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Small: Pursue Pro-growth Policies

smallJonathan Small of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs advocates for pro-growth policies: http://m.newsok.com/jonathan-small-oklahoma-lawmakers-should-pursue-pro-growth-policies/article/5369015 

Loveless Celebrates GOP Majority


Senator Kyle Loveless takes note of current voter registration which shows Republicans the majority for the first time in state history.

Loveless posted on Facebook:

Today for the first time in Oklahoma 100 year plus history we are now a Republican majority registration state!

Thanks to Henry Bellmon, Al Snipes, Dewey Bart…lett, Denny Garrison, JC Watts, Frank Keating, Tom Cole, Don Nickles, Jim Inhofe, Mickey Edwards, Ernest Istook, James Lankford, Tom Coburn, and thousands of activists who knocked doors, made flyers, had bean suppers, pie sales and all kinds of events.

Growing up I never thought I would see the day.

’40 Under 40′ Did Well In Elections


The Washington Post’s selection of “40 Under 40″ politicians did well this year: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/19/the-fixs-40-under-40-redux/?tid=hpModule_ba0d4c2a-86a2-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394

Aragaon Returns To Light Duty

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Rita Aragon said today she is returning to light duty after suffering what was described as a mini-stroke recently.

On Facebook, the retired Air Force general wrote, “I returned to some light duties this week. I can’t drive long distances, so won’t be in Ardmore today, but plan to be at the ground breaking for Veterans Corner on Hiway 9 tomorrow morning!”

640 Promoters: Amendment Limits Tax Increases, Not Tax Cuts

Two individuals heavily involved in promotion and passage of State Question 640, a tax limitation measure approved by Oklahoma voters in 1992, say the provision does not restrain efforts to reduce taxes.

SQ 640 amended the Oklahoma Constitution, requiring that all proposals increasing state taxes must either be sent to a vote of the people or receive three-fourths approval in both houses of the state Legislature. Such measures also cannot be approved in the final five days of the legislative session.

Lloyd Noble II and Gary Gardenhire were board members of Oklahomans for State Question 640, a committee organized to promote the amendment ahead of its appearance on the ballot.

Thursday’s comments by the two came in response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1246, an income tax reduction passed by the Legislature earlier this year.

The filers of the suit claim that since the bill pertained to state tax collections, it needed to meet SQ 640’s requirements, which it didn’t. SQ 640 applies to any bill “intended to raise revenue,” according to the amendment’s wording.

Last month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court heard arguments on the suit. Lines of questioning by justices indicated they could potentially throw out the tax cut. This would also jeopardize other tax-relief provisions enacted since 1992.

Gardenhire, of Norman, said this would apply intent to SQ 640 that simply wasn’t there when the amendment originally passed.

“When we pushed State Question 640 in 1992, we were trying to make it more difficult for the Legislature to increase taxes and revenues in the midnight hour, as they had often done prior to that,” said Gardenhire, an attorney and former state senator.

“Our intent was not to circumscribe the Legislature in reducing taxes. To ‘raise’ revenue meant to increase tax rates. We wanted lawmakers to be more accountable to taxpayers. Our clear intent, when you look back at public comments leading up to the vote, was to make it difficult to increase taxes.

“Some dictionaries say the meaning of the word ‘raise’ is to collect. But it has always been the understanding that, with State Question 640, ‘raise’ meant increase. Court rulings since 1992 have reinforced this.

“When you ‘raise the bar,’ you’re not collecting the bar, you’re making it higher. That’s what we were attempting to do – raise the threshold, make it higher, for increasing taxes on citizens.”

Noble, a Tulsa businessman, expressed concern that a ruling against SB 1246 would affect more than just that piece of legislation.

“Oklahoma lawmakers have passed many different tax reductions since State Question 640 was implemented. They never considered that tax reductions had to meet the provisions of State Question 640 because everyone knew that wasn’t the case.

“A ruling in favor of this lawsuit could end up rolling back every bit of tax relief passed in Oklahoma the last two decades. This would be devastating to families, retirees, veterans and small business owners across this state, all because the Court would have read an intent into the law that was never there.

