The Edmond Sun


July 9, 2012

What will this look like 30 years from now?

GUTHRIE — Since February 2007 I have written a column each week to keep constituents informed about occurrences in state and local government.

The feedback from an article from two weeks ago inspired me to write about the methodology I have developed over time and now use when creating these columns.

Positive content should be featured most of the time. It is too easy, especially in times like these, to make the mistake of highlighting the negative at the expense of the positive. I have observed many positive occurrences in state and local government and intend to highlight the positive at a significant ratio to the negative. Columns containing less-than-positive news must be produced in accordance with firm procedures.

Two weeks ago this update described a lawmaker who obviously slow played a vote in an attempt to avoid taking a tough stand. Several people wanted to know this person’s identity. I did not disclose it! It was not my motive to embarrass or bring attention to this specific individual’s action. Rather, the story was designed to illustrate the importance of requiring lawmakers to vote on every issue.

Only in very rare circumstances would I cast a negative light on the actions of named individuals. This is based in part on observations made when researching the history of House District 31. I enjoy visiting the Oklahoma History Center and reading through old copies of local newspapers. This provides perspective on the events of the past and their effect on the current day. I have noted the tone of some of the negative content where one person was attacking or questioning the motives of another in a column or letter to the editor. Now, years after those angry words were printed, they cause me to question the spirit of the writer. His harsh words are preserved for all to see, long after the specifics of the dispute have been forgotten.

Sometimes the best articles are written in the emotion of the moment. But those articles should never be released until enough time has passed to rationally decide whether or not to submit.

A few weeks ago I published an article titled, “When Faith Meets Politics.” Substantial parts of the article were written on an iPad using Google Docs during a caucus meeting. There is nothing like seeing politicians in action to inspire both negative and positive observations such as those included in that article.

Fortunately, I held on to the article for some time and refined it only after getting feedback from trusted friends. After the conclusion of the legislative session and after much consideration, I released it. In retrospect, it was appropriate to release this update after waiting for a bit.

The best practice governing the release of these articles goes as follows. An article written in the emotional of the moment should not be immediately distributed. When the article names someone and puts them in a less than positive light, it should be put through the following filter. If my son or grandson reads this article in 30 years, will he think it is fair and just? Or will he be ashamed his father or grandfather unjustly attacked the reputation of a fellow colleague?

This would all be a moot point if it were not for your readership. As always, thank you for reading these columns and thank you for your continued feedback and input.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at, on Facebook at and

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  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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