Archive for June, 2008

"Just Before a Big Storm…"

June 1, 2008

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody. The 2008 session of the Oklahoma Legislature ended at 10:30 p.m., Friday, May 23 – a week before the date by which we must complete our session.
It was a strange session. The atmosphere at the Capitol was very much like that just before a big storm. Throughout the session, you could feel the storm coming but it had not arrived.
That “storm” will be the elections that will occur this year, determining the composition of the Legislature in 2009. Term limits, as much as Oklahomans’ votes, continue shaping the Legislature. In the Senate, there will be at least five new members replacing five who reached their service limit of 12 years.
Because this is an election year during which partisan control of the Legislature will be determined, neither side took many risks. Neither Republicans nor Democrats wanted to make any mistakes that would come back to haunt them come election time.
There were few major battles. Even the budget was resolved with little creativity or squabbling.
My fight to end insurance discrimination against autistic children probably was the most watched battle. Despite the public attention to the fight, it came to an end in the proverbial “smoke-filled room” when House leaders refused to even allow a vote.
On that issue, you may rest assured that the families who fought alongside me and I will both be back to pick up the battle in 2009. Every child is precious, including those afflicted with autism, and they and their families deserve our help.

One measure I believe will have the greatest long-term impact was my bill to create an Oklahoma public umbilical cord blood bank. In time, this measure – which had to overcome many obstacles – will give every Oklahoma family the ability to bank umbilical cord blood resulting from the birth of a healthy baby.

Researchers tell us that many diseases can currently be treated with the adult stem cells in cord blood. This law will give us the means to treat more Oklahomans with these life-saving therapies, and open the door to every Oklahoma family rather than just those families who can afford the thousands of dollars it costs to privately bank cord blood.
Over the next several editions of “The Senate Minute,” I will review some of the accomplishments and disappointments of the 2008 session of the Oklahoma Legislature. There is much to discuss.
Despite the session being adjourned, the work of state government goes on. As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns about any issue, feel free to contact me. You can reach my Capitol office at either (580) 924-2221 or (405) 521-5586. You can also reach me by email at You also can follow news on my website at

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

Will Brad Engage? Or Will He Fiddle While Largely African American N.E. OKC Goes Down the Tubes?

June 1, 2008

While officials like Shelton, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, Mayor Mick Cornett and County Commissioner Ray Vaughan are aggressively publicly opposing the casino, at least two officials are conspicuous in their silence: Gov. Brad Henry and County Commissioner Willa Johnson.

The controversy surrounding the proposed Shawnee Tribe’s casino in northeast Oklahoma City is heating up.

It’s rumored that there will be a Tuesday night town meeting of citizens whose homes and businesses in the area surrounding Remington Park will be harmed if construction of the casino is allowed to move forward. Remington Park, who most observers believe will go bankrupt if the casino begins operation, sits in State Rep. Mike Shelton’s house district 97. Shelton is publicly calling on citizens to voice their concerns to the BIA before the Friday deadline.

While officials like Shelton, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, Mayor Mick Cornett and County Commissioner Ray Vaughan are aggressively publicly opposing the casino, at least two officials are conspicuous in their silence: Gov. Brad Henry and County Commissioner Willa Johnson.

Henry is rumored to be meeting with agricultural interests regarding the track this week. When the casino becomes operational, the subsequent bankruptcy of Remington Park will kill the horse breeding industry in Oklahoma according to a report filed by News9’s Rusty Surrette Friday. The race track says 25,000 Oklahoma jobs will be lost.

The BIA’s 30-day comment period closes Friday, and Henry’s painfully slow reaction to take a position, given his chummy relationship with a key Shawnee Tribe official, has given rise to speculation the governor will either sit this issue out or intervene on behalf of the tribe, which will enrage Oklahomans and elected officials from both parties. If Henry were to go on record in opposition to the casino, it would carry great weight with the BIA, and insiders tell OKPNS that business leaders and other officials are steamed at the governor, who always goes to great lengths to avoid taking positions on tough issues.



The Casino and Mr. Chicken

Mickey Leftwings Strikes Again!

June 1, 2008

“Let me begin by citing a few of your statements with which I am in accord (and with which most liberals and progressives also agree)….I also agree it “would be wrong for conservatives to adopt a knee-jerk negative response to tax proposals or spending initiatives.” -Liberal Washington Post Columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. (5/21/08)

Former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards, who was run out of town for his involvement in the house banking scandal, is busy today doing what he does best: back-stabbing the Republicans in a liberal setting.

Taking a cue from the Scott McClellan-Benedict Arnold wing of the party, the former Congressman was in the ‘conservative’ Washington Post back in March, slipping the knife into long-time colleague Dick Cheney.

“For at least six years, as I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the Bush administration’s repeated betrayal of constitutional — and conservative — principles, I have defended Vice President Cheney, a man I’ve known for decades and with whom I served and made common cause in Congress. No longer.

For those too young to remember, Edwards is the former Oklahoma 6th-District Congressman who was a principal ‘perp’ in the house banking scandal of 1992. Edwards was one of 22 representatives condemned by the House Ethics Committee after it was revealed he had bounced 386 checks at the House of Representatives bank in 13 months, further illustrating Edward’s elitist reputation for playing by different rules than normal folks.

While many folks like his buddy Vin Weber simply slunk off into the sunset, Edwards had the temerity to try re-election in the 1992 Republican primary, and Oklahoma Republicans fired him as he finished last in a three-way primary that eventually saw Ernest Istook elected to replace the congressman.

Since his firing by the electorate, the humiliated Edwards has held a string of academic positions that allow him to criticize Republicans and dissemble on an unsuspecting public. Just this week, Edwards fabricated an easily-disproved tale when he attempted to fool our readers into believing that uber-liberal billionaire George Soros was not involved with the liberal think tank Aspen Institute. Ironically, Edwards attempted to use Weber, and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, as evidence that the Aspen Institute is “studiously, and carefully, non-partisan and non-ideological.”

From a 2006 Time Magazine article titled: “The Rise and Fall of Ralph Reed”

“For a high-profile religious conservative like Reed, the stories of being paid millions by one Indian tribe to run a religious-based antigambling campaign to prevent another tribe from opening a rival casino made him look like something worse than a criminal–a hypocrite. He had once called gambling a “cancer” on the body politic. And the e-mails to Abramoff didn’t help, especially those that seemed to suggest that the man who had deplored in print Washington’s system of “honest graft” was eager to be part of it. “I need to start humping in corporate accounts!” he wrote Abramoff a few days after the 1998 election.”

So today the bitter and arrogant Edwards is in the Washington Post: Obviously a much better opportunity to fool people than in OKPNS.