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Category archives for: Politics

Video: Hofmeister Targets Cox Salary

Republican Joy Hofmeister continues to target opponent John Cox’s huge salary as a school superintendent as they battle to become the state’s new superintendent of public instruction:


State Chamber Names Jennifer Lepard To Government Affairs Post

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State Chamber of Oklahoma

The State Chamber of Oklahoma is proud to welcome Jennifer Lepard to its staff of policy experts. She will serve as Vice President of Government Affairs starting October 31.

“Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge to the State Chamber, especially in the critical area of health care policy,” said State Chamber President and CEO Fred Morgan. “Combined with her expertise in the legislative process, Jennifer strengthens the State Chamber’s voice for business at the State Capitol.”

Lepard will focus on health care and education policy for the State Chamber.

“After years of working in and around the State Capitol, I know that Oklahoma’s business community holds the key to solving many of the state’s most pressing issues,” said Lepard. “I am excited to be part of the State Chamber’s dynamic team working to advance policies that continue Oklahoma’s economic growth and opportunity.”

Lepard received her Master’s in Public Administration and her Doctorate in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma while working for nearly a decade as a Legislative Analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate.  Immediately prior to joining the State Chamber, she worked in private consulting serving clients in the health, energy and education fields. Lepard currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches a graduate level course on health policy.


Political Irony: Figure This One Out

Here’s political irony: the same people who were supporting Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi and Common Core are now attacking Senator Josh Brecheen, claiming he supported her.

Brecheen opposed Barresi’s support of Common Core.

In politics, lobbyists may stand for children, but not always for the elected officials who stood with them. A new commercial by the non-profit organization Stand For Children attacks Brecheen by linking him to Barresi.

The group is reportedly targeting Brecheen for defeat because he authored the repeal of Common Core. Barresi was an ardent supporter of the controversial legislation.
See the commercial here: KXII_10-23-2014_05.27.30 (1)

Weston Questions Cox Campaign Time

Republican State Chairman Dave Weston said today that Democrat state superintendent
candidate John Cox has been present at more than 100 campaign events during school time, and questions if he has earned his “$183,000″ compensation package while campaigning.

“John Cox has campaigned continuously for the last year for state superintendent, which has pulled him away from his responsibilities to Peggs Public Schools. It begs the question: What is he getting paid for?,” Weston said.

The state GOP chair said since Cox has not yet responded to an open records request, “we have no way of knowing the nature of his compensation above and beyond the $183,000 package we have recently discovered,” Weston said.

Reps. Todd Thomsen and Lee Denney recently questioned why Cox was paid “nearly twice the state average for administrators,” but the two lawmakers had listed $141,000 as the salary.
Weston claims that after reviewing the contract, the package is closer to $183,000 when counting benefits and retirement contributions. In defense of his salary, Cox has said he performs
multiple jobs in his duties at the K-8 school.


State Chamber Promotes Buxton To Government Affairs Post

State Chamber Of Oklahoma

The State Chamber of Oklahoma today promoted Jonathan Buxton to the position of Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. In this role, he will lead the Government Affairs Department which advocates on behalf of business at the State Capitol.

“Jonathan has been an integral part of our successful efforts over the past two years to make the state a better place to start and grow a business,” said State Chamber President and CEO Fred Morgan. “I’m confident he will lead our team of specialists to build on that success.”

Since joining the State Chamber in 2012, Buxton has focused on areas such as reforms to the Workers’ Compensation and public pension systems, health care, economic development and taxation.

“I’m proud of the work the Government Affairs team does on a daily basis for job creators in the state,” said Buxton. “We will continue to champion policies that reduce regulatory burdens and promote investment in Oklahoma.”

Buxton is a 2009 graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar. Before joining the State Chamber, he worked for the Oklahoma House of Representatives as a research analyst. Buxton fills the position vacated by Gwendolyn Caldwell who left the State Chamber to start her own lobbying firm, Caldwell and Associates.


Coburn Hits Federal Spending With New Silly List

Senator Tom Coburn is out with his final list of absurd spending by the federal government: http://newsok.com/synchronized-swimming-by-sea-monkeys-makes-latest-wastebook-from-oklahoma-sen.-tom-coburn/article/5358919


Bingman, Hickman Endorse Hofmeister

Senate President Pro-Tempore Brian Bingman today endorsed Joy Hofmeister, and said she’s the perfect leader to advocate for educators in Oklahoma and to address the teacher shortage.

“Due to the force of her personality, and tenacity, she can build the coalitions necessary to address the teacher shortage in Oklahoma while also strengthening standards and improving our educational system,” said Bingman.

“She is a classroom teacher, has run a business, served on the state Board of Education and has the broad scope of experience necessary to manage a state agency.

“Most importantly, she has the support of educators across Oklahoma. Educators helped to recruit Joy Hofmeister to run for state superintendent after she stood courageously and advocated on their behalf. She is willing to be a good listener and ask the right questions.

“We have to address the teacher shortage, and I need Joy to help lead the effort to improve job satisfaction for our Oklahoma educators,” he said.

Hofmeister said she’s honored to have the endorsement of Senator Bingman, and looks forward to working with him to improve compensation for teachers.

“To be effective, you have to be willing to work with legislative leaders who have the authority to make policy and budget decisions. That is just a fact. Senator Bingman helped to reverse the decline in education funding last year and has always advocated for our public schools,” Hofmeister said.

Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman Endorses Hofmeister;

Two Pledge to Solve State’s Teacher Shortage

Oklahoma Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman today endorsed Joy Hofmeister for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and said she’s the right leader at the right time to start addressing Oklahoma’s teacher shortage.

“We face serious issues in education, and we started in my first session as House Speaker by prioritizing school funding,” Hickman said. “I now need Joy as a partner to start addressing Oklahoma’s teacher shortage and to make classroom instruction in public schools a priority.

“Joy Hofmeister has proved herself to be a strong advocate for teachers and public education, including rural schools, important to my district in Northwest Oklahoma. She is the candidate who already has relationships with leaders in the Legislature, who will listen to her and work with her to bring about substantive change.

“In the tradition of independent leaders like Governor Henry Bellmon, Joy Hofmeister had the courage to stand alone as a member of the State Board of Education to oppose policies with which she disagreed. Public education needs Joy Hofmeister right now more than ever, and it’s critical she is elected.”

Hofmeister said she’s honored to have Speaker Hickman’s endorsement.

“Jeff Hickman has always been a friend to public schools, and to bring about needed changes, we have to build coalitions starting with people who are our friends,” said Hofmeister. “Now that Jeff Hickman is the Speaker of the House, we are in a strong position to achieve the change we all know is needed.

“As the next state superintendent, my first priority will be to develop a plan to increase job compensation and job satisfaction for our state’s teachers,” Hofmeister said. “The teachers are treasures for Oklahoma and every day they are fostering the potential of our young people. How can we expect them to do so when morale is at an all-time low? I look forward to working with Speaker Hickman to develop a strong plan to move forward. I’m very optimistic.

“To the teachers of Oklahoma, I say ‘we can get this done!’ and Speaker Hickman’s support is a very big step in the right direction,” Hofmeister said.

 


Cox, Hofmeister Spar Over His Salary

Dr. John Cox and Joy Hofmeister faced off Tuesday night in a joint appearance that turned a bit testy at one point: http://newsok.com/hopefuls-for-oklahoma-schools-chief-debate-issues-in-forum/article/5358961


U. S. Chamber Endorses Lankford

Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Congressman James Lankford.

U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and National Political Director, Rob Engstrom announced the Chamber’s endorsement at a meeting of top business leaders in Oklahoma City this morning.

“James Lankford is the right voice for job creators in the United States Senate. James Lankford’s 92% lifetime rating with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce demonstrates his commitment to our job-creating entrepreneurs and the American Free-Enterprise system. He understands that too much taxation, litigation and regulation is the wrong prescription to fix our ailing economy.  A vote for jobs is a vote for James Lankford for U.S. Senate,” Engstrom said.

“I am honored to be recognized by the U.S. Chamber,” Lankford said. “We must take real steps to get the federal government out of our daily lives and turn our economy around.”

“Our tax code is entirely too long, too complicated and it redistributes wealth instead of creating equal opportunity and encouraging growth. With partners like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we can reform the tax code, balance the budget and win back the American people’s trust in their government,” Lankford concluded.

Along with strong support from voters across Oklahoma, Lankford has culminated a long list of endorsements from conservative leaders and groups including The National Federation of Independent Business, Concerned Women Political Action Committee, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum PAC, Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Rand Paul, Chairman Paul Ryan, Chairman Darrell Issa, Governor Bobby Jindal, Ambassador John Bolton and Jay Sekulow among others.


Pruitt: Biblical Principles No Reason For IRS Scrutiny

pruitt2Attorney General Scott Pruitt

President John Adams said, “Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.” However, the federal government may be signaling its intention to forego the wisdom of President Adams. Recently, a Wisconsin-based atheist organization hailed its “victory” over the IRS after settling a lawsuit alleging the agency had failed to enforce the federal tax code laws prohibiting tax-exempt religious groups from electioneering.

Since 1954, the Johnson Amendment has expressly prohibited pastors from endorsing political candidates through sermons delivered from the pulpit. Such actions are what the IRS has monitored since the implementation of that law. But never has the federal government gone beyond that and attempted to police the content of sermons preached from the pulpit even where there is no specific candidate endorsement.

The lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to the IRS about so-called electioneering violations by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association after it urged citizens in newspaper ads to vote along biblical principles. The atheists also complained about a letter an Illinois Roman Catholic Bishop sent to Catholics stating, “Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord.”

Those actions clearly are not candidate endorsements, but are examples of pastors and priests exhorting their flocks to abide by important lessons from the Scriptures. The law allows clergy to address important societal issues such as the sanctity of life or the sanctity of marriage. It would be troubling, to say the least, if the IRS has agreed to take punitive action against churches based on the content of sermons delivered from the pulpit. Yet, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is claiming victory because the group said the IRS has agreed to new protocols regarding enforcement of the federal tax code.

My office has asked both the IRS and Department of Justice for a copy of the settlement agreement and any new enforcement protocols agreed to as part of the settlement. Shockingly, the federal agencies have yet to respond to our request. We remain undeterred in our effort to obtain this information. I have also written to Oklahoma pastors and clergy to encourage them to contact my office if they encounter new IRS protocols.

The founders of our country clearly believed in the importance of protecting the ability of Americans to freely exercise their faith, enshrining that very right in the First Amendment of our constitution. The First Amendment also guarantees our right to free speech, which at its core protects our ability to engage in the political process. Where those two fundamental rights intersect hangs the right of religious organizations to encourage their members to engage in the political process in a manner consistent with the core tenets of their religions. The IRS shouldn’t punish pastors and priests for the content of their sermons and should they try the agency will be met swiftly and strongly by my office in the courtroom.


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