A report released this week says Oklahoma state government leads the nation in opening up government data to public purview. The report, produced by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Data Innovation, ranks Oklahoma as one of the top six top scoring states for its open data policies.
Specifically, the report cites two pieces of legislation – House Bill 1086, enacted in 2011 and authored by state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, and House Bill 2062, enacted in 2013 and authored by state Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso – as catalysts for the top ranking.
The report builds on the national recognition already directed at Oklahoma’s government modernization legislation. Earlier this year, Government Technology magazine highlighted the ongoing transparency and efficiency efforts.
“These open data policies are just a few of the transparency initiatives approved by the Legislature and Oklahoma Governors Mary Fallin and Brad Henry as part of Oklahoma’s modernization efforts of the past few years,” Murphey said. “As time goes on, I believe we will continue to see an ever growing awareness of the impact these policies are having in cutting the cost of state government and in making it more transparent to the public.”
According to the report Oklahoma has “established an open data policy that requires basic government data, such as expenditure information, as well as other agency data, to be published on their open data portals in a machine-readable format. These portals contain extensive catalogs of open data, are relatively simple to navigate, and provide data in machine-readable formats as required.”
Murphey specifically credited Oklahoma’s former state Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit and previous Government Technology Applications Review board member Sid Burgess, the Web Developers at OK.GOV, the employees of the Information Services Division and Socrata, INC, with their work to implement the provisions of House Bill 1086.
“This dedicated team has been responsible for implementing the data.ok.gov Web portal which allowed us to score so high on the report,” Murphey said. “Without their first-class implementation of the idea this could have become just another unmet legislative mandate.”
More action in the Republican primary runoff for the 5th District in Congress today, as Patrice Douglas picked up another endorsement and a group supporting Steve Russell took a tough shot at Douglas.
Here’s the Douglas release:
RightNOW Women PAC today announced their support for four additional candidates.
“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land (MI), and House candidates Patrice Douglas (OK-05), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Wendy Rogers (AZ-09)” said RightNOW Women founder Brittany Thune Lindberg. “They are exactly the kind of women who we know can make a difference in Washington, D.C.”
“We believe these women are outstanding candidates who embody the right priorities and will fight for the issues that matter to women and men in Congress,” said RightNOW Women advisor Marlene Colucci. “We ask that you support them too by going to our website and donating.”
RightNOW Women provides young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s an opportunity to become politically engaged by supporting qualified women to federal office. As an all-volunteer organization, RightNOW Women seeks to compliment other like-minded organizations by developing a national grassroots movement, connected through social media.
And there’s this from America’s PAC:
Americas PAC released a new ad in Oklahoma City contrasting Steve Russell’s proven record of leadership to Patrice Douglas’ record of raising taxes and reducing the amount of work she performs for the people of Oklahoma.
“Patrice Douglas is campaigning for Congress on Taxpayer time,” said Americas PAC Chairman Tom Donelson.
On February 18th 2014, shortly after she declared as a candidate for U.S. Congress, Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas voted for a motion to have the Commission meet only two days a week instead of five. On the same day, Douglas made a motion for her to be replaced as Chair of the Commission citing her need to focus on her Congressional campaign.
“Put simply, Commissioner Douglas gave herself three paid days off a week to campaign for Congress. Douglas is doing 60% less work, but Douglas is still getting her full $111,000 a year government salary,” Donelson said.
Twenty legislative veterans today endorsed former Senator Steve Russell’s bid to win the Republican nomination for Congress in the 5th District. He faces Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas.
The lawmakers, all conservatives, include five senators, a former senator, and 14 representatives.
The senators include Patrick Anderson, Josh Brecheen, Mark Allen, Nathan Dahm, Cliff Aldridge and former Senator Jim Reynolds.
The representatives include Dan Fisher, Paul Wesselhoft, David Brumbaugh, John Bennett, John Enns, Bob Cleveland, Josh Cockroft, Mike Reynolds, Sally Kern, Aaron Stiles, Gus Blackwell, Jon Echols, State Rep-Elect Kevin Calvey, State Rep & Senator-Elect Marty Quinn.
