education conferences with Mack.  Bauman is an ardent supporter of the right to defend one’s self with arms.  In fact, we have heard that Bauman’s opponent once tried to ban guns at a public concert where the law allowed citizens to carry, and Sheriff Bauman had to intervene against the out-of-line police chief who now wants his job.

Oklahoma County Court Clerk – RICK WARREN – Rick is the sitting clerk and has done a fine job.  He is an independent businessman who is not after a political career; he is a true public servant.

Oklahoma County Clerk – DAVID B. HOOTEN – The sitting clerk, Caudill, is essentially a Democrat and has been caught lying about endorsements.  It is time for a change in Oklahoma County.

{{ Blog note -- I will be out-of-pocket for a few days, so posting will be light or non-existent. Be sure to check out the blogs on the blogrolls on the right sidebar for more news and opinion.   -JF }}

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tom Coburn endorses Paul Blair in SD41 runoff

Dr. Tom Coburn Endorses Edmond's Paul Blair for State Senate

(August 16, 2016)    Former U.S. Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn, is wholeheartedly endorsing Paul Blair for State Senate in next week's GOP primary runoff election.  Dr. Coburn praises Republican Paul Blair as the best man to represent Edmond's Senate District 41.

    "I've known Paul Blair for 12 years.  I know he is a committed Christian," says Sen. Coburn.  "He is a devoted family man, a patriot, and a man of principle who won't sell out to special interests.  That's why I'm endorsing Paul Blair for State Senate."

    Although Dr. Tom Coburn retired from the United States Senate two years ago, he remains one of Oklahoma's most influential politicians, and is revered in the GOP as the gold standard of integrity.

    "Paul Blair is a patriot and a man of principle who won't sell out to special interests which is exactly why they are attacking him now," Sen. Coburn says.  "Paul Blair can't be bought, he won't compromise, and forsake the values we hold dear in Oklahoma.  Our state is facing serious challenges and we need the experience and strong leadership Paul Blair can bring to the table."

    After weeks of unfounded political smears, Paul Blair says he is both proud and appreciative to see Oklahoma's finest Republicans stand by his side.

    "There may be no higher honor as a Republican candidate in Oklahoma than to get the endorsement of Dr. Tom Coburn," says Blair.  "Everyone respects Dr. Coburn as the elder statesman of Oklahoma's Republican Party and for good reason.  Dr. Tom was always principled, steadfast, and had the courage to act on his convictions, even when it wasn't politically easy.  I am humbled to know Tom Coburn believes I will lead with the same values and resolution he has."

    Sen. Coburn joins a long roster of Oklahoma leaders endorsing Paul Blair, including U.S. Congressmen Steve Russell and Jim Bridenstine and State Representatives Lewis Moore, Kevin Calvey and Jason Murphey.

    Paul Blair is a lifelong Edmond resident, successful business owner and Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church.  For details on his plans for Oklahoma visit www.PaulBlairForOK.com.

    The GOP primary runoff election is Tuesday, August 23rd.  The general election will be November 8, 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Two third-party candidates sue to access Oklahoma ballot

L: Green Party nominee Jill Stein  ||  R: American Delta Party & Reform Party nominee Roque De La Fuente

US presidential hopefuls sue for access to Oklahoma ballot

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —Two U.S. presidential hopefuls and some of their supporters in Oklahoma are suing the state, arguing its ballot-access laws unconstitutionally discriminate against third-party and independent candidates for president.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court on behalf of Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of Massachusetts and independent presidential candidate Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente of Florida. Three Oklahoma residents and Stein supporters also are listed as plaintiffs in the suit.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, Tulsa attorney James Linger seeks an injunction to stop the Oklahoma Election Board from enforcing its ballot-access laws. An Election Board spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Read more from The Journal Record (subscription required) and KGOU.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fallin, Doerflinger still working on special session proposals

by Sean Murphy, AP

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin's top budget negotiator said Friday he is working to develop several proposals for a teacher pay raise, including some plans that would not use a $140 million surplus that was left over at the end of the fiscal year.

Fallin's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said he's looking at several options for a teacher pay raise at or above $5,000 a year. Doerflinger said some of those proposals will use all or some of the $140.8 million surplus, but others will use none of it.

"If we agreed with the Legislature on a teacher pay package not using the $140 million, that money could then be redirected in special session to the agencies that need it the most," Doerflinger said. "Under that scenario, you could see agencies like (the departments of Human Services) and Corrections and others with big needs get more funds returned than they would under the pro rata distribution.

