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25 Sep
0

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Statement on Resignation of Speaker Boehner

[Oklahoma City, OK, September 25, 2015] – The Oklahoma Democratic Party released the following statement from Chairman Mark Hammons regarding the resignation of US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):

“Today we want to thank Speaker Boehner for his many years of service to our country. While our party disagreed with the Speaker on many issues, we do wish him and his family the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life. While the Speaker’s resignation comes as a shock, we firmly believe that this reflects the inherent failure of the extremist Tea Party faction of Republicans in Congress to lead or govern. We call upon our Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to work with Speaker Boehner to help prevent any impending government shutdown and urge them to vote for a Speaker that will work with members of both parties to bring common sense back to the halls of Congress.”

25 Sep
0

Oklahoma Democrats Disappointed in Inquiry of Army Ranger School from U.S. Representative Steve Russell of Oklahoma

[Oklahoma City, OK, September 25, 2015] – Recently, Oklahoma’s own Congressman Steve Russell (R-5), sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh – the Pentagon’s top Army leader – demanding documentation regarding the conditions under which new trainees in the Army’s Ranger School were evaluated and their performance ratings – but only for the women.

Just over a month ago, two women, First Lieutenants Kristen Griest and Sayne Haver, graduated from the Ranger School. These two women made history as they were among the first women accepted to the school and the first two to complete the program.

As the military begins to move towards opening all positions to women, there has been much apprehension and scrutiny about this transition; however, Congressman Russell’s demands, despite multiple reports from top Army officials asserting that no changes or accommodations were made for the female trainees that are not also given to male trainees, seem outright misogynistic and demeaning. Out of 400 students that started the school there was a 67-percent drop/fail rate and among the 20 female students it was an 85-percent drop/fail rate as of August 15th. By those numbers alone, we can see that these women have given their all and pushed through to complete their training; a fact that should never be in question.

“Insinuations from Congressman Russell that these women can’t pull their own and support their fellow troops simply because they are women are unconscionable in 2015. Time and time again we see that women, when put in the same conditions as their male counterparts, are just as capable of performing the duties assigned to them. Characteristics which we demand from specialized military programs, like the Army Rangers, must be built, taught, and conditioned no matter who you are. Brute strength can be built; emotional discipline under stress must be conditioned for all of us; combat tactics, skills, and specializations are taught. There is no reason to think that these women would not be able to perform and be judged by the same conditions as all other trainees,” stated Mark Hammons, Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

“We await the results of the inquiry – as does the rest of the country – and our hope is that not only will these women and the Army be cleared of these accusations, but that from here forward statements and demands such as Congressman Russell’s will cease and our U.S. military will continue to expand and grow through inclusion.”

21 Sep
0

ASDC T3 Training Program

The Association of State Democratic Chairs was able to develop a strong training curriculum that will serve as a blueprint for county and municipal organizing for 2016 and beyond. They’ve partnered with a number of departments within the Democratic National Committee, as well as other allied organizations to bring you the most comprehensive 8 weeks of training in areas such as grassroots organizing, Democratic messaging, campaign technology and much more.

The T3 Training Program will officially launch Monday, September 14 at 6 pm EST. All training sessions will be conducted online using GoToWebinar.com, and will take place every Monday and Wednesday through November 9th. The full curriculum for our training program can be found below.  Links for the sessions will be sent via email so please keep a close eye on your inbox. Participants should participate in all 8 weeks of sessions to maximize the impact of this program. For additional questions about the T3 Training Program, please contact your state Democratic Party at Sarah@okdlive.wpengine.com.

If you would like to be added to our T3 Program email list, please click here and fill out the required section of the form.

 

Week Topic Curriculum
14-Sep Introduction to T3 Program/Overview

Goals of the T3 program- timeline and curriculum overview; assessment results; certification and “Train the Trainer” expectation

The Democratic Party- a breakdown of national, state and local organizational structure; mission of the Party; Party leadership

16-Sep Technology

Basics of VAN and Tech platforms- processing volunteers; mapping and cutting turf; miniVAN/field tracking

List building and data management- data entry and creating lists; adding and searching people; breakdown of codes and categories

21-Sep Communications

Party Messaging in 2016- Overview of Democratic message; Factivist program; ways to amplify the message; national priorities

23-Sep Communications

Traditional media- best practices for writing op eds and letters to editor; writing a good opinion piece; fact-checking resources

28-Sep Digital

Basics of social media organizing- using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for recruitment; what not to post on social media; DNC digital partnership

30-Sep Digital

Email organizing- basics of managing an email campaign; what makes a successful email; building an email list; how to send blast email (digital platforms); content best practices

5-Oct Grassroots Organizing

Volunteer recruiting- how to organize house meetings; making the ask; building volunteer lists; sharing your personal story

7-Oct Grassroots Organizing

Voter contact- scheduling volunteer shifts; setting voter contact goals; do’s and don’ts of a successful canvass operation; do’s and don’t of a successful phone bank; building neighborhood teams;

12-Oct Opposition Research

Managing Trackers- how to track; barriers to tracking; how to transcribe and load footage; best practices for tracking; party resources (Project Vantage?)

