Archive for January, 2008

Tipline: Williams Seeking OKGOP Chair?

January 31, 2008

Sources are telling the Oklahoma Political News Service that OKGOP Vice Chair Cheryl Williams was introduced by Senator Clark Jolly at last night’s precinct meetings as the “next OKGOP Chairman.”

Many insiders believe that after State Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan’s multi count indictment, a third Gary Jones’ candidacy is an eventuality. Insiders believe Williams is finally making her true intentions public after many months of quiet speculation among those who are in the party know.

The source says to count current party chairman Gary Jones as one of those who is wary of Williams. His distrust of her has created a relationship that can be described as “icy at best.”

Readers will recall Williams embarrassed Oklahoma at the National Convention in 2000 when she was ejected from the RNC Platform Committee by Governor Ridge. The media trumpeted her behavior as proof of “Dissension” within the ranks of the Party faithful

.

OKPNS will continue to investigate.

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Murphy Says She’s "Best Choice for Corporation Commission"

January 30, 2008

(Edmond, OK) As another candidate tosses his hat into the Corporation Commissioner race, Edmond oil and gas attorney and longtime Republican political activist Dana Murphy says Oklahomans need to remember to select the best choice for Corporation Commission.

“Right now we need the best qualified people serving Oklahoma,” says Murphy. “Oklahoma needs a person with proven experience and skills in the areas served by the Corporation Commission.”

“I am an oil and gas attorney who served nearly six years as an administrative law judge at the Commission, spent 10 years in the field as a geologist, appeared before the Commission representing my clients, and gave testimony before the Commission as an expert witness.

“No other candidate has the experience I have when it comes to working at and with the Corporation Commission. Compare our records and experience; I am confident you’ll find that I have unmatched qualifications.

“In this critical time for the energy industry and our state, we don’t need to send someone to the Commission who needs significant on-the-job training. I have the education, the experience and the knowledge of the Commission and the issues to hit the ground running, working for Oklahomans from day one.

“I have spent my entire adult career preparing for this job. I have no aspirations of higher political office, no dreams of political glory. As a fifth generation Oklahoman, I want to use my talents and abilities to serve the state that has done so much for me and my family by serving as a Corporation Commissioner.”

Related:

TMRO: As Expected, Rob Johnson Joins Dana Murphy In Corporation Commission Race

"John Boy" Drops Out

January 30, 2008

“John Boy” Edwards – or the “Breck Girl” as he’s affectionately called by Rush Limbaugh – dropped out of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes today.

The “two America’s” populist rhetoric, from a guy who owns a 26,000 square foot mansion and gets $400 haircuts, just wasn’t playing too well this year.

For you loyal Edwards Democrats missing his twangy drawl and nauseating populism, below is a video of a campaign appearance Edwards made in Oklahoma City on January 18th.

EXCLUSIVE: Dewitt & Winchester Strike Deal?

January 30, 2008

Sources tell the Oklahoma Political News Service that the “establishment” wing of the Republican House caucus – those that had once supported Lance Cargill – have coalesced around Rep. Gus Blackwell, the current Speaker Pro Tem.

Speculation is that former Speaker Cargill is not the only member with potential ethical skeletons in their closets, thus the belief that one of their own won’t push for investigations or further reforms.

As for the members of the caucus that opposed the Cargill group, sources also indicate a “deal” between Rep. Dale Dewitt, Braman, who is being supported by agricultural and rural interests, and Rep. Susan Winchester, Chickasha. The terms of the “deal” are that the anti-Cargill element will advance one candidate against Blackwell, and that at this moment DeWitt and Winchester lead the pack. They’ll compete to see who makes the runoff against Blackwell.

Our sources say the “corporate welfare crowd” has jumped in to advance a Winchester candidacy but that DeWitt is slightly ahead at this time. Regardless, it appears that the loser of the DeWitt and Winchester contest will support the winner in their quest to lead the insurgents.

OKPNS will continue to investigate

Challenges Will Make for an Interesting Session

January 30, 2008

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

This very well could be the most important “State of the State” address Governor Henry has given. This set of challenges is so different when compared to any we have faced since I became your senator. The governor has an incredible opportunity to blaze a new trail for our state. We all will be listening carefully to his address.

Another shift in the political landscape occurred this week when House Speaker Lance Cargill resigned as Speaker amid a variety of ethical and legal charges; there will be a new leader in the House of Representatives. We also have the potential for impeachment proceedings against State Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan following his federal indictment.

These challenges – along with the looming 2008 General Election – will make for an interesting session that will test our ability to find common ground. The road ahead is uncertain, but I am sure of one thing: You have placed in me your trust and given me the responsibility to fight for those things that matter most to you. Read more…

Challenges Will Make for an Interesting Session

January 30, 2008

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody! In only a few days, the 2008 session of the Oklahoma Legislature will begin its work.
The Oklahoma Constitution requires us to return to the Capitol at noon on the first Monday in February to begin the people’s business. After gathering in the Senate Chamber, we will travel across the Rotunda to the House of Representatives to hear Governor Henry’s “State of the State” address.

In the five years I have been your senator, we have had both incredibly difficult budget years and those in which state coffers were full to overflowing. This is a year that will be somewhere in between the devastating budget cuts of 2003 and the large tax cuts of 2005 and 2006.