"The ideal scenario is to address teacher pay and critical agencies needs simultaneously, but that's obviously dependent on agreement with the Legislature."

The state ended up with a $140.8 million surplus after mid-year cuts were ordered to state agency budgets amid dwindling tax collections. It turned out those cuts were deeper than necessary.

Fallin has suggested lawmakers return for a special session before November's election to consider a teacher pay hike as an alternative to a proposed one-cent sales tax on the ballot that will fund a $5,000 teacher pay raise and additional funding for state colleges, universities and career-technology system. But no agreement has been reached with Republican legislative leaders, and most lawmakers have suggested the surplus revenue be returned to state agencies.

Among the possible revenue sources Fallin encouraged lawmakers to consider this session were a tax on cigarettes and the expansion of the state sales tax to certain services and products that are currently exempt.

Both House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said this week most of their members favor returning the money to agencies, but both left the door open to the idea of a special session.

"If we can come up with a plan that would make sense, we might have more serious discussion about a special session," Bingman said.

Hickman said his members want to approve a teacher pay plan, but couldn't reach an agreement on how such a proposal would be funded. He said any plan funded with a tax increase would need a three-fourths vote, which would require the support of Democrats. Approving any tax increase also would be difficult for Republicans, especially before an election.

"I can't imagine we haven't already looked at every angle (for a teacher pay raise)," Hickman said. "But if they come up with an angle we haven't considered, we'll be happy to look at it.

"Right now the governor doesn't have a plan on the table, so returning those dollars proportionally to the agencies is really the only option at this point."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bridenstine endorses Teegarden, Newhouse in Senate runoffs

I am happy to support and endorse Amanda Teegarden in her run to serve the people of State Senate District 39. Amanda Teegarden is a staunch conservative who has worked for Republican causes for many years. Amanda’s knowledge of the State Legislature puts her in a unique position that affords Republicans in District 39 the opportunity to elect a member that will have no need for on the job training.

With Amanda Teegarden, we will be electing a conservative that we can trust to get the job done in Oklahoma City. Please join me on August 23rd in supporting Amanda Teegarden for State Senate!

You can visit Amanda’s website here.

It is with great pride that I am announcing my endorsement of fellow Navy pilot and true conservative, Commander Joe Newhouse for State Senate in District 25.

As a combat veteran and successful business owner, he is uniquely qualified to lead in the Oklahoma State Senate.

I know him to be a principled conservative, and I believe he will serve our state with the same honor and courage he has displayed while serving our country as a Navy pilot.

I am proud to endorse Commander Joe Newhouse for State Senate and am asking you to join me in voting for him in the runoff election on August 23rd.

Eddie Huff leaves KFAQ

Eddie Huff, co-host of The Pat Campbell Show on Tulsa's 1170 KFAQ, is leaving the airwaves. After six years on the radio, Huff made the announcement today:
To all of my Tulsa friends and KFAQ fans, I wanted you to hear from me before the rumor mill began running wild. First of all, yes it IS true today was my last day as a regular on the Pat Campbell show.

Back in 2010 when Pat first invited me on and then Brian Gann offered me a noon show, I said, "Lord as long as you want me here I will stay. When you no longer want me here I am ready to go." I have actually been tempted many times over these 6 years to quit, BUT did not get that release. Today that release came.

As the saying goes, "If God closes one door He opens another." For now I will enjoy sleeping in, and focusing on some ministry that I have been working on for some time, as well as my insurance agency.

I do want to thank Pat Campbell and KFAQ for welcoming me and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas for the past 6 years. I ask you to continue to support Pat and his show. He is a great and kind man, despite his persona and it has been my extreme pleasure to argue with him over these 6 years. He is a TRUE friend.

I will still be active on Facebook, Twitter and my blog NewBlackThought.blogspot.com.

Blessing and grace to all!
For a brief period, Huff had his own local show on KFAQ, but the majority of his involvement has been as co-host and fill-in for Pat Campbell. Recently, Huff has also filled in for nationally syndicated talker Todd Schnitt (also aired on KFAQ - Campbell has filled in for Schnitt as well).

Monday, August 08, 2016

Music Monday: Olympic Fanfare and Theme

In honor of the 2016 Summer Olympics going on in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, this week's Music Monday is Olympic Fanfare and Theme by American composer John Williams.


