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24 Jun
0

ODP Files Request for Ethics Opinion Regarding Governor Fallin’s Trip to Europe

[Oklahoma City, OK, June 23, 2015] – Connie Johnson, Vice-chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party and former candidate for the United States Senate, has filed a request for an ethics opinion regarding Governor Fallin’s travel to Europe during June of 2015. The ethics request seeks to determine the propriety of a private organization, believed to be the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, paying the expenses for the Governor and her spouse for such a trip.

“If this kind of private gift is allowed,” Mark Hammons, Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said, “it would be a tremendous loophole in our ethics laws.” Hammons also stated such payments from private organizations would appear to violate the Oklahoma Constitution’s oath of office which states:

“I ……, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law; I further swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as …… to the best of my ability.” Oklahoma Constitution Article XV, § 1.

If Governor Fallin was representing the State of Oklahoma on this trip, then such payment by a private group would appear to be money for the performance of an act or duty pertaining to her office.

Given the tragic conditions occurring in Oklahoma during the flooding, with loss of life and property, the Governor’s absence should not be induced by a gift from a private organization.

Oklahoma taxpayers need to be told who was in charge of the state’s Executive Branch while the Governor was in Paris. Lieutenant Governor Lamb was not visible at any disaster site or coordinating any of the emergency readiness, preparation, or prevention activities. None of the Republican leadership or Republican appointed agency heads appeared to be working to coordinate the essential relief actions or engaging in preparation or prevention efforts. Who stepped up to fill the void in leadership arising fro the Governor’s absence?

Hammons said, “It appears that the governor is out of touch with working Oklahomans. She was not one of us and not with us at our time of need.”

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16 Jun
6

Notice To Reconvene State Convention

The State Democratic Convention, conducted on May 30, 2015 at Oklahoma City Community College, was recessed following the election of officers. The recess was done to allow the Convention to consider certain resolutions, constitution, and bylaw provisions which could not be reached within the time period for which the Convention was allotted.

The location of the reconvened Convention will be Oklahoma City Community College (the same location as before). The date of the convention is Saturday, July 25, 2015. PLEASE MARK THIS DATE AND MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND!

Any persons designated as delegates prior to the May 30, 2015 Convention will be entitled to appear at the reconvened session whether or not such persons appeared at the first session. Persons who appeared in person on May 30th, may appear by proxy at this Convention and persons who appeared by proxy appear in person. The same rules governing proxies continue to apply and new proxy forms are available online or by contact the Oklahoma Democratic Party main office directly.

The matters to be addressed at the reconvened Convention include the following:

Resolutions:

  1. XVIII    Opening Primaries To Independents

BY-LAW CHANGES:

  1. Art IX, Sec.: Allowing independents to vote in the primaries

Other Resolutions

  1. III Healthcare – Section C
  2. VIII Environment – Section C and Section G
  3. XI Gun Rights – Entire Resolution
  4. XII Social Justice – Section B
  5. XVI Taxation – Section D
  6. XVIII The Democratic Party – Section “A

Constitutional Changes:

  1. V Affirmative Action – Sections 2 and 3
  2. V Affirmative Action – Section 4 (new)
  3. VII Committees Powers and Duties                – Section 7A
  4. VIII Central Committees – Section 3G (new)

Other Bylaws Amendments

  1. I Calls and Elections of Officials – Section 1D
  2. I Calls and Elections of Officials – Section 1E
  3. I Calls and Elections of Officials – Section 8H
  4. V Voting – Section 10
  5. Numerous changes in Bylaws sections to eliminate the word “Alternate” and/or “Alternate Delegate” and any grammatical corrections needed…
  6. Numerous changes to add “electronically or otherwise” after the word “mailed”
  7. Numerous changes to add “electronically or otherwise” after the word “mailing”
  8. II Certification of Elections – Section 1F
  9. IV Recall – Section 3E

Prior to the recess of Convention, the proposed resolution suggesting open primaries (inclusion of Independent voters in the Democratic Primary) and the Bylaw change authorizing such open primaries were consolidated.  These matters will be commonly debated and require a simple majority of the members.

