Eleven years and 11 months ago Edmond was looking for a location for a new conference center and hotel. Downtown Edmond was stagnant, and our hopes for economic growth were pinned to retail around a new conference center and hotel and the hopes that more national chain restaurants would come…

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

alert

There is nothing more important than planning for the future of our children.

alert

A lengthy ballot is facing Edmond voters Tuesday with a variety of candidates for state offices, five state questions, and judicial retention.

featured

As you ponder which way to vote in the primary election we’d like you to think about medical freedom. That’s what approval of State Question 788 does. It’s about giving medical doctors the ability to use the entire arsenal of medicines that should be available to the public.

If you are about my age, 2016 was a strange year. For many of us, it feels like we’ve been overcome with the deaths of stars we grew up with. Many of those who passed were musicians, but there were others, too.

You’re interviewing two candidates for a job. The first has no job experience, doesn’t appear to take the process very seriously, and focuses on issues that don’t matter instead of answering your questions.

It was one of the most interesting presentations I observed this year: a veteran state transportation official spoke to a mixed group of long-term and new lawmakers.

He spoke of the importance of the state’s eight-year plan to upgrade state highways and replace bridges. He told the audience of his appreciation for their work to create and fund this plan and he very articulately contrasted the way things are now compared to the way they used to be 12 years ago.

“You have taken the politics out of transportation funding,” he said.

As I have spoken and written of the benefits of the legislature’s transportation policy reforms in recent years, I have pointed to two main factors of the reform: the redirection of motor vehicle revenues from general government funds back to transportation, and a criteria-based assessment system for determining which projects are funded first.

As Americans, our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee us certain unalienable rights that are the foundation of a free society. Common sense dictates, however, that individuals who perpetrate acts of terror against their fellow citizens must necessarily forfeit some of those rights.  Bu…

Readers may have noticed my sparsest of references to the recently concluded legislative session. During the recent month I have given the events of this year deliberative thought and have been hesitant to speak out too quickly. I thought it best to think over the events of the year before w…

We keep hearing that the American voter is fed up with the status quo.  At the national level, we continue to flounder: The national debt is out of control; the cost of the Affordable Care Act for taxpayers and policyholders has grown at a ridiculous pace; government regulations are handcuff…

We have long supported comprehensive immigration reform and lamented the inability of Congress — whether it was controlled by Republicans or Democrats — to approve forward-thinking legislation. But this editorial board has also long opposed the use of executive power in ways that usurp the a…

topical

A recent opinion article published in The Edmond Sun contains misinformation intended to inflame OG&E’s customers about our recent request for rate recovery and the effect the proposed bill structure changes would have on them. Allow me to set the record straight on some of the claims st…

The digital revolution was supposed to create an age of empowered microentrepreneurship, with power devolving to the masses. Instead, we’ve got the new Robber Barons: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, with Uber and a few others trying to join this profitable circle of global oligopolies.

In the United States, Amazon increasingly dominates the retail landscape. It handles about 40 percent of all book sales. For online sales of all merchandise, Amazon’s market share keeps increasing; it’s estimated that, for each additional dollar Americans spend online this year, about 50 cents will be spent with Amazon. Its market value is now about $300 billion.

For 240 years, the ideal of liberty has been engrained in America’s foundation. The words that were written so simply yet eloquently to establish a Republic and a Declaration of Independence have fundamentally been the guiding force in America’s story. Our fundamental right to express ourselves is the basis of practicing our freedom, and it should never be taken for granted.

As we reflect on America’s Independence Day, we must remember the vision that our Founding Fathers had for our country — a country that remains at the forefront of liberty and stands strong with freedom and independence.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) is at it again, and Oklahoma consumers should pay attention.

This time around, OG&E is asking the Corporation Commission to make three changes to residential customer’s bills including a rate increase, doubling the ‘customer charge’ and adding a mandatory ‘demand charge’. Let’s take a close look at each of these proposed changes and the effect they could have on a household’s bill — Oklahoma consumers, are you paying attention yet?