“It’s been 22 years since this passed a vote of the people. Many Oklahomans living and working today were not of working age and paying taxes back in 1992. They probably aren’t aware of the last-minute hijinks that went on at the Capitol to squeeze in tax increases. It was business as usual. We wanted to change that, and we were largely successful.”

Some of the tax relief measures passed in Oklahoma since 1992 that would be at risk, should the Court overturn SB 1246, include: reductions in the state’s individual income tax rate, repeal of the estate tax, increases in the standard deduction, reduction of the state’s gross production tax rate for oil and natural gas wells, tax exemptions for in-state manufacturers, and specific tax relief for retiree

Fallin: Obama Move Undermines Rule Of Law, Rewards Illegals


Governor Fallin tonight released the following statement regarding President Obama’s plan to grant amnesty to up to five million illegal immigrants in the United States:

“The United States is a nation of immigrants, and I am proud that people from all across the world want to come here to enjoy our freedoms and our prosperity.  We are also a nation of laws. Like all nations, the U.S. has borders. Those laws and those borders must be respected, for reasons ranging from national security to economics to health.

“President Obama’s decision to circumvent a newly elected Congress and grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants undermines the rule of law. It rewards people who have illegally crossed our borders and broken our laws. His decision is an insult to the millions of people around the world trying to come to the U.S. through legal means. It’s also an affront to the American people, who elected a Congress to work with the president on matters of national importance, not to be circumvented through a legally questionable power-grab.

“Finally, I have grave concerns about the president’s amnesty plan as it relates to the fiscal stability of both our federal and state governments. The president has now unilaterally granted legal status to millions of individuals who may require state-funded medical and educational services as well as other benefits enjoyed by American citizens. All of this comes with a price tag, which the president has not addressed. This decision can be added to long list of policies supported by President Obama that are driving this nation further into debt.”

An Insider’s Story: Run Mitch, Run

Mike McCarville

When Don Cogman called me several years ago to tell me that our longtime friend Mitch Daniels was considering a race for the mitchRepublican nomination for president, my spirits soared. He was the ideal candidate: spotless record, extremely successful as governor of Indiana, well-schooled in political hard knocks, intelligent…in short, an ideal candidate to many.

I didn’t know Mitch well; in earlier years, when he was a congressional staffer, we’d shared some cocktail hour time in Washington and I’d followed his impressive career and his eventual return to Indiana, where he won the governorship twice. But the GOP operatives grapevine, those I had learned to trust, said Mitch was the real deal. He proved it in the Reagan White House, in Indiana and now, Don and more of our old allies were encouraging Mitch to make the race.

Ultimately, to our dismay, Mitch decided against the race. Don Cogman’s new book Run Mitch, Run details how Don and seven other of Mitch’s confidants met with him and his family as he struggled through the decision-making process.

Daniels decided not to seek the presidency and he is now president of Purdue University.

The book detailing his intriguing story is now available from the suppliers listed below in hardcover and softcover.

Here are descriptions from the publishers:

In 2009, a newspaper columnist’s question prompted Mitch Daniels—perhaps the most successful Republican governor in the nation—to embark on a passionate, arduous, nearly two-year journey to make the most difficult decision of his life: whether or not to pursue the presidency of the United States.

Oklahoma native Don V. Cogman, a corporate and governmental affairs executive, shares a story that deserves to be told—the story of what it takes to run for President of the United States, the choices a potential candidate faces, and the hard decisions a candidate must

Don V. Cogman

Don V. Cogman

make during the process. As he offers a compelling, chronological glimpse into Daniels’ quest to make the right decision for not only himself and his family but also his country, Cogman reveals intriguing, behind-the-scene details as Daniels, with the help of eight devoted individuals, wrestled with the pros and cons of a presidential run during a unique time in America’s history.

Run Mitch, Run shares a political leader’s journey through a major, life-changing decision as he contemplates whether or not to run for President of the United States in 2012.