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

Saturday, August 06, 2016

OCPA: Why are school districts sitting on so much cash?

by Steve Anderson, OCPA Research Fellow

Oklahomans who have been told repeatedly that Oklahoma’s schools are underfunded may be very surprised to learn that the schools in fact have “savings accounts” that are full of cash sitting idle.

That’s one of the many things you’ll discover using OCPA’s new education finance data tool. The data, which were simply downloaded from the website of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, were compiled from the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System (OCAS). Would you believe that the schools’ largest revenue source for the 2015 school year was cash not spent in the prior year? The schools need to explain how they can be sitting on nearly $1.9 billion of unencumbered cash—cash that is not promised to any obligation currently—that they did not expend during the prior school year. (The table below looks at some specific school districts.)

In the 2015 school year, the difference between revenues and expenditures was a staggering 23.1 percent. This is the amount of revenues unspent, which explains how you get to such huge cash-forward balances.

The OCPA data tool also exposes another major inefficiency of the public K-12 establishment. The second and third largest expenses by function, which between them total nearly half of the amount spent on instruction, are “debt service” and “operation of buildings.” We continually hear about needing more money for teachers, but somehow the construction of expensive new buildings seems to continue unabated by diverting large amounts of education funding. The chart below shows that schools tie up huge amounts of funding in building-related funds.

Now clearly the enrollment growth in some school districts justifies the construction of new buildings. (Actually, enacting vouchers or ESAs would be a more cost-effective way to handle the growth, but that’s a subject for another day.) Still, there are many things that any prudent businessman or businesswoman would do before “soaking” their funding sources. For example, I noticed several things when I did my observation for my teaching certificates at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City. A budget-conscious administrator could do simple things like sliding time frames for beginning and ending the school day for different groups of students (which would have the added dividend of better use of other capital assets such as buses). He could encourage more online enrollment for certain class offerings. He could reduce the amount of square footage dedicated to administrators and support staff through outsourcing of functions. He could do some simple linear programming to ensure that the size of the classroom fits the number of students. These are just a few recommendations; any businessman who has managed brick-and-mortar establishments could offer many more. Unfortunately, school administrators often tend to ask for more money instead of managing what they have better.

Some school superintendents will trot out reasons and excuses for why they need to maintain such large cash-forward balances. And some of their explanations have merit. For example, holding a small amount of funding in certain accounts for unseen emergencies or missed billing payments is understandable.

But some of the excuses don’t hold water. For example, some administrators will say these balances are needed for cash-flow purposes. They don’t seem to understand that the accrual of those expenses incurred but not paid should have already been made. Moreover, where else but in a government agency can you know your funding for the next 12 months and also know that you will be funded again after the end of that 12 months? (What small business wouldn’t love that guarantee?) When I was the state budget director in Kansas, the chancellor of the state’s largest university questioned why I was interested in the university’s large cash balances. To which I responded, “Madam Chancellor, we give you funding for 12 months. If you don’t need all of it, let us know and we will find places where it is needed.”

Another excuse given by administrators is that some of their cash-forward funds are federal funds that they cannot spend. Or that the federal fiscal year is different from the state fiscal year, requiring them to hold funds to bridge that time period. I studied these claims while serving as the top fiscal officer for the State of Kansas. The explanations for why they don’t stand up to scrutiny are long and technical. Suffice it to say that, in an environment where you are provided 12 months of cash flow from both federal and state sources of funding, the rebalancing of the cash flow for their different fiscal years is not complicated. I am available to meet with any administrator to discuss these matters.

The chart on cash-forward balances shows that the largest amount of funding sitting idle in school cash accounts is in fact money that is in the general fund, which allows for a wide range of potential uses. But even when the funding is limited in type of expenditure allowed, that doesn’t mean that a well-managed school cannot spend those funds. In fact, if done properly, those expenditures could not only save the school money but also stimulate the local economy.

For example, a forward-looking school district administrator could help put more money in the pockets of the parents of the very children they are educating while providing a healthier and more appealing lunch menu to those children. In previous articles, I have shown how Oklahoma’s agricultural sector can, by producing high-value food crops, become more diversified. And the education establishment is perfectly positioned to be a purchaser of these crops via existing federal programs like Farm to School and the Children’s Nutrition Program—which in 2015 expended more than $500 million. Taxpayers should expect Oklahoma’s public schools to look at those programs to see where they could save money by participating and at the same time stimulate the state’s farm sector.