Because of the importance of the open primary issue, the Chair will entertain a motion to enlarge the time allocated for debate of this issue for proponents and opponents alike. It is suggested that to facilitate the debate, the number of proponent and opponent speakers be limited to four (4) per side. Each side of the issue is requested to submit their proposed representatives. A motion to limit the number of speakers will be entertained if this cannot be resolved by agreement.

It is the intention of the Chair to recognize, honor, and allow brief statements by all those persons in attendance who represented the Party as nominees for statewide office in 2014. It is also the intention of the Chair to recognize all present elected officials of the Party and to invite special guests.

All prospective Democratic candidates for any office will have the opportunity to meet delegates and distribute campaign materials. All candidates and prospective candidates are invited and encouraged to attend, so please spread the word.

Lunches will again be available at the Convention at a cost of $15.00 each (the same cost as before). Again we ask that you pre-order your lunch NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, JULY 17th as additional meals will not be available for purchase on-site at Convention. Please visit www.okdlive.wpengine.com/convention-lunch to order or call the office directly at (405) 427-3366.

Finally, the Party is kicking off its “Sustaining Members” fundraiser. Under this program the Party is soliciting automatic monthly contributions via credit or debit cards. Membership is open to any Democrat willing to make a sustained monthly donation. While there is no minimum, it is requested that donors pledge to contribute at least $10.00 (if not more) per month.

Any County that has 100% participation from its delegates as Sustaining Members, will be recognized at Convention. All individual donors will receive ribbons to display at the Convention. To donate online please visit www.okdlive.wpengine.com and click on the “DONATE” button. Online sign-ups and auto-draft forms will be available at the Convention. 

AN OFFICIAL CALL TO CONVENTION WILL FOLLOW

26 May
3

Can Our “Middle Class” Be Revived?

The following opinion article was submitted by Kenneth Wells, Chair of Stephen County Democratic Party. The views expressed here do not necessarily equal endorsement of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

Can Our “Middle Class” Be Revived?

With the loss of the middle-class in the socio-economics of the United States a looming certainty, we can only ask ourselves, “What must happen to rejuvenate a meaningful atmosphere for all to live in?”

The “Middle Class” was (1) the outcome of a transition from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial-manufacturing economy, (2) World War II and (3) the rise of Organized Labor during the next 3 decades.

The transition from agriculture to manufacturing caused a drastic shift in the way people lived. People moved from rural areas, where their closest neighbor might be miles away, to city living – stacked on top of each other – a condition that is still prevalent today.

Modern farming equipment, faster methods of transportation and the promise of a more steady income was the downfall of the “family farm.”

World War II not only pulled the United States out of a “Wall Street” and “top heavy wealth” inequality. It also brought the U.S.A. out of the Great Depression. While large segments of the male populations in industrialized worlds were involved in military operations, women were called upon to fill industrial-production vacancies. When the war ended and service men came home, they found their prior production jobs filled by females. That brought about another socio-economic shift – madam now working to add to the family’s income.

Many of those who were drafted or enlisted into the different branches of the military found their educations interrupted which produced a “hole” in their economic advancement. The answer to that problem was congressional legislation – the “G.I. Bill”- which provided funds to returning servicemen/women with which to complete their educations. Tied to the “G.I. Bill” was another “Middle-Class” improvement – U. S. Government-backed financing with which the G.I. could purchase a home.

While all of this was being accomplished, President Harry S. Truman reorganized the U. S. War Department into what is now known as the Department of Defense. This action removed the Air Corps from the Army and created a stand-alone U. S. Air Force. Going one-step farther, he de-segregated ALL of the Armed Services of the United States.

Low wages, unsafe working conditions, child labor and excessive working hours with inadequate compensation were the initial socio-economic problems Organized Labor focused on. Improving those conditions brought about the rise of a class of people who could expect that their families would have a home of their own, enough to eat, a proper education for their children and savings for retirement.

