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Cornett, Tulsan Wed

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa television sales executive Terri Walker married Wednesday in Tulsa.

The city’s new first lady, who met the mayor on a blind date, plans to leave KTUL-TV in Tulsa.

A Political Thanksgiving


Give thanks for moderate voices and civil discourse.

The New York Times: Irresponsible, Shoddy, Shameful


The New York Times has endangered the life of a police officer and his wife.

The Times published this:

“Officer Wilson and [blank] own a home together on [blank] Lane in [blank], Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.”

There is no journalistic principle of which I’m aware that would justify printing this information about an officer who is the object of hate and death threats from thousands.

To expose him and his wife in this way is irresponsible, shoddy and shameful.

Murphey: For What It Is Worth


Rep. Jason Murphey

It’s at this time of year when the House of Representatives benefits from the inclusion of the new members: collectively known as “The Freshmen”.

This year’s freshman class is particularly large and will represent approximately 20% of the new House membership.

I enjoy the opportunity to provide these new members with my observations and the lessons learned during my time in the Legislature and my advice based on these experiences: for what it is worth.

A small subsection of my advice is as follows:

From day one, the legislator should cast votes in accordance with a clear set of consistently-applied criteria based on principle. Legislators cast 1,000 votes each year, and there’s little more frustrating to a constituent than having a legislator who does not have a consistent, principle-based voting pattern and who votes against a measure the constituent supports while voting for other similar measures. The constituent may tend to be more forgiving if they can see that their legislator votes against all similar measures out of principle. Legislators who fail to apply a consistent criteria rightfully leave themselves open to speculation that they are voting under the influence of special interest as opposed to principle.

I am personally a big fan of using a checklist of criteria through which each proposed bill must pass in order to earn my vote. I suggest that all new members develop a similar checklist, based on their principles and values, to ensure their voting remains consistent from day one.

Never trade votes and don’t change a vote after an arm-twisting session. Voting represents the foremost duty of the legislators and it’s not one which should be taken lightly. Each vote must be based on a deliberation of the merits of the proposal and not on outside factors. Those who trade votes with other legislators seriously undercut the solemnity and great honor which has been provided by their constituency.

Likewise, new legislators sometimes make the mistake of changing their vote after being subjected to arm twisting by lobbyists or members of House leadership. Those who give in to this pressure early on are likely to experience intense arm twisting as a matter of course throughout their time in the Legislature: not a fun existence. Those who can explain the reasoning behind their vote and stand up to the pressure, may earn the short-term wrath of the arm twister, but will also earn his long-term respect. Better yet, word of the legislator’s fortitude will quickly spread through the capitol and the legislator will drop to the bottom of the list when it’s time to break arms. This makes one’s tenure in the Legislature much more enjoyable.

Read the bills and avoid the nightlife! It’s hard to explain the reasoning behind a vote when the bill hasn’t been read. All too many legislators fail in this important responsibility. Freshman representatives are strongly courted by lobbyists and special interests to live the capitol city nightlife. It’s a mistake to do so. This time would be much better spent reading the next day’s bills and researching. Those freshmen who forgo the nightlife in favor of research are more strongly situated than their socializing peers. This seems counterintuitive as many place a high priority on the benefits of socialization, but in my view that type of socialization is greatly overrated and carries with it numerous liabilities.

Those who read the bills are looked up to and depended on by the other legislators as word quickly spreads that they are casting educated votes.

Next week I will continue this article and include my most important piece of advice to new office holders: for what it is worth.

OKC Taxpayers Paid Millions To Retirees


Oklahoma City taxpayers have paid millions of dollars to retiring municipal employees: http://watchdog.org/184651/okc-taxpayers-fork-millions-retiring-city-workers/

ODOT Employees Send Offensive Emails On State Time

Arthur Kane | Watchdog.org

Oklahoma Department of Transportation employees are supposed to keep the roads safe and clear, but some also used state time and resources to send out potentially offensive emails that referred to the president as an “Ass hole” and mocked overweight people.

Watchdog.org obtained the emails as part of a 10,000-page open records request response for a story on employee complaints about the state’s compressed natural gas fleet. Despite mentioning trucks, the inappropriate emails were not relevant to any work-related activity, according to ODOT spokesman Cody Boyd.

Photo obtained through open records request

INAPPROPRIATE EMAIL: An Oklahoma state employee sent out this picture with a joke email that the agency spokesman said violated state policy. (Photo modified to protect woman’s identity.)

“The e-mails in question are in conflict with the agency’s e-mail policy, as they are an inappropriate use of state time and resources,” he wrote in an email statement. “ODOT has been working and is working on improving the e-mail policy and educating employees about it.”

One email in April 2012 from one ODOT employee to another joked about a new truck’s voice-controlled stereo that would bring up a Willie Nelson or Ray Charles song whenever the driver said the singer’s name. But when the driver yelled “Ass hole” at other motorists who had just cut him off, the voice on the radio played: “Ladies and gentlemen, The President of The United States.”

“Damn I love this truck….,” the joke ended.

