Monday, July 31, 2006
On Saturday more than 500 Oklahoma Democrats gathered to renew old friendships, develop new ones and commit themselves to action over the next 100 days. This gathering in Oklahoma was one of more than 800 events held across America.
Our gathering was a great success and I will recommend that the ODP make it an annual event. But before that happens we have some elections to win.
If you want to help elect Democrats, check out www.100actions.com. Let us know how you want to help.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Young Democrats of Oklahoma president Alisa Cole presided over today's YDO Constitutional Convention held at the ODP HQ in OKC. These young people are serious about their organization and about electing Democrats. Thanks to their hard work and desire to things right.
I look forward to a growing organization that will provide our future leaders and legislators.
Thanks for letting me be an observer today!
Pottawatomie County Democrats hosted their own family reunion Saturday evening at their annual banquet at the Elks Lodge in Shawnee. Probably two hundred or more folks attended, including First Lady Kim Henry, Jeff McMahan and his wife, Cody Graves, Lloyd Fields, Dianne Hunter (the doctor was on call in Oklahoma City), and Jari Askins and Pete and Amy Regan. Lifelong resident Ken Etchieson, who will relieve us of Shane Jett in the House in November, served as auctioneer. Both Guy Goodine and Joe Freeman, who edged out Goodine in the primary, were in attendance, promising to work together to send Kris Steele packing. Jim Townsend, Clif Scott, District Attorney Richard Smotherman and their wives were present. Attorney General Drew Edmondson gave the keynote address, making it clear that Republicans have no right to claim to superiority when it comes to issues of faith and values.
It was good to see old friends from my home county. 91-year-old Beulah Vernon flew in from her summer home in Colorado for the event; she's still the youngest one in the bunch! It was good to see Pat Bateman, Nita Magdalena and Tony Litherland, who are committed to returning Democrats to the legislature from Pott County. I ran into Shirley Slaten, with whom I worked on the census in Pottawatomie County in 1980. Cathy Collum, widow of one of my law school professors, Hugh Collum, was genuinely surprised to receive the Yellow Dog Democrat award for her loyal support of the party.
Congratulations to the Pott County Democrats for a successful event, and good luck in generating enthusiasm for November's elections!
If you missed the family reunion with the Democrats last night you won't miss it again!!! I estimated 350 but security told me there had to be more like 500 people there last night at our first Democratic Family Reunion. It was a fun, fun evening for young and old and I hope that the party will make this an annual event. It was THE place to be for Democrats last night....we'll have photos soon to prove it! And we'll have memories forever.
Thanks to our fabulous ODP staff and volunteers for putting together this premier event. A special thanks to Jason McCarty, Courtney Ruark, Lindsey Cox and Chelsea Southerland for their hard work on this event.
Thanks also to vicechair Ben Odom and our emcee Rep. Ryan McMullen.
Rep. Joe Dorman provided watermelon and the Oklahoma State Building Trades cooked up some great hotdogs. AFSCME provided water for our guests, thank you --- especially Matt and Jane!
Thanks to The Oklahoma Lumbermen's Association for their assistance through their amazing ED Sharilyn Young.
Thanks to Charlie and Juanita King for providing a real tree stump for our candidates and officials to speak from! Oklahoma Democrats are serious about our heritage, our legacy and we are serious about November!
Thanks also to our other fabulous event sponsors Governor Brad Henry, Treasurer Scott Meacham, Attorney General Drew Edmondson, State Supt. Sandy Garrett, State Auditor Jeff McMahan, State Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, and Corporation Commissioner candidate Cody Graves.
Thanks to all of our candidates, speakers, and surrogates who gave us something to fight for last night, something to think about, and now something to do....Elect Democrats!
Thanks to ALL of our wonderful volunteers and to ALL of the GREAT DEMOCRATS who participated in the evening. We are FIRED UP about the November elections and ready to MOVE this State FORWARD in the next 100 days.
Thanks to the musicians, Travis Linville, Dameon Allensworth of Briar Branch Road, and Mama Sweet.
Thanks to the superb staff at the Harn Homestead. If you haven't visited this site please do, it's a real jewel right in the heart of OKC.
Thanks also to the DNC and Chairman Howard Dean for initiating this event and mobilizing Democrats nationwide to commit to 100 Days of Action. We Democrats will fight in every precinct, in every county, in every state in 2006 and we will WIN!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Thank you Attorney General Drew Edmondson for protecting our water from the effects of chicken poop. Seriously, this issue is huge. Poultry companies are running commercials, and now newspaper advertisements, mostly in NE Oklahoma, challenging Edmondson's stand on protecting our environment and protecting our citizens.
