26 Oct

Oklahoma Democratic Party Statement on Fallin’s Announcement of Cuts to Oklahoma Agencies

[Oklahoma City, OK, October 26, 2015] Today Governor Fallin announced that government agencies should prepare to cut nonessential expenses by 10 percent. This is further proof that the Republican led legislature is incapable of governing at the most basic level. Their inability to project revenue within the margin of error allowed by the Oklahoma Constitution is a new low in Republican fiscal responsibility with continued unnecessary and painful cuts to essential public services.

This latest announcement highlights the irresponsibility of the Governor and Republicans in approving a tax cut despite knowing there would be a $600 million budget shortfall. This is further compounded by the fact that we now know next year’s budget shortfall could easily double to over $1 billion and because of that agencies will continue to receive even deeper cuts.

In Governor Fallin’s release she talks about protecting “essential services” and getting “ahead of this issue as we enter a difficult budget year.” The irony is the Governor, her department heads, and the Republican legislature failed to do exactly what she is now calling on agencies to do as a result of her deficiency.

Governor Fallin and legislative Republicans have long claimed to stand for fiscal responsibility. Today’s announcement further underscores how far their empty political rhetoric is from the truth.

12 Oct

Oklahoma Democratic Party Statement on Indigenous Peoples Day

[Oklahoma City, OK, October 12, 2015] While today is the traditional observance of Columbus Day, numerous Native American tribes, cities, states, colleges, and people across the country are instead working to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. Here in Oklahoma, several tribal nations, the City of Anadarko, and the University of Oklahoma have all made it an official holiday and the Oklahoma City Council will bring the proposal to a final vote on Tuesday, October 13th.

Indigenous Peoples Day is about recognizing the importance of Native American heritage, to honor culture and traditions, to celebrate the unique contributions of our Native American tribes to our great country, and to remember and reflect on our shared history. Because of that shared history, we should all learn about past injustices and ensure that we don’t allow them to happen again.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party strives to seek liberty and justice for all of our citizens. By recognizing Indigenous People’s Day, we believe that we can all work together in being proactive in unifying all Oklahomans.

08 Oct

Oklahoma Democratic Party Calls for Independent Investigation

[Oklahoma City, OK, October 8, 2015] Today another disturbing revelation came out about Oklahoma’s incompetence when it comes to carrying out the death penalty. The nation continues to watch these embarrassing events unfold and this is just the latest in a long line of failures of the Fallin administration.

Responding to an investigation by The Oklahoman that found the Department of Corrections failed to follow protocol in the January execution of Charles Warner, Governor Fallin said she is “fully supportive of” an inquiry into the Warner execution launched by the Attorney General. Fallin believes that this inquiry will provide Pruitt’s office with information needed to “make sure justice is served competently and fairly,” but we wonder how that is possible when the execution in question happened more than nine months ago.

On October 1st, Alex Weintz, the Governor’s spokesman, said “There was never any question of whether this drug [potassium acetate] was effective or whether it would achieve the same outcome” regarding the stayed execution of Richard Glossip.

In May 2014, former Representative and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Joe Dorman called for a blue ribbon panel be formed under the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the botched execution of Clayton Lockett. At the time, Fallin dismissed that idea as political, yet now she has hired an outside counsel to investigate these latest mishaps.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party now calls for an independent investigation into the execution practices and procedures of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

“This is just another example of the hypocrisy and incompetence we have come to expect from Governor Fallin & Attorney General Pruitt,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Interim Executive Director Russell Griffin. “The people of Oklahoma deserve better from their elected leaders. The Governor and her administration have had well over a year to get this right yet, once again, we are presented with evidence that they can’t or won’t. It is past time for there to be an independent investigation into the Department of Corrections and its execution protocols. We no longer trust that the Governor or Attorney General can handle the jobs they were elected to do. When even The Oklahoman Editorial Board says that this embarrassment needs to stop, Governor Fallin needs to realize she has once again failed to lead.”

07 Oct

Oklahoma Democrats Weigh In on Removal of Ten Commandments Monument from State Capitol Grounds

[Oklahoma City, OK, October 7, 2015] On Monday night the Ten Commandments monument was moved from the State Capitol a few blocks away to where it now resides, on private property, at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) – an ultra-conservative think-tank with numerous alignments and ties to ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). Since Monday, Governor Fallin has declared she will not rest until the monument is returned to the Capitol, seemingly deciding to ignore Oklahoma’s potential $1 billion budget shortfall and other economic woes facing the Sooner State.

“The actions Governor Fallin and Scott Pruitt have taken on this issue are nothing more than an effort to draw attention away from her failed economic policies,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Mark Hammons. “While the Governor and Attorney General have wasted critical funds on frivolous lawsuits, Oklahoma’s roads and bridges are decaying, almost 850 emergency teaching certificates have been issued to address teacher shortages, thousands of Oklahomans remain without access to quality healthcare, and our budget shortfall is in the hundreds of millions, with some projections indicating up to $1 billion next year. The simple fact is that Governor Fallin and her administration cannot govern and they are desperate to distract the public from her failed leadership and policies.”

Despite the initial generous donation of the monument from Broken Arrow legislator, Representative Mike Ritze, the replacement monument has not been paid for despite claims that Ritze and Fallin would make efforts to raise money for the replacement, no word from anyone on how those efforts are going. Adding insult to injury, now it looks like Oklahoma taxpayers are on the hook to pay for the $4,700 bill to move the monument ten blocks south to the OCPA.

07 Oct

Oklahoma’s Lack of Second Quarter Personal Income Growth is Another Example of Failed Republican Policies

[Oklahoma City, OK, October 7, 2015] Governor Mary Fallin’s economic policies have led the Oklahoma economy into the tank. Tax cuts and tax credits for the wealthy and top-heavy corporations have depleted Oklahoma’s revenue to the point where the state is facing a potential billion-dollar budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. To add to the state’s woes, Oklahoma citizens are now seeing no growth in their personal income.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released a report that ranked the state of Oklahoma at number 50 in personal income growth throughout the second quarter. Oklahoma was the only state to have zero percent growth in personal income; however the national personal income increased 0.9 percent during the same quarter.

Surrounding states that border Oklahoma all showed growth in personal income. Colorado had a personal income increase of 1.0 percent, Arkansas and Missouri saw a 0.8 percent and New Mexico saw a 0.7 percent increase. Texas – the biggest oil producing state – grew at 0.6 percent while Kansas grew at 0.3 percent in personal income.

Unemployment has continued to rise in Oklahoma from 3.9 percent in January 2015 to 4.6 percent in August 2015. Throughout the same time period, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped from 5.7 percent in January 2015 to 5.1 percent in August 2015.

Governor Fallin has recently tried to incorrectly link Oklahoma’s shortcomings to policies coming out of the White House but while the rest of the country is growing – with national increases in personal income growth, 64 straight months of private sector job growth, and a drop in unemployment despite a hard hit to the energy industry – Oklahoma continues to fall behind and we only have our own state’s administration to blame for that. It is time for Oklahomans to support policies and lawmakers that will help grow the Oklahoma economy and put money back into the pockets of hardworking Oklahomans.

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