Archive for August, 2007

The Best Laws Come from You

August 30, 2007

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hello again, everybody! As the pages of the calendar turn to September, it is time to begin work on the issues that will be considered during the 2008 session.

Over the five years I have served as your senator, the best ideas I take to the Capitol come from you, the people I represent. When compared to some of my colleagues, I am very lucky because my constituents have never been shy about sharing their concerns with me.

The battle two years ago to enact the death penalty for serial child molesters started with a phone call from a grandmother in Marshall County. She wanted us to do a better job of protecting Oklahoma’s children. Because of that phone call, a battle began that ultimately led to the bipartisan passage of landmark legislation to protect children.

The struggle to protect the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer – the underground water supply providing water for many of the communities I represent – began when a concerned group of citizens in Johnston County raised the issue. I will never forget the first visit I made to Tishomingo as a Senate candidate; the Arbuckle-Simpson was the greatest concern expressed.

Those conversations ultimately led to passage of Senate Bill 288 in 2003. That law made certain the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer could not be plundered for profit. The power to protect our future began with the voice of the people.

The “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday was a perennial concern of the people across southern Oklahoma. Hardly a week passed in the last five years that someone did not visit with me about this most common-sense of tax breaks. Those words shared with me by hundreds of you kept the flame burning, and ultimately led to the passage of the sales tax holiday this year.

The case of a former Republican lawmaker who got paid by the state while behind bars on a sex crime caused bipartisan outrage across the state. Oklahomans passed my constitutional amendment to prevent legislators from getting paid if they are behind bars. That was another law that began as a concern expressed by you.

As we begin our work to prepare for the 2008 session, I am again asking for ideas from you. Not every idea we have proposed has become law, but we have new opportunities ahead of us. That is the way democracy is supposed to work, and I am proud to be your voice in the Senate.

If you have any ideas for legislation, comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my Capitol office. You can reach it by calling (580) 924-2221 or (405) 521-5586.

You can also send me an e-mail at gumm@oksenate.gov or by clicking on the link on my website located at http://www.gumm.us. It is an honor to work for Oklahoma, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” have a great week, and may God bless you all.

Loveless to Walk 45 Miles for Senate District 45

August 27, 2007

Candidate Braves Heat to Walk from Mustang to Moore

Oklahoma City, OK – Businessman and Oklahoma State Senate Republican candidate Kyle D. Loveless will be making an unusual trip in his grassroots campaign by literally walking from one end of the district to the other in midst of the August heat.

“I have already knocked on the doors of over 4,000 voters all across the district. I’m spending evenings and Saturdays after work talking and listening to people to find out what they want in their next Senator and what they want from the State Capitol,” said Loveless.

In the hottest month of the year, Loveless believes that the time spent will be well worth it to get to know the people and the businesses along the route.

“What better month than August to walk from Mustang to Moore? Oklahomans and the voters of Senate District 45 don’t want a fat-cat, do-nothing Senator. They want a Senator willing to work hard to get things done. They want someone who won’t shirk from the challenges or tough fights. Walking 45 miles in the heat of an Oklahoma August won’t be easy, but it will be exciting.”

“Voters want to know that the person they elect is willing to work for the job. Whether managing our family business, Loveless Shoes, or walking in 100 degree heat, I’m no stranger to challenges, I am sure there will be plenty of hot air, just like down on 23rd and Lincoln. People will know that I will work for them as hard as I work at this campaign,” said Loveless.

Loveless will begin his walk in Canadian County on August 28th at I-40 and Mustang Road and will conclude the walk in Cleveland County, the next day August 29th. Along the way, Loveless will be making stops at the Mustang Town Center for a community meeting, the Moore Rotary lunch, and will be walking the old downtown of Moore.

He will be available to the media through his cell phone, 405-640-0740. He also welcomes any member of the press to would like to walk a portion of the route with him.

Wilson Research Strategies (WRS) to become part of Rodriguez-Wilson-Tarrance (RWT) Strategies

August 27, 2007

Lance Tarrance and Carlos Rodriguez are proud to announce that as of September 1, 2007 they are joining with Chris Wilson, CEO and Founder of Wilson Research Strategies, to form Rodriguez-Wilson-Tarrance (RWT) Strategies.