Eat more beef and vote Democratic.
Friday, July 28, 2006
July 28, 2006
For millions of hard-working middle-class families, life under Republican rule has grown less affordable and less secure. President Bush’s record of fiscal incompetence and mismanagement, and Republicans’ close ties with special interests, have helped lead to both lower wages and skyrocketing costs for basic necessities like gas, health care, and college tuition. Unfortunately, instead of producing solutions to the problems facing the middle class, Bush Republicans are ignoring them and pushing for policies that will make matters even worse. It’s no wonder Americans believe Democrats would do a better job handling the economy than Republicans by a 49 percent to 29 percent margin. (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 7/13/06)
In addition to tightening the squeeze on families, Republican policies have made our entire nation less secure economically. Republicans have pushed to increase our debt to nearly $9 trillion and have insisted on spending billions of dollars every year on budget-busting tax breaks for special interests and multi-millionaires.
The Bush Administration also continues to compromise our economic security by increasing our reliance on foreign investors in China, Japan, and Dubai. Democrats have fought to reduce America’s dependence on foreign borrowing and foreign sources of oil, but the Republican majority, often at the behest of powerful special interests, repeatedly has blocked those efforts.
It’s time for a new direction. Middle-class families, and our nation, deserve better. Democrats will continue to offer the solutions that will bring back the fiscal responsibility and broad economic opportunity for middle-class families achieved during the 1990’s.
MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES SQUEEZED BY SKYROCKETING COSTS
Gas prices have increased 104 percent to over $3 a gallon. Prices at the gas pump have jumped 104 percent from $1.47 per gallon in January 2001 to $3.00. The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $73.87. (Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends; Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices, 7/24/06) The average household with children will spend about $3,815 on transportation fuel costs this year, an increase of 100 percent or $1,912 over 2001 costs. (Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends; Short Term Energy Outlook, 7/11/06) As summer temperatures reach record high levels around the country, the Bush Administration estimates that residential electricity prices will rise by 7.8 percent in 2006. Electricity costs have risen by about 18 percent since 2001. (Energy Information Administration, Short Term Energy Outlook, 7/11/06)
Health care premiums have increased by over 70 percent. The cost of family health insurance has skyrocketed 71 percent since the beginning of the Bush Administration. The typical family health insurance premium is now $10,880 a year compared with $6,348 in 2000. (Kaiser Family Foundation)
College tuition has skyrocketed by as much as 57 percent. Tuition and fees at four-year private universities have increased by almost $1,200 or 5.9 percent in 2005 and 32 percent since the 2000-2001 school year. At four-year public universities, tuition and fees increased by 7.1 percent this past year and 57 percent since President Bush took office. (College Board, 10/05) The cost of a college education is rising faster than family income, but key federal tuition assistance programs such as the Pell Grant program have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of college. While the maximum Pell Grant covered 51 percent of the cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a public four-year college during the 1986-1987 school year, it covered only 35 percent of those costs in 2004-2005. (Analysis of Department of Education data)
Housing affordability has reached a 19-year low. Housing affordability has reached its lowest level since 1987. Median monthly home ownership costs, including mortgage payments, have increased over 49 percent since January 2001. (National Association of Realtors, 7/06) According to the Wall Street Journal, “Soaring house prices and higher mortgage rates have put homeownership out of reach for more people than at any time in more than a decade…Affordability has long been a problem for low-income home buyers. But as home prices have marched steadily higher in recent years, many buyers with healthier incomes also are being squeezed.” (Wall Street Journal, 12/22/05)
MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES SQUEEZED BY DECLINING INCOME AND FEWER JOB OPPORTUNITIES
While families work harder, their wages continue to decline. Middle-class families are working harder and earning less today than they were at the start of the Bush Administration. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Since the end of the recession of 2001, a lot of the growth in GDP per person -- that is, productivity -- has gone to profits, not wages.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/27/06) Average household income has declined each year during the Bush presidency and median weekly earnings have fallen 0.9 percent since 2001 compared with 7.3 percent growth in the last five years of the Clinton Administration. At the same time that families have seen their real earnings decline, the productivity of the American worker is up 18.4 percent. Therefore, Americans have worked harder - and more productively - over the past five years and received none of the benefits of their hard work. (U.S. Census Bureau; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Joint Economic Committee Democrats, 6/06)