Senator Patrick Anderson, who served with Russell in the Senate, said, “During his time in the State Senate, Steve Russell served our state with honor and distinction. He was direct, honest, and diligent as a State Senator. Steve Russell proved to be a hard worker. He was there on a daily basis. He studied the issues. He asked the tough questions. And most importantly, he stuck to his core conservative principles and biblical values.”
“Steve Russell was one of the most prepared, truly principled conservative senators I served with,” said Reynolds. “He was a man of the highest principles who treated all others with the utmost respect. He ran as a conservative, and more importantly he fought for the conservative principles from his first day on the Senate floor until the day he left. I am fully supporting Steve in his race for U.S. Congress.”
As much has changed in the past three years, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy is calling for a Commission meeting on the state’s ever-evolving earthquake response.
“This would be an opportunity for all stakeholders to hear first-hand the latest on what’s happening in terms of the ongoing research and response,” Murphy explained. “It’s very important for all to understand what’s known, what’s not known, and what the OCC and others have been and are doing. All of us who have had our homes shaken repeatedly personally know this is a frightening situation that misinformation and ignorance can only make worse. It is vitally important we all stay informed on everything being done. My recent meeting with Senator Ellis, the conflicting information that continues to be disseminated, and new data and regulatory changes have led me to call for a meeting at this time.
“For example, the OCC staff responds to seismic events by checking for anything unusual in the operation of any disposal wells within the vicinity of a ‘seismic swarm’, as disposal wells are of key interest to researchers studying Oklahoma’s earthquake outbreak,” Murphy said. “Minor or not, operational issues with any well must be immediately addressed, even if that involves shutting in the well.
“More money and equipment are being brought into the effort, with the Oklahoma Geological Survey working closely with this agency and others in the response. And while many know we have adopted the National Academy of Sciences ‘traffic light’ system for the permitting and operation of disposal wells, the way that is being used has advanced over time as more is known, and will no doubt continue to evolve,” Murphy added. “Also, we adopted new rules that have now received the necessary approval of Governor Fallin to greatly increase reporting of the volume and pressure of many disposal wells, as well as increase testing requirements. Additional requirements are currently being discussed and considered.
“These are just a few examples,” Murphy said. “There is a tremendous amount of energy and expertise being put into this effort, and it’s vital that all of us be informed about it.”
Governor Fallin has considerably more financial resources than her Democrat opponent, Ethics Commission reports show, but Democrat Joe Dorman said today he raised more money in the recent reporting period than Fallin.
Dorman’s fund-raising has ticked up since public polls recently showed him in a better than expected position.
Said Dorman in a news release: ”Joe Dorman, Democratic nominee for Governor, outraised Mary Fallin in the most recent campaign finance reporting period. Dorman said this report is further evidence of the shift in momentum in the race.
“I am pleased at the support from thousands of Oklahomans from across the state. Since I started this campaign in December I’ve received contributions from almost 2,200 different individuals. These numbers are more evidence of the dissatisfaction with Mary Fallin’s administration that I’ve been hearing from hard-working Oklahomans every day,” said Dorman. “We’ve seen it in her drop in the polls – 21 points since September of last year, and we see it now in fundraising. In contrast, the momentum and excitement about my campaign keeps growing as more and more Oklahomans learn about my plans and policies to be a Governor for all Oklahomans.”
Dorman said he raised $267,310.40 in the most recent quarter, in comparison to Fallin’s $239,677.02 – almost a $28,000 difference.
Fallin, however, maintains a huge cash on hand advantage with more than a million dollars available to Dorman’s $142,423.
“Oklahomans realize how, in all aspects, Fallin has failed the state. I have plans to combat the challenges facing Oklahomans,” said Dorman. ”She’s flip flopping on issue after issue, while I continue to roll out meaningful policies to benefit all Oklahomans. I am excited about the momentum and support we continue to see from people across the state and I look forward to serving as a strong leader for Oklahoma.”