Tarrance is one of the most respected pollsters in America, and named one of the 150 people in the country influencing government by National Journal.

Rodriguez is a veteran campaign consultant and public affairs expert with more than 25 years experience at the local, state and national levels.

Related

Wilson Research Strategies has released its early August 2007 edition of the National Political Environment Assessment. This edition focuses on global warming, infrastructure and the Kentucky and Louisiana gubernatorial races.

Claunch vs Johnson Debate

August 27, 2007
Oklahoma City University
Hosts A Town Hall Meeting

Candidates For
Oklahoma County Commissioner

Forrest Claunch (R)
Willa Johnson (D)

Will Respond to Questions from the Public

Monday, August 27th ~ 7:00 PM
Meinders School of Business
Kerr-McGee Auditorium~1st Floor

Directions
Meinders School of Business is located on McKinley Avenue
Between NW 25th and NW 27th Streets
Parking is available on the north & south side of the building

Moderators for the Event:
OCU Professors Richard Johnson & Andy Spiropoulos

Where has Drew been?

August 27, 2007

Message from Chairman Jones

This week, convicted felon and former Senator Gene Stipe will appear before a federal judge in Muskogee facing the possibility of having his payroll revoked and going to prison. After many decades of alleged wrong doing, Stipe was convicted and removed from office in 2003, was given a suspended sentence, and has been on probation since that conviction.

We are now reading daily reports about another ongoing scandal involving Stipe, Stipe’s partner, former Democrat lawmakers, and several current high ranking elected Oklahoma Democrats including Attorney General Drew Edmondson, State Auditor Jeff McMahan and even Governor Brad Henry. The FBI met with our very own State Auditor for the third time last Thursday.

You have to wonder how a scandal this widespread could go on right under the noses of those officials who Oklahoma voters elected to keep it from happening. And second, why our state officials aren’t investigating the matter.

It’s actually pretty simple. The officials that could look into this mess are too closely tied to those responsible, and therefore they can’t see the forest because of the trees.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson and State Auditor Jeff McMahan (along with others) have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from Stipe and his associates. Yet they will not remove themselves from the investigation. When the governor was asked to name an independent agent to do the investigation, Edmondson responded that the request was political.

Absolutely, Mr. Edmondson…this is political. It involves large illegal political contributions to your campaign and that of the state auditor. It is political Mr. Edmondson, because the campaign consultant for both you and the auditor has been named as a recipient of state funds, which were illegally funneled through the Rural Development Foundation. It is political Mr. Edmondson, and that is exactly why you should remove yourself and demand the state auditor be removed as well

Sen. Inhofe Statement on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

August 27, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe today made the following statement on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ resignation:

“While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and I have disagreed on a few matters, including making English the national language of the United States, I appreciate his service to the country and wish him and his family the best in their future,” Senator Inhofe said. “Though he is a man of strong character and has served faithfully at the behest of the President, Alberto Gonzales’ effectiveness as Attorney General has been compromised by intense partisanship and the ongoing controversy surrounding the firing of the U.S. attorneys.”

Who Woulda Thunk it!

August 27, 2007

“President” Obama on who he would like to work with in the Congress:

“I would also seek out people like Tom Coburn, who is probably the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. He has become a friend of mine.” Sen. Barak Obama

Mandatory Deportation Has Illegals on the Run

August 27, 2007

“This isn’t about whether you are for or against immigration, or for or against immigrants. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is or if you speak with an accent. What matters is if you are in the country legally or illegally. The only people threatened by House Bill 1804 are those who choose to break the law.” Rep. Randy Terrill (R) Moore

Thousands of Hispanics have fled the Tulsa, Okla., area in the shadow of a looming state law that limits benefits and mandates deportation for illegal aliens, according to a report from KTUL television in Tulsa.

The state of Oklahoma recently approved a new law that requires deportation for illegal aliens who are arrested, and limits benefits and jobs to those individuals. The report said in East Tulsa, where a community of Hispanics has grown over recent years, there’s been a sudden drop in population.

Business owner Simon Navarro has been in business there 11 years, and said the tough law has chased away 30 percent of the state’s Hispanic population.