Earnings for workers with college degrees declining. “Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor’s degrees for the first time in 30 years. Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2% from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists…Not since the 1970s have workers with bachelor's degrees seen a prolonged slump in earnings during a time of economic growth…trends for people with master's and other advanced degrees…have found that their inflation-adjusted wages were essentially flat between 2000 and 2004.” (Los Angeles Times, 7/24/06)
Worst job creation record since Hoover Administration. A growing economy should be good news for those seeking jobs. But over the course of President Bush’s five years in office, his Administration has the worst overall job creation record since Herbert Hoover more than 70 years ago. (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/7/06) Overall non-farm payroll employment has increased by 2.8 million during the Bush presidency compared with 22.7 million during the Clinton presidency. (Joint Economic Committee Democrats, 7/7/06) Overall employment growth has averaged just 42,000 per month under President Bush—much lower than the approximately 150,000 jobs needed each month to keep up with population growth. It was not uncommon to see monthly job gains of 300,000 and even 400,000 during economic expansions under previous Administrations. (Economic Policy Institute, The Boom That Wasn’t, 12/19/05)
Private sector job creation has been especially poor during the Bush presidency, with an average annual job growth rate of just 0.3 percent per year since 2001. (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/7/06) Just 1.6 million private sector jobs have been created during the Bush presidency, compared with over 20 million private sector jobs during the Clinton presidency. (Joint Economic Committee Democrats, 7/7/06) The manufacturing sector, often the source of jobs with good pay and benefits, has lost nearly 3 million jobs since the start of the Bush Administration. (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/7/06) Nearly half of the jobs created since 2001 were part-time and freelance positions without benefits. (Los Angeles Times, 7/24/06) This slow pace of private sector job creation is particularly troubling given that we are so far into the economic recovery.
Unemployment has increased and long-term joblessness has increased by 57 percent. In part because of this failure to create a sufficient number of jobs, the national unemployment rate stands at 4.6 percent which is 10 percent higher than the 4.2 percent rate when President Bush took office. Unfortunately, once unemployed, America’s workers also are staying unemployed longer. In June 2006, nearly one in six of the unemployed had been out of work for more than 26 weeks. The number of long-term unemployed has increased 57 percent since President Bush took office. (U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/7/06)
Bush’s deficit-financed tax cuts have widened the income gap between millionaires and middle-class workers. In his latest testimony before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned against rising income inequality: “to the extent that incomes and wealth are spreading apart, I think that is not a good trend.” (Testimony of Ben Bernanke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 7/19/06) The Wall Street Journal has attributed the widening income gap to President Bush’s tax policies: “it appears that the highest-salaried workers -- executives, managers and professionals -- are widening their lead on the typical worker… The Bush tax cuts appear to have widened the income gap, according to many analyses.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/27/06) President Bush’s capital gains and dividends tax cuts will cost $197 billion over ten years, with most of the benefits going to multimillionaires. In an analysis by the New York Times, “Among taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million, the amount by which their investment tax bill was reduced averaged about $500,000 in 2003, and total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million… Those making less than $50,000 saved an average of $10 more because of the investment tax cuts…few taxpayers with modest incomes benefited because most of them who own stocks held them in retirement accounts, which are not eligible for the investment income tax cuts.” (New York Times, 4/5/06)
Bush Republicans gave away more special interest tax breaks for Big Oil and multi-millionaire investors at the expense of tax relief for the middle class. The recent Republican tax reconciliation conference report included more expensive tax breaks for Big Oil companies and multi-millionaire investors, but eliminated the college tuition tax deduction, failed to adequately address the Alternative Minimum Tax, and failed to provide middle-class families relief from the rising costs of tuition, gas prices, and health care. “Republican lawmakers, facing the prospect that their power to cut taxes may soon be curbed, plan to extend breaks that mostly benefit the wealthy and Wall Street at the expense of reductions for middle-income households.” (Bloomberg, Republicans Set Aside Middle-Income Tax Cuts to Focus on Rich, 5/8/06)
More American families and children face severe financial problems. The number of Americans who are living in poverty has increased each year of the Bush Administration and is now nearly 17 percent higher today than in 2000. Thirty-seven million Americans were living in poverty at the end of 2004, an increase of 5.4 million over the 2000 level. Poverty has hit America’s children particularly hard. According to a UNICEF report on child poverty rates in 2005, more than one in five children in the United States live in “relative” poverty. (U.S. Census Bureau)
MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES SQUEEZED BY RECORD LEVELS OF DEBT
Bush Republicans turned record budget surpluses into record deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion from President Clinton, the largest surplus in American history. Budget surpluses were expected to continue for another ten years when President Bush took office in January 2001. By 2002, however, the unified federal budget had returned to a deficit of $158 billion and has since reached historic highs. This year, the budget deficit is expected to reach $296 billion—larger than any deficit before President Bush took office. (President Bush's Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings, 2/28/01; Office of Management and Budget, Mid-Session Review, 7/11/06)
Bush Republicans, addicted to borrowing, increased the national debt by $3 trillion. President Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible American president, having presided over the largest explosion of debt in our nation’s history. For four years in a row, President Bush has asked Congress to increase the statutory debt limit, resulting in a $3 trillion, or 54 percent, increase. At the end of 2006, the federal debt is expected to reach an estimated $8.6 trillion. By 2011, the President’s budget would increase the public debt to $11.5 trillion. (U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Public Debt; Congressional Budget Office)
Enormous trade deficit is undermining U.S. competitiveness. Each year since 2001, the U.S. trade deficit has increased at double digit rates and in 2005 set an alarming record high of $725.8 billion—twice the size of the trade deficit in 2001. Even more troubling, our trade in Advanced Technology Products, a strong indicator of U.S. competitiveness, which was in surplus as recently as 2001, experienced a deficit of more than $44 billion in 2005. (U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Debt owed to foreigners climbs to record levels. In order to finance record budget deficits, the United States has had to borrow at unprecedented rates from foreigners. In the five years of President Bush’s tenure, the United States has accumulated more debt to foreigners, approximately $1.2 trillion, than this country had accumulated in its first 224 years. By contrast, during the last three years of the Clinton Administration, the United States paid off more than $200 billion in debt to foreigners. (U.S. Treasury Department, Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities; Federal Reserve Board)
Record government and personal debt levels threaten economic future. Record federal deficits and debt create record interest costs. In 2006, interest costs on the federal debt will total nearly $400 billion and this figure will grow to nearly $597 billion by 2013. Record levels of personal indebtedness also limit choices and keep many Americans on the financial brink. In the last two quarters of 2005, Americans had the worst ratio of household debt and mortgage debt to disposable income in over 25 years. These record levels of personal debt cast an ominous shadow over the economic outlook for 2006, a cloud made darker as millions of adjustable-rate mortgages will reset over the coming year, forcing consumers to pay significantly higher interest rates. (Congressional Budget Office; Federal Reserve Board)
Average student loan debt soars to more than $19,000. Interest rates for Stafford student loans have risen substantially over the past two years, from 3.4 percent to 7.14 percent for outstanding loans and 6.8 percent on new loans. (Congressional Research Service) As a result, loan payments will be considerably higher for students taking out new loans and for those who did not consolidate loans in recent years. Without adequate federal grants funding, students and their parents must rely more on student loans to finance their college educations. More than 60 percent of undergraduates at four-year colleges have to take out loans, and the average amount of federal student loan debt upon graduation has increased from $8,946 in the 1992-1993 to $17,400 in 2003-2004. When private loans are factored in as well, average student loan debt in 2003-2004 was more than $19,000. (National Postsecondary Student Aid Study 1993 and 2004, National Center for Education Statistics)
Erosion of employer-provided pensions threatens Americans’ retirement security. Workers should be able to count on the retirement promises made by their employers. Increasingly, that is not the case. An analysis by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal entity created by Congress to protect employee pensions, found that nearly 10 percent of pension plans halted benefit accruals in 2003 alone, the latest year for which complete data is available. According to PBGC Executive Director Bradley Belt, anecdotal evidence suggests that this number has been even higher since then. Unfortunately, Bush Administration proposals to expand tax-favored savings accounts that primarily benefit the wealthy risk further pension plan erosion. (PBGC,
Six in '06
July 27, 2006
With the country at a crossroads, facing a historic choice between the status quo and a change in course, House and Senate Democrats joined together today to call for a New Direction for America. After years of paying the price for a Congress that has favored the special interests and enduring the failed leadership and incompetent policies of Republicans in Washington, the American people have had enough, and they want change.
Today, following a special Joint Caucus, Democrats from the House and Senate reaffirmed their commitment to a Congress that serves all Americans and to providing leadership as good as the American people.
