As election day on Nov. 6 approaches, I continue to receive questions from constituents about the items on the ballot and the election process.
This is the first general election since the redistricting process. If you have not voted this year, it might be wise to see if your polling location has changed since the last general election. Visit hd31.org/189 to see a map of each precinct polling locations in House District 31.
Some voters want to know more about the judges that are up for retention. Here are some links to the bios of these individuals. Visit hd31.org/360 for Supreme Court bios (click on the colored geographic sections for the specific judge’s bio), hd31.org/358 for Court of Appeals bios and hd31.org/359 for Criminal Court of Appeals bios. Various court decisions are online at OSCN.net for those who want to review them.
The names of each judge in the order they appear on the ballot and the governor who appointed them are as follows: Noma Gurich (Gov. Brad Henry), Yvonne Kauger (Gov. George Nigh), James Edmondson (Gov. Henry), Douglas Combs (Gov. Henry), Clancy Smith (Gov. Henry), Arlene Johnson (Gov. Henry), David Lewis (Gov. Henry), Thomas Thornbrue (Gov. Fallin), William Hetherington (Gov. Henry), Kenneth Buettner (Gov. Frank Keating), Bobby Bell (Gov. Henry) and Bay Mitchell (Gov. Keating).
Voters often want to know information about the state questions. Visit hd31.org/361 to see a copy of a sample ballot. It’s a Tulsa County sample, but the state questions are the same as they will appear on the local Oklahoma and Logan county ballots. Visit hd31.org/347 to review my article about the state questions. I very strongly support four state questions and oppose two of them. The linked story shows how I voted on these questions when they came before the Legislature, and also provides a brief description of each question.
Some want to know if State Question 765 abolishes the Department of Human Services. I agree that the wording in the question is confusing but the state question does not abolish DHS. The question, if approved, would abolish only the unelected commission that oversees the department. It would allow the department to be administered by the governor’s appointee. This creates direct responsibility to the governor and the people who elect her as opposed to an unelected board.
One constituent asked why State Question 759 does away with affirmative action programs except when Oklahoma must keep affirmative action in place as part of federally funded programs. I believe this is because those who drafted this proposal likely knew that the question may not be approved if it endangered funding such as Title IX funds for Oklahoma’s collegiate programs. This doesn’t change the fact that passage of this question will substantially reduce the amount of affirmative action requirements put into place by state law.
I would encourage voters to visit the new transparency portal at documents.ok.gov and search for the term “affirmative action.” I think many will be shocked to see how much bureaucracy (and your tax dollars) are tied to implementing these programs inside of state government. Passage of this state question should save many taxpayer dollars and eliminate these bureaucratic processes.
I know there are other questions about next month’s election. I intend to address more of them during next week’s column. If your questions have not yet been addressed, feel free to email your questions to Jason.Murphey@hd31.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.