What does not happen in politics can be as important as what does happen. This was the case when my friend Mitch Daniels, then Indiana’s much-admired governor, decided against seeking the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nomination. This book is a fascinating look at the interplay of the personal and the political, a story of one of modern history’s might-have-beens. ~ George Will, Syndicated Columnist

This is a fascinating history of the eight people who worked tirelessly to bring to life a 2012 presidential candidacy on behalf of Governor Mitch Daniels. Highly competent, accomplished, visionary and with an extraordinary common touch but lacking an ego driven ambition- the perfect “anti-Obama”- Daniels could have been a game changing candidate had he chosen to run. Reading this story, it is hard not to conclude that the country would have been the real beneficiary of a Daniels candidacy. ~ Patrick H. Caddell, Fox News Contributor, Pollster and Political Strategist

The increasingly pernicious nature of our political campaigns and media coverage of candidates is driving some of our most talented people out of the process. ‘Run Mitch, Run’ takes readers behind the scenes on just one such case, and why then-Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, one of the most qualified people to lead our country, decided that his love of family took precedence over his willingness to seek the presidency and serve the country. ~ Charlie Cook Editor and Publisher,  The Cook Political Report, Political Analyst, National Journal and NBC News

Any American , Republican or Democrat, will enjoy this book, but I guarantee you it will also break your heart . You’ll read why a qualified, experienced, successful public servant who is a good, good man, decided he just could not run for President of the United States. And, just at a time when both parties need leaders like Gov. Mitch Daniels to offer themselves for service in high office. ~ Erskine Bowles President Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Former White House Chief of Staff


Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Run-Mitch-Decisions-Presidential-Election-ebook/dp/B00PN6W1Q2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416235266&sr=8-1&keywords=Cogman+Run+Mitch&pebp=1416235273300

iUniverse: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000966202/Run-Mitch-Run.aspx

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/run-mitch-run-don-v-cogman/1120745291?ean=9781491751060

Pruitt Pledges Lawsuit Against Obama


Attorney General Scott Pruitt said tonight he will file a lawsuit against President Obama and his immigration plan:

“Tonight, the Administration proved once again that it is willing to mislead the American people about the effects and legality of their policy agenda. As they have admitted with respect to the Affordable Care Act, they think the American people are stupid. The American people are not stupid, and can see right through this blatantly political power grab on the part of the President.

“The President can tell the American people that he is taking this action because of his deep personal convictions about this immigration issue. But if that were true, he would have taken this action as soon as possible, rather than waiting until after the elections, so as to avoid the inevitable backlash from the voters.

“The President can tell the American people that he is simply taking the same kind of executive action that presidents before him have taken. But if that were true, his Office of Legal Counsel would not have needed to spend months preparing lengthy legal memorandums exploring the legality of this unprecedented executive action.

“The President can tell the American people that he has the power to take this action, but if that were true, he wouldn’t have told the American people in 2008 while campaigning for president that, ‘there are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.’

“The President can tell the American people that this action will only be available to those who have been in the country for years. But for that to be true, the federal government would have to possess the power to ascertain when these illegals entered our country – entries that by definition occurred undetected and unbeknownst to the federal government.

“The executive action that the President proposed tonight is ill-advised, unworkable, unlawful, and brazenly political. The administration will be held accountable.”

Mullin Named To Energy & Commerce Panel


Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today announced that Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) has been selected to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the 114th Congress.

“I am excited to welcome Congressman Mullin to the Energy and Commerce Committee,” said Upton. “He’s a got a great bipartisan record of success, especially with his work on WRRDA during his time on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Further, his business experiences in Oklahoma will undoubtedly prove beneficial as we continue our efforts to create jobs, promote life-saving cures, unleash America’s energy abundance, protect families, and foster growth in this new era of innovation.”

The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing legislative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Committee has a very broad jurisdiction over issues deeply important to Oklahoma and the Second Congressional District. The Committee deals with issues such as health care, energy, telecommunications, and commerce. It oversees numerous federal entities, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Communications Commission.

“It’s an honor to be selected to serve on such an influential committee, especially during this critical time in our country’s history,” said Mullin “I’m looking forward to providing an Oklahoma business owner perspective as the committee works to address issues like regulatory reform and continuing health care problems.  Additionally, I will be able to make sure that the challenges we face with rural health care is part of the discussion.

“With Oklahoma’s top two employers being the energy and health sectors, our state has a vested interest in any actions affecting those industries.  So when burdensome regulations come down from Washington, we truly feel the impact.

“As a business owner, I have had to comply with these regulations and I know how they can impede business growth.  I’m excited to bring that perspective to the committee as we fight to reform our regulatory system.”

