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‘Proud Democrat’ Switzer Endorses Fallin

switzerBarry Switzer, declaring himself a “proud Democrat,” today endorsed Republican Governor Fallin.

Switzer earlier donated $2,500 to Fallin’s campaign and $2,000 to Democrat Joe Dorman’s campaign.

Conservative Union Endorses Fallin

fallin2The American Conservative Union (ACU) today endorsed Governor Fallin.

Fallin had a lifetime rating of 97 during her time as a U.S. Congresswoman, and ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp says Fallin has successfully pursued conservative policies to jumpstart Oklahoma’s economy.

“Under her watch, Oklahoma erased a $500 million budget gap, then implemented two tax cuts in 2011 and 2013,” said Schlapp. “When Mary Fallin took office, there was $2 in the state’s rainy day fund. There is now $532 million. What we talk about doing in Washington, Mary Fallin has actually accomplished. I urge all conservatives to turn out and vote to re-elect Mary Fallin on November 4th.”

Cox, Hofmeister Spar Over Plans, Experience

The two candidates for state school superintendent sparred on Tuesday night during one of almost two dozen joint appearances:

Murphey: Ending Benefits From Traveling On The Taxpayer Dime


Rep. Jason Murphey

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Jan Eric Cartwright once took two of his employees on a taxpayer-funded trip to Louisiana for a meeting between the attorney generals from other energy-producing states to discuss matters threatening the energy sector.

The two employees benefitted from going on this trip because they received travel vouchers from the airline which allowed them to receive a reduced price on their next ticket. However, they made the mistake of discussing their plans for using the vouchers for their own personal travel in front of Cartwright. Cartwright admonished his employees by stating, “Oh, no you’re not. The state paid for your ticket. Someone else who has to travel on state business can use it.”

Unfortunately, I do not think all government agency heads appear to have been as successful at deterring this type of activity.

In 2010 a concerned constituent brought it to my attention that government employees were potentially taking advantage of a variation of this concept by charging government travel to their credits cards, getting reimbursed for the travel and keeping the associated travel miles or other rewards.

This incentivized government employees to travel on the taxpayer dime as they would personally benefit for finding reasons to travel.

The potential for abuse became even more clear to me after working with state purchasing officials on a plan to modernize the way state government pays for travel. The officials had identified needed changes in the law to realize savings from travel contracts in much the same way we have incurred millions of savings for other commodities and services through our other purchasing reforms.

As one purchasing official excitedly described the proposal he said, “We have a lot of travel!” This left me feeling a bit conflicted. I was eager to help and incredibly appreciative to the state officials who diligently sourced the savings opportunity by locating a commodity for which the state was spending so much money. But, it was disconcerting to realize how often state government officials are traveling on the taxpayer dime.

A quick check of the state’s purchase card records reflect the heavy usage. In the 2014 fiscal year, the state purchase card was in excess of 20,000 times for air travel and more than 17,000 times for room charges. Approximately 150 of the purchases were placed with Hotel/Casino co-locates including an impressive array of recognizable Las Vegas establishments.

In 2011, I sponsored legislation to end the practice of government officials receiving a personal benefit from taxpayer-funded travel. After navigating through the opposition, the legislation passed by an 86-10 vote. You may see the debate at

This new policy makes it a best practice for the travel to be placed on the state purchase card instead of personal credit cards.

This has two benefits. First, because the state purchase card is used, it becomes possible to track the amount of and nature of the travel spend. The numbers I have written about in this article would not have been as easily retrieved without the clarity and standardization provided by our state purchasing card vendor. This allows us to demonstrate the need for future reforms which diminish the amount of taxpayer-funded travel.

Second, the taxpayers receive the benefit because a purchase card rebate goes back to the state instead of frequent flier miles going to the government official. Deprived of personal benefit, the government official isn’t as likely to engage in superfluous travel.

Not all state government officials have had the integrity of Attorney General Cartwright, but an ongoing array of state policy reforms, such as the one described herein, will eventually start to turn the tide against overspend on government travel.

Video: PAC Supports Dorman

Oklahoma Forward PAC is airing a cable news television commercial supporting Democrat Joe Dorman in the governor’s race:

Fallin, Dorman Continue Gathering Dollars

Governor Fallin and challenger Joe Dorman are raising lots of cash as election day nears:

GOP Plans Tulsa Election Day Rally

votecountsThe top of the Oklahoma Republican ticket will be hosting a “get out the vote” rally and lunch at noon on Election Day in Tulsa.

Participating will be Governor Fallin, Senator Jim Inhofe and Senate candidate James Lankford.

The program will be emceed by Senator Rick Brinkley.

Direct questions to Alex Weintz at, Rusty Appleton at, or Holly Isch at
12:00 p.m.
LaFortune Park Community Center Reception Room
5202 S Hudson Ave
Tulsa, OK 74135

Free Lunch will be provided.