To once again build that same “Middle Class” will require strong socio-economic action by federal and state governments. To overcome today’s inequalities, we will need politicians who are not empowered by financial organizations and/or large corporations donating to their “war chests.” Welfare to corporations which use our highways, railroads and natural resources significantly while paying insignificantly in use taxes, and tax giveaways for companies to relocate or expand, must cease. Those same politicians should introduce a progressive income tax system which disallows entities at the top of the income level to pay a smaller percentage of their income in year-end taxes than the lower income tiers. Sadly, today, there is little hope for this.

This is my last Democratic Opinion Article for the Duncan Banner. I want to thank the Editor(s) for allowing me to share my thoughts and opinions with you for the past three years and to my readers for your support! In the future, with the good graces of the Duncan Banner staff, the weekly Democratic Opinion Article will be furnished by Gary Reddin, Secretary of the Stephens County Democratic Party. Gary is well aware of the trials and concerns facing Oklahomans – from socio-economic inequalities to an inadequate criminal justice system to women‘s rights and beyond.

In preparing my weekly article, I must pay homage to those who assisted me in my endeavors. First, to Jack Guerkink – who is no longer with us – for his expertise and understanding of our “capitalist” system and its misuse by the powerful, and to my wife Koleta, who brought me back onto my intended path when I wandered in my writing!

Kenneth Wells 580-444-2563

[email protected]

facebook.com/stephenscountydemocratparty/oklahoma

While I am no longer a steady contributor to the Duncan Banner I will continue to record my opinions in my Blog, on40acres.wordpress.com and the Facebook page listed above. These posts will also be sent to news agencies as in the past.

22 May
0

2015 Activist Award Honorees

The Oklahoma Democratic Party created Activist Hall of Fame in 2002, to recognize inductees for their commitment and hard work to help elect Democrats over multiple election cycles and improve the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Inductions are made annually to Oklahoma Democratic Party Hall of Fame.

Below are the 2015 inductees to the Oklahoma Democratic Party Activist Hall of Fame:

ChristieWebsizeChristy Breedlove

Christy Breedlove has been active in politics since she was a small child going to events at union halls, registration drives and working on campaigns with her mother. Christie currently serves on the Tulsa County Election Board as the Democratic Alternate, and has served as the Vice President of OK Cure, Sally’s List, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Renaissance Center for Women.

KenCorn2Kenneth Corn

Kenneth has a heart for public service, proven by his becoming active in local politics while in middle school when he attended his first precinct, county and state political conventions. He was elected as one of our state’s youngest legislators serving for twelve years as a Representative and Senator. He understands constituent services—helping those who need it most.

Mack Miller

Mack has served the Democratic Party faithfully and been generous with both his time and finances. His sincerity and devotion to his County, District and State Party are unwavering. He is an outspoken advocate for Democrats in the Third District.

Charles “Chuck” Allen

Chuck Allen was the founder and a former Chair of the Eastern Oklahoma County Democrats. He was an active precinct member and campaigner for Democratic causes. If there was a Democratic function, Chuck would always be there and always eager to help doing whatever needed to be done.

Jenny ThompsonJenny Thompson

Jenny has been one of the most active and productive Democratic activists in Central Oklahoma for the past several years. She is not only a tireless volunteer, but also one who is competent, cheerful and organized. As a member of the Central Committee, Jenny was respected for her thoughtful and reasoned comments and professional approach to executing the Party’s business.

22 May
0

Oklahoma Democrats Discuss Republican Presidential Hopefuls Attending SLRC

Republican presidential hopefuls from around the country are visiting Oklahoma for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend.
It’s good that the conference is here in Oklahoma, because the challenges we are facing in our state and the fight over misplaced priorities here provides the perfect backdrop to focus in on what’s important in choosing the future leader of our country.

This year our state faces a $611 million shortfall – and the choices leaders made on how to address and fill that budget gap say a lot about their values and priorities.

In-state, Republicans chose to slash vital programs that support the middle-class and make our state stronger for the future. Why? To preserve tax breaks that will do next to nothing for the hardworking families and small businesses that drive our economy.

The contrast between the parties is as evident at the national level as it is in the fight on our state level:

Republicans presidential hopefuls want to embrace the failed policies of the past that benefit a select few at everyone else’s expense – and Democrats want to continue to move the country forward and strengthen the middle class.