With a week to go, the Republican primary runoff in the 5th District between Patrice Douglas and Steve Russell has, thus far, been marked by multiple endorsements and what’s described by some as an intense ground game.
Russell, who ran first in the primary, is being outspent by a considerable sum, campaign reports show. He’s resorted to an aggressive person-to-person campaign, relying on a network of military friends and admirers and supporters developed during his term in the State Senate. He and his allies have used Facebook and other social media platforms regularly.
A new poll by VCreek/AMG, released on Wednesday by Americas PAC, showed this result: Steve Russell 43.7% Patrice Douglas 30.8% Undecided 25.4%
Douglas, the former mayor of Edmond now a Corporation Commissioner, would seem to have the logistical advantage; her roots in the more-Republican part of the district (the Edmond area) and exposure to voters through her city and state service should play well in this race. She, too, is working the social media with campaign news.
At first glance, the race would appear, at this writing, a toss-up. But of the multiple uninvolved consultants and activists we asked about the race, there’s the consensus that Russell may lead with a week to go.
One of those measuring the race is Keith Gaddie, political scientist and chairman of the University of Oklahoma Political Science Department.
“I see the candidates finally making their way to TV,” Gaddie said. ”But this is a low turnout affair, so one-to-one contacting is the key. Last poll I saw had it 41-31 Russell (in a roll released by Russell). I doubt the undecideds show up, so based on the data you’d expect it to break about 54-46 for Steve.
“If the GOP electorate were still at its fever pitch, issue knocks might have worked more. The big wild card is mobilization. As one consultant put it to me, ‘his narrative traveled north pretty good.’”
Senator David Holt offers a circumspect assessment: “This race started with no well-known candidate, and the primary didn’t alter that, with the winner getting less than 30 percent. In such a low-information environment, where the candidates have no discernible policy differences, the winning candidate will be the one who has the best personal narrative.”
A few we asked for an assessment didn’t want to do so on the record; they have friends on both sides, or business alliances, or just don’t want to be quoted by name.
“Patrice is a superb office-holder,” said one. “That being said, I think Russell is the better campaigner. I don’t think he’s missed an event of any size in the past 60 days, and people remember that.”
Said another: “At this point, the race is essentially revolving around Russell. Russell has the story that is easiest to convey – charismatic, successful veteran with adequate political experience. But he is also the candidate with the most baggage – he doesn’t live in the congressional district, he cast some conspicuously bad votes in the Senate (tort reform, Common Core), and he missed a staggering number of votes in the Senate. But I think Douglas has struggled with how to convey those negatives to the electorate. Perhaps they would have been messages best carried by an independent group, but it doesn’t look like the people who could afford to do that are going to make the kind of investment in this race it would require…Russell enters Election Day as the favorite.”
However, a source close to the Douglas campaign said, “Patrice certainly started out behind, but her strong fundraising and aggressive campaigning seems to have tightened the race. We will see what happens in the final week, but it looks like things are moving in her direction and she is on track to win a close election.’”
Douglas with retired Navy Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic
An outside observer would be inclined to view this race as one that is in endorsement overload. Douglas has been endorsed by a veterans group including retired Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic, conservative GOP activist Richard Engle, former 5th District candidate Rep. Mike Turner, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, a group of mayors and four legislators.
Russell, with war hero Major Ed Pulido
Russell has been endorsed by Tulsa Congressman Jim Bridenstine, the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police, veterans including war hero Major Ed Pulido, the National Rifle Association, former 5th District candidate Harvey Sparks, the National Defense PAC, and others.The endorsements don’t impress one cynical observer: “I don’t care about endorsements; no one else does, either, except the candidates. Russell wins this going away. Douglas can’t keep up with him.”They do impress another, a community activist: “You have stories almost every day about someone endorsing one or the other. That’s pretty solid stuff. I think Patrice Douglas probably is ahead, but most of my friends see it the other way.”