The state school superintendent and her staff have a key role to play in helping smaller districts coordinate purchases, storage, and logistics. To truly maximize savings and dollars returned to the state and local economy, the state superintendent should offer to perform this function for the entire public school system. Would this require another bureaucracy within the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE)? No. OCPA has already pointed out the federal resources already available for this process. In today’s cyber-world, the staffing at school districts that manage inventory currently can be incorporated in a way that allows them to be a resource not just for information but also to be active participants in the process. As always, OCPA stands ready to assist OSDE in the initial plan set-up.

In sum, administrators who continually complain about not having enough of the taxpayers’ money need to explain to those taxpayers why they are sitting on so much cash. Before trotting out excuses, the tax consumers who run Oklahoma’s schools should walk a mile in the shoes of the tax payers who run Oklahoma’s small businesses.

In the long term, if school administrators are unable to do active management of cash flows then we may need to look to those with business experience to run our schools. Doing so could conceivably bring a more efficient operational approach to school districts—especially some of Oklahoma’s mega-districts. And though these unencumbered funds shouldn’t be used for pay raises, they do serve as a useful reminder: The simple truth, as OCPA president Jonathan Small has noted, “is that our preK-12 education system currently has plenty of money—$8.2 billion in total revenues last year, the most in state history. But in a bloated system that employs more non-teachers than teachers, that money’s simply not going to the right place: take-home pay for the many excellent teachers who have earned a raise.”

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

OK Supreme Court Justice Taylor to retire at end of 2016

Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor to Retire
He conducted more than 500 trials, gaining prominence for presiding over the trial of 
convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today received and accepted a letter from Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor stating his intention to retire at year’s end.

“It has been my honor to serve this great state,” Taylor wrote, “and my hope is that I leave a legacy of a firm dedication to the rule of law.”

Taylor, who has served on the bench for nearly 33 years, said his retirement will take effect Dec. 31.

Taylor, of McAlester, said he wants to spend more time with Mary, his wife of 38 years. He said he will remain active in his civic and volunteer activities.

“Justice Taylor has served the state well in multiple levels of the judiciary for more than three decades,” said Fallin. “He is known for being tough but fair. I appreciate his dedication, logic and candor while on the high court, as well as his attention to detail.

“I continue to have the utmost respect for Justice Taylor, who swore me in for both of my terms as governor.”

Taylor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2004 by then-Gov. Brad Henry. He served as chief justice from 2011 until 2013.

Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Taylor spent more than 20 years as a trial judge in various state courts.

He conducted more than 500 jury trials, gaining prominence when he presided over the trial of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols. Many in the legal community at the time said no other judge in Oklahoma could have handled the case as well as Taylor.

Once the case went to trial in 2004, Taylor kept the high-profile trial on track, without any errors that could have caused the verdict to be reversed upon appeal.

Taylor’s judicial career started in 1984 when then-Gov. George Nigh named him associate district judge for Pittsburg County. In 1994, he was elected district judge of the 18th Judicial District. In 1997, he was elected presiding judge of the 10-county East-Central Judicial Administrative District.

Taylor was the recipient of the Oklahoma Bar Association “Award of Judicial Excellence” in 2003 as the outstanding Oklahoma judge of the year.

 Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Oklahoma State University in 1971, and earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1974.

Taylor joined the United States Marine Corps in 1970 and served on active duty from 1974 until 1978. He was promoted to the rank of major.

After his service in the Marines, Taylor practiced law in McAlester from 1978 until 1984. He was elected in 1980 to the McAlester City Council and in 1982 was elected mayor of McAlester.

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

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

At the time of appointment, applicants must be 30 or older, have been a qualified elector in the 2nd Supreme Court Judicial District for at least one year immediately prior to the date of appointment, and have been a licensed practicing attorney or judge of a court of record, or both, in Oklahoma for five years preceding the appointment.

The 2nd Judicial District consists of McIntosh, Sequoyah, Pittsburg, Haskell, Latimer, Le Flore, Johnston, Atoka, Pushmataha, Marshall, Bryan, Choctaw and McCurtain counties.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Music Monday: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur

This week's Music Monday comes from the epic 1959 film Ben-Hur. Here is the John Wilson Orchestra playing Ben-Hur's Prelude and Parade of the Charioteers, composed by Miklós Rózsa, at the 2013 BBC Proms.


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