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Fewer government regulations would infuse the entrepreneurial spirit with ideas, said Frank Volpe, a retired Navy Commander for 27 years and a candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th District of Congress.

“That’s what I will fight for. That’s how we will help ourselves out of this $19 trillion (debt) and counting that they voted for in December,” Volpe said.

Volpe and other Republicans had an opportunity to hear from their local candidates Monday evening at the Festival Market Place in downtown Edmond.

“We’ve got to break out the entrepreneur backpack,” he said.

“My area of expertise is national and nuclear strategic command and control,” said Volpe, a Harrah resident.

The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, the largest and most active gun rights group in Oklahoma, has endorsed Paul Blair in his Republican Primary for state Senate. Paul Blair is a candidate for the vacant Senate District 41 seat.

“Paul Blair’s character is impeccable,” says OK2A President, Tim Gillespie. “I trust Paul Blair to be a voice people can trust and a champion of the Constitution. He has a proven record of understanding, defending and championing the Second Amendment.”

OK2A actively advocates for Oklahoma’s gun rights with multiple pro-Second Amendment bills during each legislative session. Gillespie says he is confident in telling gun owners they should elect Paul Blair as their newest and strongest ally at the state Capitol.

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Former Edmond mayor and corporation commissioner Patrice Douglas was named the new CEO of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Tuesday afternoon. The salary for the newly created CEO position will be $250,000 a year.

In a statement, the chair of the TSET Board of Directors, Jim Gebhart, said, “Her experience in business, banking, community service and building partnerships across the state will be a valuable asset as we work together to build a brighter, healthier, more prosperous future for Oklahoma.”

Two white males are wanted for forgery charges at Sam’s Club, 1117 W. I-35 Frontage Road.

On May 31, Edmond Police Officer James Teal was dispatched to a larceny at Sam’s Club and met with the reporting party. He took down the information and was informed there was another crime to report.

The caller told Teal that about 3:15 p.m., April 13, two white males entered her store and used cloned or stolen credit cards, purchased 18 phone cards at $206.48 each, for a total of $3,716.64.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury report indicates continued contraction in the state economy as collections are the lowest May total in six years, State Treasurer Ken Miller of Edmond announced Monday.

All major revenue streams — income, sales, gross production, and motor vehicle taxes are lower than the prior year. The monthly bottom line has been less than the same month of the prior year for 13 consecutive months.

“As a general indicator of economic activity in Oklahoma, the May Gross Receipts to the Treasury report contains no surprises as the state deals with the ongoing spillover effects of the supply-driven energy industry downturn on income and consumption,” Miller said.

Congressman Steve Russell has been focusing his energy on supporting the POSTURE Act, a bill he supports in the House of Representatives that would prevent the budget from depleting the U.S. military to levels experienced before World War II.

Russell was in Edmond Friday engaged in a town hall at the Tealridge Retirement Community.

“Some of you will remember in this room before the 1940 National Defense Act that we had, our military was not ready for much,” Russell said.

Russell pointed out that President Barack Obama this year wanted to cut an additional 40,000 members of the military. So Russell joined the bill’s author Congressman Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., as a co-sponsor of the bill.

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All of the state’s treasury growth since the last recession has been erased as $20.8 million in gross oil and gas tax collections are the lowest since 1999, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Friday.

The 16-month trend of gross production revenue being less than the same period last year continued in April. Oil and natural gas receipts in April are based on February’s production activity. Miller said average oil prices have improved slightly during the past two months.

State Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Edmond, will serve another term in House District 96 after two Republican contenders are out of the race, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Harrah Republican Phillip Arnold was stricken from the ballot this week after a challenge by Moore. Amber Polach, R-Luther, withdrew her name from the ballot last week.

Moore, 53, currently serves as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is the chairman of the House States’ Rights Committee.

“This last year has really been tough working with the earthquake town hall, getting up to speed perhaps what is a causal of the earthquakes other than the fact we’re on faultlines, Moore said.

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These are difficult times for the state of Oklahoma as lawmakers grapple with a $1.3-billion budget shortfall, said state Rep. Randy McDaniel.

The Edmond Republican has launched his re-election campaign for House District 83.

McDaniel said he is encouraged by the hard work being done by legislators looking for real answers to fund core services while balancing the budget.

“I’m taking the budget shortfall very seriously,” said McDaniel, 48. “Education is a priority to me. We must find solutions to minimize the impact on education during these challenging times.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Annette Houchin worries that it’s hard enough for low-income families around Terre Haute, Indiana, to come up with the $2,000 necessary to get into a home built by Habitat for Humanity.

But a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act financial reforms means low-income people will have to come up with even more, said Houchin, executive director of the group’s Wabash Valley chapter.

Pastor Paul Blair, 53, of Edmond, will face two other Republican hopefuls in his bid for Senate District 41.

The district will be an open seat this year with the departure of state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, due to term limits. Voters may recall that Blair was a 2012 Republican candidate for Senate District 41 but lost that election to Jolley.