In 2014, a different ODOT employee sent a joke to an outside account about an overweight woman throwing off her clothes and telling the narrator to take anything he wants. The narrator takes her truck. “Bubba, yore a smart man! Them clothes woulda never fit you!” the joke ends.

Attached to the email was this picture. Both jokes appeared in several other ODOT accounts, but apparently those were sent from the outside so it’s not clear if the state employees sanctioned the email or someone sent the email without the employees’ knowledge or consent.

There was also a joke in state email accounts that talked about a “carload of bearded, young, loud Muslims, shouting anti-American slogans, with a half- burned American Flag duct taped on the trunk of their car and a ‘Remember 9-11 slogan spray painted on the side.’” The car of Muslims pulls into traffic and gets demolished by an 18-wheeler truck, killing everyone inside.

“I sat in my car thinking to myself, ‘Man… that could have been me!’ So today; bright and early, I went out and got a job as a truck driver,” the joke ends.

Boyd wrote that that email came from outside the agency and was not sent by a state employee, but the state directed staff to avoid such future waste of taxpayer-funded work time.

“At the recent employee meetings held statewide, workers were reminded of their responsibility as state employees to use their e-mail accounts in a professional manner,” he wrote in the email.

Watchdog.org sent emails requesting comment to the employees who sent out the questionable email jokes, but they didn’t respond to attempts to contact them.

George Will To Speak At State Chamber Event


The State Chamber of Oklahoma hosts its annual Public Affairs Forum featuring a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist George Will on December 3rd.

The luncheon event will also feature a question and answer session with a panel of legislative leaders talking about their expectations for the coming session.

The luncheon is scheduled from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Cox Convention Center in Ballrooms C, D, E.



Bingman, Hickman Hail Waiver Reinstatement


Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said Monday that the reinstatement of Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind waiver ensures the state’s education reform efforts will continue.

“With the federal government’s politics now out of the way, Oklahoma can take the next step and develop high standards that prepare our students to compete in the new global economy. Today’s schools house the next generation of Oklahoma’s workforce. As a result, the academic standards we develop will directly impact our job market and economy for years to come. An education system that fosters student development, engages families and communities, and avoids burdensome mandates will move Oklahoma forward.”

The following is a statement from House Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman pertaining to the United States Department of Education’s reinstatement of Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind waiver:

“As we said when we passed House Bill 3399 last session, if the Obama administration’s immediate reaction was to take Oklahoma’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, our bill included a safety net. It required a review of our state’s current PASS standards by higher education and CareerTech to determine if they were indeed college and career ready.  Once that review was complete, not only were our standards certified as college and career ready but our CareerTech and higher education leaders offered numerous suggestions on ways to strengthen our existing standards.

“Utilizing the academic expertise we have at colleges and universities across our state as well as leaders in best CareerTech system in America to improve education in our state is something which should have been done long ago.  I am excited we now have all tiers of education in Oklahoma engaged in improving the educational opportunities for students in our state.

“The action by the U.S. Department of Education to reinstate the NCLB waiver restores the flexibility given to Oklahoma school districts over the expenditure of Title I funds.  While some have tried to politicize this issue, since removing Common Core testing from state law, this process has played out as we thought it would which again validates that the action we took in Oklahoma under HB 3399 was about policy that is best for our next generation of Oklahomans.  Despite the relief and flexibility this decision provides, I again strongly encourage the State Board of Education to continue moving forward in earnest in the creation of our new rigorous and superior education standards. This is a tall task for our state to undertake and we must not waste a single day working toward development of the standards which will guide the success of our students in classrooms across our state.  If we know we can offer a better education to Oklahoma’s next generation, each year that passes under an inferior system cheats our most precious resource, our children, out of a brighter and more prosperous future.”​

Lamb Elected Chairman Of GOP Lieutenant Governors Association


Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb was named Chairman to the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association (RLGA) executive committee. Lieutenant Lamb will be succeeding Tate Reeves, Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi.

This is the third national association that Lamb has been elected by his peers to serve in a leadership capacity. He is the immediate past Chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association and Vice-Chairman of the Aerospace States Association.

“Serving in leadership at the RLGA is an honor and I am humbled that my fellow Lieutenant Governors have elected me as Chair,” said Lamb. “Oklahoma has many reasons to be proud and can be a model for other states. I look forward to continuing to represent and promote Oklahoma.”

No Child Left Behind Waiver Good News, But…

moniesOklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative Executive Director Jennifer Monies released the following statement following the announcement that Oklahoma’s waiver from federal No Child Left Behind mandates has been reinstated:

“While it is good news that schools will have more flexibility on how to spend some federal education dollars, today’s announcement doesn’t change the need for more rigorous education standards in Oklahoma.

“Making sure that every child is ready for college or a career upon completion of high school is the best way to plan for Oklahoma’s economic future. We need to challenge our students to exceed expectations and goals. Settling for the bare minimum requirements is not in the best interest of our students or their future. I am confident Oklahoma students can and will rise to any challenge put before them.

“As Oklahoma starts the standards writing process, the business community stands ready and willing to help so that our education system aligns with our state’s current and future workforce needs. As the process moves forward, I urge the Legislature to set politics aside in order to keep high expectations at the heart of such a critical issue.”


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