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Weston’s Appeal Stops Anti-Bridenstine TV Spots

Oklahoma Republican Party

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The Oklahoma Republican Party today announced that television ads have been stopped which were being aired by the American Action Network, a DC-based political action group, who was targeting a number of congressmen who oppose funding the president’s executive amnesty orders via the Department of Homeland Security budget. AAN was formed in part by former RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields, and in Oklahoma the ads were designed specifically to pressure Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to drop his opposition to the aforementioned DHS budget deal.

OKGOP Chairman Dave Weston detailed, “I personally called Mike and expressed that I thought the ads were a bad idea and asked him that they stop since this type of messaging is not helpful, because no Republican group should be running ads that oppose our fellow brethren. And that goes for all groups conservative, moderate or Republican!”

“I further explained that Oklahoma might be a cheap media market, but Oklahomans are fiercely resistant to outside influences. And I gave him the example that almost all of the feedback we were receiving was positive towards Cong. Bridenstine and negative toward the ads.”

Weston continued, “We must be careful, I warned, that these constant attacks against our members play into the hands of Liberal-Regressives who practice Alinsky tactics that will defeat our (Republican) objective of re-establishing America as the Shining City on a Hill that the whole world can aspire to follow.”

“I’m encouraged that Mike was willing to listen to reason and that he agrees that a more positive approach toward our fellow associates will be the best way to move America forward. After all, our adversaries Obama, Biden, Clinton, Reid and Pelosi, et al, have left us a target rich environment that is ripe for reform. Energy independence, securing our borders, supporting our ally Israel, defeating the Islamic State and reforming our health care system via free market innovations are just some of the issues we could focus on.”

“We discussed the fact that an opportunity had been missed to give accolades to Speaker Boehner for having the courage to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress because of the distraction created by the ads.”

Weston concluded, “I’d like to publicly express my appreciation to Mike Shields and AAN for their willingness to listen and respond to our concerns in a positive manner by stopping these ads. This sets a great precedent for all of us to follow. Promoting the positives of the Republican Party and improving our negatives are going to be the best way to lead America. Today we took a step in the right direction by taking lemons and turning them into lemonade.”


Bridenstine Rebuffs ‘Establishment attack’

Congressman Jim Bridenstine is fighting back after coming under attack from fellow Republicans: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/government/randy-krehbiel-bridenstine-says-he-s-moderate-group-s-no/article_dafd72d3-f5f0-5a3d-be16-f4ade55a3269.html#.VPdzJ_IeOho.facebook


Russell Questions BATFE On Proposed Ammo Ban

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Congressman Steve Russell joined House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) today in asking the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to explain why certain legal processes are not being followed and what rationale lead to a proposal by the BATFE to ban the sale and manufacture of certain ammunition.

“When the Administration or agencies of the federal government bypass our nation’s laws to achieve what appears to be a purely political end, such as the BATFE trying to use back-door gun control tactics to further limit our freedoms, it provokes fear and chronic distrust of our government.   I want to shine a light on this darkness and I want answers,” said Russell.

“This Administration and many in the federal government too often fail to address or even recognize the real problems facing our nation but are quick to turn attention and impose limitations or more regulations on law-abiding citizens.”

In a move many believe appears to be an effort to restrict the Second Amendment and shooting sports in particular, the BATFE is proposing to ban the sale and manufacture of one of the most commonly sold firearm rounds, the M855 5.56X45mm, which is used in the most popular rifle design in the U.S., the AR-15.

Congressman Russell is a retired Army officer who owns a rifle manufacturing company and is a shooting sports enthusiast. The letter to BATFE Director B. Todd Jones seeks an answer to, among other concerns, why the BATFE isn’t following the law under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 533) which requires the BATFE publish a general notice of its framework for proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.

He and several dozen House Members signed Chairman Goodlatte’s attached letter asking the BATFE to explain why they are not following the law and requiring them to be transparent in their intentions.


Financial Football Kicks Off

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State Treasurer Ken MIller, former OU and current NFL player Ryan Broyles, and Nat Sillin of Visa Inc. watch a demonstration of Financial Football, a video game to help student learn basic financial skills. The three announced release of the game in the State Treasurer’s Office at the State Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Photo credit: Travis Caperton, Capitol Photographer.


House Kills Joint Ballot Bill

The Associated Press

The Oklahoma House has narrowly defeated a bill to ask voters to decide whether the governor and lieutenant governor should run jointly.

Representatives on Wednesday voted 46-44 for the measure, but it takes at least 51 members to approve legislation in the 101-member House. The author of the proposed constitutional amendment, Republican Rep. Gary Banz of Midwest City, asked that the vote be reconsidered on a later date.

The measure calls for a vote of the people on whether the governor and lieutenant governor should be elected jointly beginning with the 2018 general election. Currently, the two positions are elected separately.

Banz has said the idea has been endorsed by former Oklahoma Govs. David Boren and George Nigh, both Democrats, and Frank Keating, a Republican.


Atkinson: Tourism Shines

gbaGean B. Atkinson
Writing in The Oklahoman

Budget shortfalls are nothing new to Oklahoma. Any of us who have been around for any length of time have experienced the challenges that come with such a downturn.