“Our state is facing many challenges today,” Blair said. “Being born and raised in Edmond, I have seen our community and state pull together before in times of crisis with common-sense conservative solutions. I am confident that with the right kind of principled leadership, we can do the same today.”

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A large outpour of candidates running for state and federal government posts is expected this week at the Oklahoma State Election Board at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Every House of Representatives seat and roughly half of state Senate seats are up for grabs, according to the election board.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Edmond, filed to run for a full term in the United States Senate on Friday.

“I want to continue my mission to bring common sense and practical solutions at this critical time in our nation,” Lankford said. “There are no easy answers to the issues we face, but we must confront the reality of our debt, our overregulation and the stagnant economy that hurts every Oklahoma family.”

The original Edmond Public Schools 2015-16 approved revenue budget was $139,690,922. With updated revenue projections including variances from dedicated revenues and federal grants for a net increase of $1,353,272, the district should see an updated revenue projection at the end of June 2016 to total $141,044,194, said Edmond Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lori Smith.

Smith added the original budget expenditures estimate for 2015-16 was $139,440,892. Projecting a net decrease of $213,937, the updated expenditure projection for 2015-16 is $139,226,955.

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City of Edmond voters gave their nod of approval to extend two city sales taxes for 10 years each Tuesday night. Both the penny sales tax and the half-cent sales tax were set to expire in 2017.

Supporters of the sales tax initiative gathered at a watch party Tuesday night at the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab to watch the election results.

With all 31 Edmond precincts reporting, Proposition No. 1 passed overwhelmingly with 80.12 percent of the vote. There were 4,894 yes votes to 1,214 no votes with 19.88 percent of votes cast against the proposition, according to the Oklahoma County Election Board.

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Edmond voters will cast their ballots Tuesday in what shall determine their quality of life for years to come.

A special election April 5 will give registered voters the opportunity to extend two sales taxes. These sales tax extensions will not pose an additional levy on Edmond residents, Mayor Charles Lamb said.

Both the general purpose 1-cent sales tax and the 1/2-cent sales tax extensions must be approved by a vote of the people or they will expire in 2017.

The city would experience a revenue gap of several years unless sales tax extensions happen, said Larry Stevens, city manager.

Congressman Steve Russell defended the Republican record of getting conservative legislation through Congress.

There was no legislation passed by Congress that made it to President Barack Obama’s desk from 2010-14, Russell said at a recent town hall at Fairview Baptist Church.

“Why? Because they were held in the Senate by Harry Reid,” Russell said.

Six pieces of legislation made it to Obama’s desk in 2015 through the reconciliation process, Russell continued. Both the Senate and the House are supposed to set a budget at the beginning of every year.

An Edmond man plead guilty Feb. 9 to check forgery and signing a false federal income tax return, stated Mark A. Yancey, a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Larry Sanford Waters is cited in connection with a $1.5 million embezzlement from a local oil and gas company, Yancey announced.

Waters admitted as part of his plea that he embezzled funds from his former employer from 2004 through February of 2014.

“On Jan. 27, 2016, Waters was charged by information with one count of a forged security and one count of filing a false federal income tax return,” Yancey stated.

State legislators face a challenging upcoming session in February with the largest budgetary problem the state has dealt with in many years, said state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

I expect the budget shortfall will be between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, Jolley said.

Jolley spoke at the annual legislative breakfast sponsored by the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce Friday morning at Oak Tree Country Club.

The Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce will host a pre-session legislative breakfast Jan. 22 from 8–9:30 a.m. at Oak Tree Country Club.

Members of the Oklahoma State Senate attending are Sen. Stephanie Bice and Sen. Clark Jolley, both of Edmond.

Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives attending are Rep. Kevin Calvey, Rep. Randy Grau, of Edmond, Rep. Randy McDaniel, of Edmond, Rep. Jason Murphy, of Guthrie, and Rep. Lewis Moore.

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The final report of the Capital Improvement Advisory Task Force was presented to the Edmond City Council this week regarding a possible extension of the half-cent Public Safety Center Sales Tax.

Revenue from the extension would serve future capital projects, Mayor Charles Lamb said. No action on the items was taken by the council.

The 21-member Capital Improvement Advisory Task Force was formed by the city council to recommend possible capital improvements from the half-cent sales tax funds.

WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe released the following statement Thursday calling for Congress to continue the fight to defund and investigate Planned Parenthood:

“A ninth video surfaced this week exposing the horrific practices of Planned Parenthood harvesting the organs of the vulnerable unborn for alleged financial gain. These videos show that this is not one or two clinics acting on their own, but these practices are a part of the Planned Parenthood business model.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement Monday in response to President Obama’s finalization of the Clean Power Plan as announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “The Environmental Protection Agency has managed to take a bad deal and make it worse. The Obama administration has no concern for costs, no concept of reality and no respect for the rule of law.

“President Obama, and his EPA know that Americans do not support his costly carbon mandates, as most prominently on display when the U.S. Senate expressly rejected such an economically disastrous idea by failing to pass cap-and-trade legislation in 2009.