The Edmond Sun


November 17, 2012

OUR VIEW: Doing the right thing

EDMOND — On Wednesday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Senate swore in their newly elected and re-elected members in preparation of the 2013 legislative session. It was a moment for those elected to public office to savor their success, share their victory with family and friends who came to watch the ceremonies and be cordial with their new colleagues.

We want to congratulate those in the Edmond delegation who regained their offices and to heartily welcome newly elected House District 82 Rep. Mike Turner, R-Oklahoma City, whose district includes much of the Deer Creek area.

This next legislative session will be one of the most intriguing sessions to watch in recent memory for a variety of reasons.

The saga of how much federal funding Oklahoma will accept and the mandates that come with those monies will be an overriding theme of the next session. The debate over federally mandated health exchanges will be just the first of probably several such fights to occur in the next year.

At the same time, Oklahoma’s continued strong economy likely will give legislators a significant increase in revenue to spend, putting the state almost back to pre-recession income levels. A Tax Foundation report recently critiqued the 2012 legislative session for its spending growth, citing Oklahoma as one of the states with the largest government spending increase in the nation while in the hands of a Republican-dominated government.

While that political conundrum is true, there are some good reasons for it. For decades, when Oklahoma was under Democrat control, the state utterly failed to appropriately maintain and fund regular infrastructure improvements. Those failures ranged from a deteriorating highway system to a failure to adequately maintain law enforcement levels commensurate with the state’s growing population. The state also allowed the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office to stagnate to the point the agency lost its accreditation. Our state’s citizens cannot even visit the state Capitol without fear of masonry falling on their heads as they walk in the door.

Since Republicans took over the House and Senate reforms have been in the making such as the consolidation of the state’s IT infrastructure that is estimated to save more than $200 million when complete. Particularly since the election of Gov. Mary Fallin, the state is starting to see some of the above-mentioned problems corrected. There are many more problems waiting to be tackled and most will take funding to fix them.

It stands to reason that Oklahoma will need to increase spending in certain areas to correct the past gross mismanagement of state resources.

The key to this expenditure increase, however, will be to ruthlessly eliminate government excess and waste in other areas that are not core functions of government. By focusing on repairing necessary infrastructure, adequately funding public safety and creating policies that foster economic growth, Oklahoma has a chance at creating a haven in the U.S. for those who believe that limited government is the best government. It is also a path to creating a state that offers a quality of life and a business environment that will be the envy of the rest of the nation.

To achieve these goals — a state that supports its citizens’ economic development efforts instead of just taking their money for wasteful reasons — our 2013 legislative leadership must demonstrate perseverance, vigilance, integrity and a passion for doing the right thing, which includes continued government spending reforms.

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    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
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    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results