Cooper Seeks Shadid Council Seat

acooperJames Cooper, an Oklahoma City writer and university professor, announced that he is running for Oklahoma City’s Ward 2 City Council seat. Ed Shadid currently holds the seat.

“I love this city. It’s my home. And, I’m so proud of how —working together—the citizens and leaders have reinvented OKC and made it a great place to live and work,” Cooper said. “I’m running because I believe we have an even brighter future ahead of us.”

Cooper, who lives in the historic Paseo neighborhood, said it is time for “new leadership” for council Ward 2

“I believe Ward 2 has become disconnected from this city’s progress during Mr. Shadid’s time in office. He has created divisiveness and unnecessary conflict. I have a different approach.”

Cooper said he views the city council as an opportunity to foster partnership between citizens and government and that his priority will be to listen to constituents.

“I believe deeply in the value of public service,” Cooper said. “It is a very important job. And, I think the public servant’s first role is to listen to the concerns of citizens and then to bring people together to work toward a common goal.

“Over the coming weeks, my campaign will be listening to the concerns of the people who live, work, and play in OKC Ward 2. Then, our campaign is going to present real, common sense solutions to the challenges that confront our neighborhoods, our communities, and our city.”

Cooper said that, as a council member, his primary focus will be to achieve meaningful results for Oklahoma City residents. He said that the next Ward 2 Council member will play a critical role in helping shape the future of Oklahoma City. 

“During the next four-year city council term, citizens will go to the polls to determine the next MAPS vote as well as the city’s next general obligation bond,” Cooper said. “I will work directly with the citizens to ensure that Ward 2 is well represented in both and that our city continues to progress and improve.”

Cooper is an Oklahoma native who works as an adjunct professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, where he also teaches Film Studies.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from OU in Film Studies with a minor in Political Science, and he received his master’s degree in English at OSU.

He currently serves as President of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle.

Hofmeister Endorsed By Garrett, Hudecki, Coppedge


Joy Hofmeister was endorsed today by three former state education officials, representing four recent Oklahoma governors. The three education leaders represent more than a century of experience as leaders in education, and have represented Democrat and Republican administrations.

The three include former Democrat State Superintendent Sandy Garrett, who was education secretary to both Governors Henry Bellmon and David Walters, Secretary Phyllis Hudecki, who served Governor Mary Fallin and former Secretary Floyd Coppedge who served Governor Frank Keating.
“I’m honored today to be endorsed by three experienced leaders who are among the most accomplished education experts in Oklahoma today. I believe their endorsement is about picking the right state superintendent to move education forward with a positive plan to accomplish our goals,” Hofmeister said.
Garrett, who was the first woman and longest serving state superintendent in Oklahoma history, served Republican Governor Henry Bellmon and then Democrat Governor David Walters. She was elected as the state superintendent in 1990 and garnered more votes than any other Democrat on the ticket.
“I’m supporting Joy Hofmeister because education should not be a partisan issue,” said Garrett. “We need a state superintendent who can successfully implement reform and advocate for education. That person is Joy Hofmeister. Joy has dedicated her life to education, and I have no question that she is passionate in her commitment. What sets her apart is that Joy Hofmeister can be effective.
“Joy will be a superintendent for teachers. I believe teachers need an advocate at this critical time in our state’s history as we are witnessing an exodus of educators from the profession.
“We also need a leader who can collaborate at the state Capitol to achieve our goals. Joy has demonstrated an ability to build coalitions, and that is desperately needed if we are to put a renewed focus on education in Oklahoma. Our next state superintendent has to be effective,” Garrett said.
Former Education Secretary Phyllis Hudecki said when Hofmeister served on the state Board of Education, “she studied the issues, gathered input from stakeholders and voted her conscience, even when she had to stand alone.
“She was fearless in doing so, but only after she collaborated with practitioners and stakeholders to understand the real impact of her vote. That is leadership. Joy’s broad scope of experience gives her an understanding of education policy, which is important as we move forward,” said Dr. Hudecki, who served as education secretary for Governor Mary Fallin.
Dr. Floyd Coppedge, education secretary for Governor Frank Keating, said, “I am supporting Joy Hofmeister because I believe she has the skills needed to get the job done. She has the professional, relational and academic experience necessary to lead the state to a standard of excellence that we can all be proud of.
“We share a vision of seeing a cooperative, working relationship between the state Department of Education and educators across the state. The State Department should be a service agency, not a monitoring agency, and I believe Joy is the candidate to achieve this goal,” said Coppedge.

Ferate Leaves Devon, Joins OIPA

capitolpeopleAnthony J. Ferate, public policy director at Devon Energy, is the new vice president of regulatory affairs for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

Ferate announced his move in a posting on Facebook.

gopad2Paid for by the Oklahoma Republican Party. Not authorized​ by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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