14-Oct Technology

Phone banking- adding and editing voter information; making virtual phone bank calls; basic troubleshooting methods; creating and assigning user accounts

19-Oct Grassroots Organizing

Managing your voter registration drive- finding voter registration laws in your state; best practices for successful voter registration drives; drafting an effective voter registration script; site-based vs door-to-door registration; working with your local Board of Elections

21-Oct Grassroots Organizing

Volunteer management- volunteer motivation; creating and tracking volunteer shift goals; office culture

26-Oct Fundraising

Recruiting small dollar donors- donor motivation; donor list building; making the ask; bookkeeping

28-Oct Fundraising

Funding your grassroots efforts- making the sponsorship ask; budgeting

2-Nov General Campaign

Managing events- planning logistics for small campaign events; tools for managing guest list

4-Nov Political

Candidate recruitment- building the bench; making the ask; filing process

9-Nov Organizing Trainings

Teaching what you’ve learned- how to organize trainings in your state

Breakdown of T3 Content Book

16 Sep
0

Oklahoma Democratic Party Welcomes Cyndi Munson as the Newest Member to the Oklahoma House of Representatives

[Oklahoma City, OK, September 16, 2015] – Today history was made. At just after 10:00 a.m., Cyndi Munson was sworn in as the new Representative for House District #85. The House Chamber was filled with many of Representative Munson’s family, friends, and supporters.

Mark Hammons, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party stated, “We could not be more pleased with the outcome of this election. The dedication and hard work of Representative Munson and her campaign team should be a model for Oklahoma Democrats across the state and proof that no race is out of reach.

“Representative Munson definitely has her work cut out for her in the coming months but we have no doubt she will shine and stand up for her constituents. We further understand that the battle is not over with a re-election just around the corner in 2016. The Oklahoma Democratic Party looks forward to continuing to support Representative Munson and all of our Democratic candidates in 2016.”

27 Aug
0

Kouplen Responds to Marlatt Tax Hike Accusation

Rep. Steve Kouplen (D-24)

Rep. Steve Kouplen (D-24)

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, responded Thursday to the claim by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, that House Democrats want to finance a teacher pay raise with a tax increase

“There is one thing Senator Marlatt and I can agree on,” Kouplen said, “and that is, as he stated, ‘Our teacher shortage has reached a crisis point, and our teacher salaries continue to fall further behind those of our regional competitors.’”

Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation in teacher pay, and dead last in the region – an average of 9% lower than salaries paid in surrounding states.

“When did that happen?” Kouplen continued. “Did it occur just recently? Or could the senator’s statement have been made two years ago when more than 30,000 people came to the Capitol to express their concerns for education, asking the Legislature to not cut income taxes or gross production taxes and fund education?”

The senator’s claim that any member of the House Democratic Caucus proposes a tax hike “is laughable,” Kouplen said. “The senator knows that because of State Question 640, the likelihood of any tax hike in Oklahoma is virtually nil,” Kouplen said.

“However, SQ 640 did not prevent fee increases that everyone in Oklahoma – from businesses to John Q. Public getting a driver’s license – will tell you have skyrocketed.

“Requesting a delay or halt to an income-tax cut that was enacted when Oklahoma supposedly had the third-strongest economy in the U.S. is not a tax increase. If the senator thinks that maintaining the income-tax rate at the existing level is equivalent to a tax increase, he took a different math class than I did.

“Even when the economy was strong the Republicans were cutting state programs and budgets,” Kouplen recalled.

“The real question is how do we deal with this crisis? The term ‘crisis’ to me means immediate. So let’s examine Senator Marlatt’s proposal:

  • It will be five months before the Legislature is back in session next February.
  • We face a possible billion-dollar shortfall in the state budget next year.
  • The next general election is 14 months away.
  • It would be 2017 before any pay increase or money for education was possible under his proposal.

“So, would you wait that long to deal with a crisis? That sounds like the captain of the Titanic rearranging the deck chairs after they hit the iceberg. Instead, I suggest the senator ask the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to deal with this crisis.

“And while we’re debating whether to rob the constitutionally protected Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund to finance a teacher pay raise – and you can be assured that that would be just the first of numerous raids on TSET funds – let’s deal with other critical issues, too, like the Corrections Department, health care, county roads and bridges, the Department of Human Services, and mental health, just to name a few. I’m sure those folks are busy rearranging their deck chairs, as well.”

NOTES

  • Republican House Speaker Jeff Hickman, speaking to the Tulsa Republican Club last Friday, said Oklahoma is “one lawsuit away” from another federal takeover of its prison system. (State prisons were under federal supervision for 11 years, 1974-84.) Oklahoma prisons are at 116% of capacity but staffed at only 60% “of where they should be,” Hickman said.
  • Oklahoma’s incarceration rate of 654 per 100,000 residents compares to a national rate of 480 per 100,000, and Oklahoma imprisons women at the highest rate in the country, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  • Oklahoma’s $53.01 in per-capita expenditures on mental health services is the 46th lowest in the nation, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation calculates.
  • The obesity rate in Oklahoma is the sixth-worst in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Although tobacco use in Oklahoma has declined, 23.7% of the adults in this state – almost one of every four – used tobacco products in 2013. Research showed that 22.7% of Oklahoma high-school students – more than one of every five – used some tobacco product in 2013, and almost 10% of all Oklahoma middle-school students used a tobacco product that year.
  • The Oklahoma State School Boards Association said its latest survey indicated that even though 600 teaching positions were eliminated since the 2014-15 school year, school districts report 1,000 teaching vacancies remain.
  • A $1,500 per year across-the-board pay raise for Oklahoma’s 40,000+ public school teachers would cost approximately $65 million. Interest earnings from the TSET corpus, certified earlier this month, totaled $42.8 million.
  • The reduction in the state income tax from 5.25% to 5% on Jan. 1, 2016, will lower state revenues by $400 million over the next three years, the Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates.
  • Oklahoma’s combined local and state tax burden is the fifth-lowest in the nation (Tax Foundation).
  • Oklahoma’s corporate tax burden is the seventh-lowest in the nation, and Oklahoma’s property tax burden is 11th-lowest in the nation (Oklahoma Department of Commerce).

(Representative Kouplen can be reached through his Capitol office at 405.557.7306.)

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