The first part of OG&E’s request is that the Corporation Commission grant approval for a $92.5 million rate increase. This change would increase the average customer’s bill by more than $85 per year. Secondly, OG&E is looking to DOUBLE their monthly ‘customer charge’. Currently, this charge is due to OG&E just for being a customer, even if no electricity were used in a month. Doubling this charge from $13 to $26.54 would mean that a customer would owe OG&E almost $327 a year before they even turn on a light!

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. — Country singer Mark Wills, who grew up in this tiny North Georgia town, and publisher Mark Thomason of the weekly newspaper, have a common yearning: both are “Looking for America” and its freedom values.

Wills does so in his song of that title; Thomason is doing so in his faceoff with a local judge who had him arrested and jailed for submitting an uncomfortable public records request.

Thomason’s pursuit of bank checks issued by the Appalachian Judicial Circuit to determine if they had been cashed illegally so incensed Chief Judge Brenda Weaver she had the publisher and the newspaper’s attorney, Russell Stookey, indicted recently for identity fraud charges.

In pursuit of his misguided climate obsession, President Barack Obama has opened yet another front in his continuing war against America’s 260 million car owners.

Starting in the 2025 model year, less than a decade away, new vehicles will have to achieve a whopping average 54.5 mpg.

This phase of his climate crusade will force motorists into smaller vehicles that are less safe and more expensive. It constitutes a deadly assault that will result in thousands of unnecessary deaths each year.

I’ve been to the moon. I’ve been burned. But more often I’m honored. I’m your American flag.

With 13 stars for colonies clamoring for freedom, I was first flown at Fort Stanwix in New York in 1777 and then carried into battle for the first time at Brandywine in Pennsylvania. By war’s end, I was saluted as the emblem of a sovereign nation, new and free. I’m your American flag.

But challenges lay ahead. With 15 stars and 15 stripes, I survived shock and shell at Fort McHenry in Baltimore in 1814. With the aid of rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air, I was spied from afar at dawn’s early light by a patriot poet. I was then celebrated in sight and song by a fledgling nation. I’m your American flag.

I wrote an article in 2011 about a new, disturbing trend of political correctness which I strongly believed presented a real danger to the ability of policymakers to engage in honest and open debate.

Here’s what happened: The Oklahoma Constitution states that legislators shall not be questioned in any other place for any speech or debate in the legislature. According to the Constitution, the speech of legislators while considering legislation is sacrosanct.

The Oklahoma clause mirrors a provision in the U.S. Constitution. It places priority on the ability of legislators to speak without fear of retribution, to expose any wrong, debate any idea, and express any point of view, regardless of how unpopular or controversial the viewpoint.

While our nation continues to mourn the innocent lives that were lost in the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, Fla., our leaders are pushing to know more details as each day passes. And each day, another disturbing truth is revealed.

Unfortunately, the conversation has strayed from the shooter’s clear, ISIS-inspired motive. The blame has shifted from the shooter’s mind, to the shooter’s gun. The root of this evil is terrorism, and we must do everything we can to stop it.

The good jobs are disappearing. Those that predated the digital revolution are dropping away altogether or being replaced by low-paying service jobs and other less secure employment. These include part-time jobs, freelance contracting and gig opportunities. The number of Americans working un…

Like the many before it, this year’s presidential election will be hosted in accordance with the constitutional principles of states’ rights as represented by the Electoral College. Unfortunately, this important practice is no longer something that we should take for granted.

In 2014, the Oklahoma Senate stunned many Oklahomans by approving a proposal to counteract part of the constitutional principle of states’ rights.

When the Founding Fathers designed our Constitution, they included an important mechanism to ensure that smaller states such as Oklahoma were represented in the Electoral College by giving each state two Electoral College votes, regardless of population.

Education is the cornerstone of a productive society and a prerequisite for fulfilling, happy and independent lives.

It is because education is so closely tied with our well-being that it should sadden and alarm all of us to see so many of our schools, and with them our children, falling behind.

The commonly named culprit is lack of funding, and there is of course some truth to that argument, especially in light of this year’s budget crisis. Schools can do more with more resources. Better pay for teachers, for instance, allows schools to attract and retain better teachers. Educators are right to be alarmed by the effect that budget cuts may have on their profession, our schools and our students.