Democrats have been and will continue working to move forward for the middle class.

For the years under Republican leadership Oklahoma has continued to fall in education, and now we have almost reached the bottom of the barrel. That doesn’t stop Democrats from fighting to get to the top of the class and provide access to early childhood education, classroom resources, and a fair and equitable education for all students in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma schools are experiencing an unprecedented teacher shortage and those courageous teachers willing to keep going are tired and neglected. Schools are crumbling and shutting their doors. Around this country, public schools are fighting rising class sizes and declining state aid – but Democrats are the ones here and nationally who are standing up for education because we understand its importance as “the great equalizer.”

As Democrats, we know that issues like ensuring pay equity and raising the minimum wage are not just women’s issues – they are family issues, and they are economic issues. That’s why, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed into law by President Obama. And why Democrats nationally continue to fight for a fair living wage so no hard working American has to live in poverty.

Under Democratic leadership in the White House, we have experienced 62 straight months – five full years – of private sector job growth nationally. Pay and benefits rose in 2014 by the most in the last six years.

Meanwhile, here in Oklahoma under Republican leadership, we’ve seen an outsourcing of our state dollars – privatizing state entities from prisons, to schools, to Medicaid programs, and seen a loss of accountability and transparency in our government.

In short: Democrats are the party of inclusion, of empowerment, and expanded opportunity. We are the party fighting to ensure that all Americans, not just a select few, have a fair shot and a chance to get ahead with the opportunity to achieve that legendary “American dream.”

This election will come down to a key contrast in values: As Democrats fight to build ladders of success for the middle class, Republicans are trying to bring back trickle-down economic policies that have failed time and time again.

Democrats will work to ensure everyone has a fair shot, while Republicans continue to stack the deck in favor of the wealthy and corporations and against working families.
So as the GOP candidates descend on Oklahoma this weekend we’re urging Oklahomans, and everyone else who’s watching around the country, to pay attention to what the candidates say — but more importantly take a look at their records.
And I’ll turn it over to Holly to go into a little more detail.

The records of the Republican hopefuls are clear – and they don’t line up with the values of Oklahomans or the American people.

Marco Rubio says he’s a new leader with fresh ideas, but he’s a just peddling the same tired Republican playbook. Rubio opposes raising the minimum wage and said that suggesting it would help Americans move up was “silly.” Rubio defends tax loopholes and cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but has proposed raising taxes and fees on the middle class.

Scott Walker’s talked about bringing Wisconsin to Washington, but the fact is he’s already brought the worst of Washington’s dysfunction and divisiveness to Wisconsin. Walker pitted the people of his state against each other in ideological fights, while his true priority has been to please his special interest allies at the expense of working Americans.

Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal’s failures as governors have driven their state economies and finances over a fiscal cliff– leaving the middle class to fall even further behind in New Jersey and Louisiana. Much like Mary Fallin, who is more concerned about toeing the Tea Party line than addressing our state’s challenges.

Earlier this year, Mary Fallin vowed to support education – particularly higher education – but many Oklahomans agree this was the worst year public education has seen in decades–promises were broken and higher ed was cut by more than $24 million. This is exactly the kind of leadership we’ve seen and can expect from her Republican colleagues.

Ted Cruz is determined to oppose and obstruct any and all attempts to help the middle class. He led the fight to shut down the government so he could deny people affordable, quality health care – costing the economy $24 billion in the process.

Rick Perry’s failed record in Texas tells us all we need to know about what kind of leader he would be — one who never fails to put allies and special interests before working families.

As for Jeb Bush – well we know exactly what to expect from a Bush presidency, because we’ve seen it before: policies that wreck the economy, that give massive breaks to the wealthy and corporations, and that are out of step with the American people, including women, LGBT Americans, Latinos and people of color. Throughout his career, Jeb Bush has consistently put what is best for himself and people like him above the priorities of working Americans.

We know the devastating impact that pitting people against people, and core functions of government against each other, can have on the middle class. That approach is what the Republicans visiting Oklahoma this week continue to embrace, and it’s not a recipe for success for our country.

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