The Department of Tourism is no exception. Last year it had its share of reductions in funds including a 5.27 percent budget cut and the transfer of $3.7 million from two agency revolving funds. And yet even with these decreases in operational budgets, the department remains committed to coming up with new solutions to allow it to accomplish its mission. How? By taking lessons from business.

As the state’s third-highest grossing revenue industry, with expenditures due to tourism of just over $7.5 billion generating $403.8 million in state tax revenue, it’s also a vital employer of 79,700 jobs with a payroll of $2 billion in 2013. It has to act like a business. In Oklahoma, it is big business.

And in business, certain steps are necessary when revenues fall. First, continue to supply customers with the product they expect; two, maximize the effectiveness of marketing efforts; three, revisit every expense to ensure it is appropriate and justifiable. Finally, as a last resort, review and adjust staffing requirements if necessary.

In the past year, the department had taken numerous steps to maximize the available resources for Oklahomans and to ensure that the beauty of Oklahoma remains accessible to Oklahomans. Even in the midst of lowered revenue, 2016 will see the opening of a beautiful lodge at Lake Murray, funded not by taxpayers but in large part with oil royalties on the property that have been amassing since 2006. Meanwhile, Sequoyah Lodge, the largest park of the state’s lodging facilities, completed an extensive renovation to keep its income high and ensure it is competitive and attractive to visitors.

As far as tourism marketing, Oklahoma Tourism is breaking all records with its new digital marketing program being recognized nationwide as a leader in the field. Setting records in the highest number of industry brochures ordered, and increasing visitors on the website by 18 percent over last year, point to the increased interest and traffic we’re seeing and can expect in our state.

State parks are enjoying an increased percentage of self-sufficiency — 67 percent in fiscal year 2014, up from 65 percent in FY 13. Also, savings gained from shifting parks to local entities has resulted in increased traffic and a renewed interest by local patrons.

Most important, whether in business or government, is the attitude of the people responsible for the execution of the necessary changes. This is where tourism shines. Instead of the negative attitude often seen during tough times, tourism staff and leaders have the attitude of “It is what it is and we will handle it.”

Atkinson is president of Atkinson Advertising Associates, Inc., in Oklahoma City and a tourism commissioner for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. He is a former member of the House of Representatives.


Keating Keynotes GOP Gala, McCarville To Be Honored

Former Governor Frank Keating will be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Republican Party’s 2015 Convention Gala and Mike McCarville will be honored as recipient of the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award.

The dinner will be held at 7 p.m. on April 10th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Norman.


Backers Tout Merits Of Wind Power Industry

Economic and environmental contributions provided by the wind industry across Oklahoma are paramount for the legislature to consider when debating revisions to business incentives provided by the state, the executive director of The Wind Coalition, an advocacy organization representing Oklahoma wind developers, said today.

Jeff Clark commented, “While much of the publicity surrounding the wind industry has focused on business incentives, there is another component of the industry not receiving as much attention, and that is the significant economic and environmental contributions wind energy provides across Oklahoma. Just last week The University of Tulsa College of Law hosted a Wind Energy Forum featuring panelists representing many viewpoints. I was privileged to be included, and based on the varied presentations; the wind industry is having a more broad-based contribution to Oklahoma than ever before.”

Multiple studies have shown wind energy creates high-quality jobs, and returns millions of dollars annually to county governments, school districts and rural landowners across Oklahoma. It also has a major environmental impact as an emission-free energy source that avoids over 6.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually – the equivalent of removing over 1.1 million vehicles from Oklahoma’s highways and streets.  In addition, wind energy consumes no water, saving over 2.2 billions of gallons per year in drought-stricken Oklahoma which compliments Oklahoma’s Water for 2060 Act passed by the legislature in 2012 and endorsed by Governor Fallin.

“As the legislative wind incentive debate continues, I urge Senate and House members to remember that wind energy is abundant, affordable, clean and reliable.  Its cost is low and provides long-term price stability both for developers and consumers. Price stability is a major reason why three Oklahoma utilities – OG&E, GRDA and PSO – are utilizing wind energy to the tune of a collective consumer savings of over $1.75 billion.”

“Wind development is an extremely competitive industry, and just like competition for oil and gas, technology or any other industry development, Oklahoma must offer an attractive regulatory and economic environment.  If it does not, wind developers will simply knock on the door of any number of wind-producing states offering attractive incentives.  The Wind Coalition and our members are committed to working with state leaders to craft an equitable incentive package that keeps Oklahoma competitive while taking into account all governmental priorities.”


Linley Reelected With 73% Of Vote

Del City Mayor Brian Linley and Ward 3 Councilman Ken Bartlett won reelection in today’s sparse voting.

Linley defeated Beverly Smith 73-27%, 512-182. Bartlett beat David Harrison 178-86.


OKC Incumbents Win In Low Turnout

In an election day marked by pathetically low turnout (7.5%), Oklahoma City voters returned two incumbent City Council members and elected one replacement.

Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid had 2,546 votes, or 59.1 percent, to turn back three challengers and win a second term from Ward 2.

In Ward 6, Councilwoman Meg Salyer had 675 votes, or 53.7 percent, to defeat two challengers and win a third term.

In northwest Oklahoma City’s Ward 8, where Councilman Pat Ryan is retiring, Mark Stonecipher won in his first bid for elective office.


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