More than six years after Obamacare was signed into law and forced upon the American people, the outlook for the law looks even bleaker than before. Throughout its implementation, millions of Americans have directly felt the negative consequences of the president’s unworkable law through lost coverage, unfair mandates and higher premiums. In fact, the already ridiculous premiums resulting from Obamacare are expected to see another dramatic increase in the coming year.

According to the findings of a study conducted in more than a dozen cities by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Obamacare premiums next year will likely go up by 10 percent on average. The study also found that some areas could see an increase as high as 18 percent.

It was only a snow globe, but it mattered to me. For 24 years, a wedding present had sat next to my side of the bed, a snow globe with a red-headed tux-clad groom, looking adoringly into the eyes of a blonde-haired bride. One day recently in a moment of carelessness, I bumped the snow globe and it came crashing to the wood floor. While the snow globe seemed small all these years, it apparently contained 10 feet of glass and at least a gallon of glitter-filled water. After an hour of cleanup, I thought about fixing it, but the headless groom and smashed glass told me that it was beyond repair.

As intentionally spelled out in the U.S. Constitution in the first and arguably most foundational amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Because of those profound words inspired and adopted by our forefathers in the first years of our nation, citizens have enjoyed the right to hold and exercise their personal beliefs, regardless of religious or political persuasion. Sadly, the Obama Administration has a poor record of respecting those freedoms — in particular, at the Internal Revenue Service.

During the past few weeks, legislators made numerous efforts to scrounge up extra cash for the government by eliminating tax deductions, increasing fees, and stepping up tax enforcement protocols.

I consistently oppose attempts to increase fees and taxes by insisting that state government should become more efficient. Tax and fee increases simply enable the legislature to avoid its responsibility of requiring this efficiency.

I am also hesitant to approve increased tax enforcement protocol. I have observed that when legislators make a grab for cash, the new regulation falls on the taxpayers who have already been struggling to navigate and survive the already-existing labyrinth of government regulations.

The United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. By 2040, an estimated 80 percent of all U.S. energy consumption will be met by carbon-based energy. And, the country could export as much oil as it imports within 15 years.

That is, if lawmakers don’t fall under the sway of environmental extremists determined to block new pipeline projects and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, recently noted that if fossil-fuel companies “can build those pipelines and mines, then for the next 40 or 50 years they’ll be able to get carbon out cheaply enough to compete (and to wreck the planet).”

If they can’t, he adds, “the transition to clean energy (will become) irreversible.”

Announcements of American government willingness to sell arms to two questionable clients — one of three governments claiming legitimacy in war-torn Libya and the corrupt and incompetent military of Nigeria — raise serious questions about what is going on in Washington in the final months of…

Warfare has evolved again, and today, terrorism has become an intrinsic part of the world order. This type of conflict is ambiguous, spills across borders and is not subject to the lessons learned from history’s book on warfare. However, President Barack Obama has decidedly attempted to convince the American people otherwise, particularly in the War on Terror and in confronting ISIS.

Time and again, President Obama has made clear his objective to bring troops home, and in areas of ongoing conflict, he has authorized a minimal and limited “boots on the ground” presence. Now given the troubling violence instigated by ISIS and spreading across Iraq and Syria, even the president undoubtedly realizes that keeping “boots on the ground” in some capacity is unavoidable. It remains to be seen if Obama’s policies can be effective in stabilizing regions where civil society and governance have struggled to take root.

WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz rose in the presidential race by painting Republican leaders as sellouts and insisting only he had the courage to fight a broken system. Those same elites returned the favor by snubbing him when it mattered most, refusing to rally the party behind him and all but ensuri…

Oklahoma is on the verge of sparking a restoration of the Constitution in this country. If our elected leadership has the courage, that is.

For the umpteenth time since Republicans have taken control of the state, the legislature is about to pass another pro-life bill which the governor will almost assuredly signed into law. After that, we can expect a legal challenge from some out-of-state pro-abortion group, and the courts will strike it down. At least that’s how it usually goes. But this time could be different.

SB-1552 by Sen. Nathan Dahm, which passed the House Thursday by a 59-9 vote, would revoke the medical license of any doctor who performs an abortion within Oklahoma (except to save the life of the mother). The federal government does not issue medical licenses, states do.

As you read my article last week, I suspect you were rather horrified to realize the enormity of the legislature’s mistake — they provided the scantest deliberation before approving Common Core standards.