“Two months ago I heard 25,000 Hispanics have left Oklahoma,” he told the station. “They are leaving. A lot have already left. “People are leaving,” he said. “They’re scared of the sheriff.”
Read more…

Sonics Employee Leaks Details of Employee Meeting with Clay Bennett

August 27, 2007

Graphic courtesy of okiedoke.com

From ESPN:

Over the weekend, several different TrueHoop readers sent me a link to the same article, by Erik D. Williams and Frank Hughes in the News Tribune.

It’s an article based on information supplied by an anonymous Sonic employee who was part of meetings last week with team chairman Clay Bennett, who represents the Oklahoma City-based group that bought the Sonics and Storm last year.

In the meeting, Bennett reportedly outlined some things Oklahoma City was prepared to do to entice the Sonics to move. That would reportedly include paying a long list of expensive things: legal fees associated with breaking the arena lease, settlement costs to the lease holders, moving expenses for Sonic employees, relocation fees due the NBA, a renovation of the existing arena in Oklahoma City, and eventually a new arena there too.

(If this is really the city’s offer to the Sonics, wow. That’s a lot of money! None of those things are cheap and these days arenas are $500 million or more. Meanwhile, an article published just last Friday says 16 of Oklahoma City’s schools are failing to meet basic federal education standards.)

Williams and Hughes explain the circumstances of the discussions, and Bennett’s reaction to the leaked information: Read more…

Focusing On What Matters

August 27, 2007

Recently the Oklahoma Superintendent of Education announced her plan for Oklahoma schools to have several days added to their school year and an additional hour tacked onto the school day. In her presentation, Superintendent Sandy Garrett referenced the success of the Charter School KIPP Academy. KIPP students attend school from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and twice-monthly on Saturdays.

Principal Tracy McDaniel of KIPP Academy pointed out that going to school for more hours is fine but it will not make a difference if core scholastic instruction is not present during those days.

This comment was backed by feedback I received from an Oklahoma teacher. His letter said in part:

“Our current layout calls for 175 days of classroom instruction and five days of staff development. I can tell you that most of our students are not in the classroom 175 days out of the year. Or even 150 for that matter.

“I am just tired of going to work 175 days a year and facing the many obstacles thrown in my path. It’s not just the sports… the countless local, state, and national organizational meetings, dress up days and kids getting out of class to judge schoolmates and have pictures made (we had 10 of them last year), science fairs, speech contests, creed contests, drug meetings, sex ed meetings, homecoming practices and decorations, BETA installations, cooking and decorating for various organizational dinners and prom, class meetings, visits from class ring, athletic shoes for every sport, sr. picture, and letter jacket salespeople, weekly school meetings, people bringing flowers and balloons on Valentine’s day, picture days, local, county and state stock shows, students reading for elementary children, students missing class to lifeguard at the local pool for coaches who take their elementary PE classes to swim, and on and on and on. Every minute these things are going on students are not in the classroom – it adds up quickly.

“If we had them in school, free of distraction, for 150 or 175 or 190 days a year, there are no limits to what we could achieve. Our kids are not dumb and our teachers are not inadequate. We just need to be allowed to do our job without interference.

“If the legislature adds 15 days, let them be dead weeks or blacklist weeks. Say these are 15 days where no extracurricular activities can take place, and I promise it will be the most educationally beneficial 15 days of school the State of Oklahoma has seen since the day we wandered out of our one room school houses and the first ping of a public school baseball bat echoed across the prairie.”

Can you imagine being a teacher in our public school system and competing with all of those activities? When forced to deal with countless extracurricular events and government mandated political correctness it is no wonder our teachers and administrators are facing such an uphill battle.

I believe this is one of the reasons that alternative forms of education have been so successful. In the KIPP Charter School, students tend to focus on academics. In a recent Oklahoman story, a KIPP student was quoted as saying, “Before, my dream was basketball or something like that. Now, I want to be a businessman, and KIPP helped me set my goal.” The possibility of academic success is enhanced when students are allowed to focus on what is really important.

As always please continue to supply me with your feedback. It is greatly appreciated. I have placed the entire letter from the teacher on my blog, which can be accessed from http://www.HouseDistrict31.com.