Oklahoma is home to four energy companies on the Fortune 500 list. The state’s largest employer is the energy sector, with one in five jobs supported by oil and gas. Second to the energy industry in employment of Oklahomans is the health care industry.

Other state and private sector officials commented on Mullin being added to the committee:

“Congressman Mullin’s appointment to the Energy and Commerce Committee could not have occurred at a more critical time,” said Dr. Steve Turner, President of Northeastern State University. “His personal commitment to improving and protecting the quality of life for all the good folks in the district is widely known and greatly appreciated.  I have every confidence that he will work with a sense of urgency through its sub committees like Health and Environment/Economy. His work ethic coupled with his understanding and appreciation of Northeastern State University’s role in optometric medicine, allied health, environmental health and safety management will serve NE Oklahoma well.”

“Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s appointment to the Energy and Commerce Committee signifies Oklahoma’s growing role in the American Energy Renaissance,” said Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources. “Poised to surpass Alaska and California as the nation’s third largest oil producer, our state is leading an industry that is fueling America’s economic and geopolitical comeback. Congressman Mullin’s commitment to free enterprise, a balanced regulatory environment and U.S. energy independence will help ensure this oil and gas revolution reaches its full potential – creating millions of jobs, billions in GDP and increased national security.”

“This is fantastic news for Oklahoma’s Oil and Natural Gas Producers,” said Chad Warmington, President of the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association. “As the only Oklahoman on this extremely important committee Congressman Mullin will be uniquely positioned to carry the message to Washington DC of the incredible innovation and importance of Oklahoma-based producers in the continuing development of our national energy security. We are very excited to have Congressman Mullin on the Energy & Commerce committee where he can continue his great work on behalf of all Oklahomans.”

“The state of Oklahoma has a proud tradition of service on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Congressman Mullin is an excellent choice to continue that representation,” said John Richels, President and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy and Chairman of the American Exploration and Production Council. “He understands our industry and has been a strong advocate for sound policies that promote jobs, economic growth and responsible energy development. His role on this important committee will undoubtedly bolster those efforts.”

“I am ecstatic to learn of Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s appointment to the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” said Eric K. Miller, Director of Business & Economic Development for the Muskogee City-County Port Authority. “During his first term, Congressman Mullin was in the vanguard of redressing issues that adversely affected the economic efficacy and vitality of two of the most important economic drivers in the State of Oklahoma-the Port of Muskogee and the Port of Catoosa. Congressman Mullin’s vision, pragmatism, ability to form working relationships and indefatigable leadership, are traits that have served Oklahoma well. Those same traits will continue to serve our state, particularly in rural Oklahoma, as he transitions to his new role with the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”

Legislators Warn Of Tax Consequences


A group of 35 state legislators released an open letter Thursday voicing concerns about the possibility that many tax relief measures passed in Oklahoma over the past decade could be overturned, should the state Supreme Court rule that tax reductions must meet the guidelines of State Question 640.

Passed on a statewide ballot by voters in 1992 as an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution, SQ 640 was intended to make it more difficult for the state Legislature to increase taxes. According to the provision, all proposals increasing state taxes must either be sent to a vote of the people or receive three-fourths approval in both houses of the Legislature. Such measures also cannot be approved in the final five days of the legislative session.

At question is the fate of Senate Bill 1246, an income tax reduction measure passed by the Legislature during the 2014 session. The new statute’s constitutionality has been challenged in a lawsuit, filed with the state Supreme Court, on the grounds that it did not meet the standards of SQ 640. The Court heard arguments on the suit last month.

The 35 lawmakers who endorsed the letter hail from all four quadrants of the state. The two legislators who carried SB 1246 in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively – state Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, and state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang – endorsed the letter.

In the letter, the lawmakers make the case that it was not the aim of Oklahoma voters in 1992 to make it more difficult for the Legislature to reduce taxes. Rather, the intent was to make it harder to increase taxes.

If the Court were to rule against SB 1246 on the grounds that tax relief measures must meet the standards of SQ 640, numerous previous tax reductions could be overturned, including: income tax reductions, estate tax repeal, increases in the standard deduction, gross production tax rate reductions, manufacturing exemptions, and tax relief for retirees, military veterans and disabled veterans.



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