These “middle years” are sometimes the most difficult budget years. During tight years, everyone understands budgets have to be cut; in flush years, everyone wants – and almost everyone gets – a bigger piece of the budget pie.

With only a small amount of additional money available, just about every state agency is putting in its bid for those resources. The money is nowhere near sufficient to meet all the requests from state agencies, many of which are positive proposals that – in a perfect world – would be funded.

The first step in writing a budget and setting Oklahoma’s course will come from the governor in his “State of the State” address. These speeches are the most important a chief executive gives, as the governor will review our progress and lay out one vision of where Oklahoma should go.

This very well could be the most important “State of the State” address Governor Henry has given. This set of challenges is so different when compared to any we have faced since I became your senator. The governor has an incredible opportunity to blaze a new trail for our state. We all will be listening carefully to his address.

Another shift in the political landscape occurred this week when House Speaker Lance Cargill resigned as Speaker amid a variety of ethical and legal charges; there will be a new leader in the House of Representatives. We also have the potential for impeachment proceedings against State Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan following his federal indictment.

These challenges – along with the looming 2008 General Election – will make for an interesting session that will test our ability to find common ground. The road ahead is uncertain, but I am sure of one thing: You have placed in me your trust and given me the responsibility to fight for those things that matter most to you.

Regardless of the politics under the Capitol dome, that responsibility always guides me. With the wisdom you share with me, and the prayers you lift up for my family and me, we will create the brighter future that is the birthright of every Oklahoman.

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

"The Oklahoma 3" Rally with Paul Jacob, Sen. Randy Brogdon

January 30, 2008
Hat tip: Okie Campaigns

Rep. Dorman’s Thoughts on Cargill & The Speaker Position

January 29, 2008

By Rep. Joe Dorman

The office of Speaker used to be the most powerful political position in the state of Oklahoma. After the ouster of Jim Barker in 1989 and the passage of term limits, many younger members with no institutional memory and a great deal of ambition have been elected which has diminished the authority of the office of the Speaker. I have some of the longest-tenured knowledge of the House due to my years as a staff member before being elected, so I’ve seen many of the changes occur. Most of them have not been good since they have been politically driven due to no successful campaign finance or ethics reform.

One thing I will say is that I’m optimistic. Lance Cargill was known to be divisive and much like Tom Delay in Washington when it came to campaign finance scrutiny. Whoever succeeds him in this position has the chance to undo much of the harm that has been caused over the last year to the institution and work to bring about serious reforms in our first year of the second century. I promise you that I will do my part to help the new Speaker move Oklahoma towards a better future. Read more…

Open Door Policy – January 29, 2008

January 29, 2008

On Monday, House Speaker Lance Cargill of Harrah stepped down from his office and announced that he was unable to continue the job due to various issues. He will continue as a State Representative, but I’m not certain if he will seek another term of office when his re-election occurs this year. I wish him and his family the best as they try to sort through the various problems that have arisen during his tenure.
There will be an election held this upcoming Monday to select a new Speaker. There have been several candidates that have announced their intention to seek the office. All of these candidates have different aspects that make them strong candidates, so it will be interesting to see which one is successful. This race, due to the Republicans holding 57 of the 101 seats, will likely be settled by their caucus and they will unify behind one person rather than seek votes from the Democratic Caucus. I would love to see a coalition Speaker be elected by all 101 members, but that rarely happens in modern politics. For most, it’s harder to work with both parties to find a common goal over just appeasing those elected within their own party.
The office of Speaker used to be the most powerful political position in the state of Oklahoma. After the ouster of Jim Barker in 1989 and the passage of term limits, many younger members with no institutional memory and a great deal of ambition have been elected which has diminished the authority of the office of the Speaker. I have some of the longest-tenured knowledge of the House due to my years as a staff member before being elected, so I’ve seen many of the changes occur. Most of them have not been good since they have been politically driven due to no successful campaign finance or ethics reform.
One thing I will say is that I’m optimistic. Lance Cargill was known to be divisive and much like Tom Delay in Washington when it came to campaign finance scrutiny. Whoever succeeds him in this position has the chance to undo much of the harm that has been caused over the last year to the institution and work to bring about serious reforms in our first year of the second century. I promise you that I will do my part to help the new Speaker move Oklahoma towards a better future.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My home number for work is 1-580-476-2626. My e-mail address is joedorman@okhouse.gov at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Reining in Free "Unadulterated Entertainment" for Legislators!

January 29, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

There is some very good news to report about the effort to level the playing field between the paid special interests groups and the people.

During the first six months of 2007, paid lobbyists reported giving legislators $137,000 in personal gifts, such as expensive dinners or sporting events tickets. This spending power basically bought access to the legislators on behalf of the spenders. This is the type of access that the average person (whom the legislators are supposed to be representing) simply cannot compete with.

I feel that the special interests’ influence problem has in large part been created by the massive size of government. Because state government has become so engorged with billions of our tax dollars, and because there are so many different government regulations and laws, a cottage industry has sprung up that is populated by those who seek to benefit their specific field of interest. Because there are millions of dollars at stake, these special interests will see an investment in personal gifts or political contributions to lawmakers as being a small price to pay, compared to the possible benefits. Read more…