Common Core made its appearance late in the 2010 session as a conference committee amendment to a bill that until then had dealt with teacher evaluation policy. As the 2010 session came to a close, the vote for Common Core was brought to the House floor a few minutes before 10 p.m.

The legislature’s failure to properly deliberate this issue proved incredibly costly to the citizens of Oklahoma. Four years and millions of dollars later, the legislature admitted its mistake and tried to unwind the policy, but not until after it had put the entire education system through an emotional roller coaster of trying to abide by new standards that were subsequently repealed.

President Barack Obama is hostile to open debate and research that contradicts his opinions and policies.

The most recent evidence of this came last month when Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and said the Department of Justice has discussed pursuing legal action against companies, research institutions and scientists who debate whether humans are causing catastrophic climate change.

The revelation that the Obama administration has asked the FBI to investigate people involved in an ongoing scientific debate should shock the sensibilities of all Americans.

It was not Obama nor Lynch who first broached the idea of prosecuting climate realists for exercising their free-speech rights; that dishonor falls to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who in a May 2015 op-ed published in The Washington Post argued that the fossil-fuel industry is collaborating with conservative think tanks to disseminate research contradicting the scientific consensus on man-caused climate change.

Finally, after two years of governors caving to corporate bullies, two governors have stood strong to protect the common good. North Carolina’s Pat McCrory has signed a law that protects privacy and safety in public school bathrooms. And Mississippi’s Phil Bryant has protected religious freedom in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.

Both laws are being misrepresented by those who oppose them. Here’s what they actually do.

It’s almost the time of year again that the majority of Americans consistently dislike most: tax day. When it comes time for filing income taxes, similar woes and frustrations related to navigating the nation’s needlessly complicated tax system are shared by most Americans. Because of the he…

A lawmaker recently stopped by my office. We were elected in the same year and reflected on the performance of the numerous Speakers of the House who have served during our time as legislators. He had no problem sharing his honest point of view and his critique was mostly negative.

He doesn’t have fond memories of most who held the office. “They were great when they were just normal members of the House, but once they became Speaker, everything changed,” he opined.

It’s not the first time I have made this observation: no matter how benevolent or heavy-handed the Speaker, most are not remembered fondly.

Why is this?

The world was supposed to end in January.

Well, at least according to Al Gore. In “An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 global warming documentary featuring the former Vice President Gore famously warned that without taking major steps to cut greenhouse gases within the next decade, the world will “reach a point of no return.”

That deadline has come and gone. We’re still here. And Gore has been forced to scale back on making dire warnings of a “true planetary emergency.” Indeed, the last decade rebukes Gore’s entire alarmist worldview.

Gore has made grand promises about the power of renewables to meet America’s energy needs. At a recent “ideas summit” sponsored by the Atlantic magazine, he stated that solar energy electricity offers “the most exciting source of hope.”

Too many people don’t like the news media because of the conventional notion, advanced by our critics, that journalists are cavalier with the facts and report the news with bias.

I took a pledge in 2006 to refuse personal gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists and their employees. When I took that pledge, I knew it was the right thing for me to do, but I didn’t envision the various impacts of the pledge in the long-term.

For example, in the past few years, I have been asked to share my honest feedback and insights with other legislators. I can do so for three primary reasons.

Over the years, I have specialized in shared central service policies that touch different areas of government. This gives me a policy knowledge about the checks and balances that keep out corruption and slash duplicate costs which have long haunted state government. This experience allows me to provide advice to other legislators regarding proposal which act for or contrary to good government.

These days it’s unusual to see Dana Murphy without her aging-blue 2008 pickup truck.

Murphy bought the truck new, right before she launched her first campaign for Corporation Commission. In the past eight years she has driven it — on her own dime — more than 183,000 miles.

She’s visited towns, talked to community groups, attended meetings. She’s given so many speeches that facts just roll off her tongue as she talks about the commission, which governs transportation, oil and gas wells, public utilities, and petroleum storage.

Despite its broad mandate, the three-person Corporation Commission, of which Murphy is vice chairwoman, was until recently an obscure government agency that operated quietly, without much notoriety or scrutiny.

That all changed when the earth started shaking.

This Week's Circulars