Democrats are charting a New Direction, one that unites our country and creates a better America, whether it's the war in Iraq, price of gas, affordable health care, or the cost of college, Americans know the country is going in the wrong direction. Our New Direction for America will address the real priorities of the American people, expanding opportunity and prosperity for all, not just the privileged few.
Following today's event, Democrats will be taking their message of change across the country for the August Recess, holding more than two hundred New Direction events across America. You will find the "Six for '06" message below or by clicking here. You can also watch video highlights from today at www.HouseDemocrats.gov. Standing united with the American people, Democrats have the right plan to take America in a New Direction
House Democratic Leader
Congressional Democrats believe America should work for everyone – not just those at the top – by building opportunity and prosperity for all, and guaranteeing real security at home and around the world. We know that Americans can work together to meet the serious challenges facing our country, create a stronger nation, and build a safer world.
With a firm commitment to honest leadership and tough budget discipline to end record deficit spending, we propose a legislative agenda – A New Direction - that unites rather than divides our country. Beginning with our goal of an America that strives for the common good, these are our legislative priorities in the 109th Congress for a New Direction.
SIX FOR ‘06
REAL SECURITY AT HOME AND OVERSEAS
Reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed Bush Administration policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world. Require the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq in 2006. Double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. Rebuild a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. Implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen 100% of containers. Fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders. Honor our commitments to our veterans.
BETTER AMERICAN JOBS - BETTER PAY
Prohibit the Congressional pay raise until the nation’s minimum wage is raised. End tax giveaways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.
COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL
Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently. Cut student loan interest rates. Expand Pell Grants.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE - LOWER GAS PRICES
Free America from dependence on foreign oil and create a cleaner environment with initiatives for energy-efficient technologies and domestic alternatives such as biofuels. End tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE - LIFE-SAVING SCIENCE
Fix the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices and ending wasteful giveaways to drug companies and HMOs. Promote stem cell research that offers real hope to millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.
RETIREMENT SECURITY AND DIGNITY
Stop any plan to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part. Enact real pension reform to protect employees’ financial security from CEO corruption and mismanagement, including abuse of the bankruptcy laws. Expand personal savings incentives.
THE WRONG DIRECTION
The policies of the Bush Administration and the Congressional majority have taken the country in the wrong direction, making us less secure and putting the privileged few ahead of the common good.
Failed to capture Osama Bin Laden or destroy al Qaeda; rushed to war in Iraq on manipulated intelligence with no realistic plan to win the peace; failed to provide strategy to stabilize Iraq or begin the responsible redeployment of our troops; strained the U.S. military; wasted billions on no-bid Halliburton and KBR contracts; failed to protect our borders, ports, transportation systems, and chemical plants; received failing homeland security grades from the nonpartisan 9/11 Commission; cut veterans’ health care.
RISING ECONOMIC INSECURITY
No minimum wage increase for 6.6 million Americans since 1997; real family income down since 2001 as CEO compensation soared; support for subsidies for outsourcing American jobs; $5.6 trillion budget surplus turned into $3.2 trillion deficit; national debt doubled to $12 trillion by 2011.
RISING COLLEGE COSTS
$12 billion cut from college student aid; cost of loans increased; college Pell Grants frozen as tuition soars - 57% at public universities and 32% at private schools since 2000.
RISING ENERGY PRICES
Gas over $3 per gallon; growing dependence on foreign oil; billions in new subsidies for oil and gas companies despite record profits; blocked efforts against price gouging; opposed energy efficient technology and alternative fuels.
RISING HEALTH CARE COSTS
Family health insurance costs up 70% ($4,500 per family) since 2000; 6 million more uninsured; confusing Rx drug benefit prohibits negotiating lower drug prices; stem cell research obstructed.
RISING RETIREMENT INSECURITY
Promoting substantial privatization of Social Security and benefit cuts for millions of retirees; employee pensions collapse while CEOs get golden parachutes.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The tide is turning in Democrats' favor. We have a strong chance of winning back the House in the 2006 elections. I've been working hard, traveling the country, and have already raised more than $6.65 million for Democrats. I've attended fundraisers for strong congressional candidates in more than a dozen states this election cycle [and he's coming to Oklahoma August 3rd to help raise money for our State House candidates] and I'm committed to helping as many candidates as possible before November. Now, I'm looking to the One America online community to tell me which competitive races should be my primary focus....
If we want to build One America, we need to change our country's leadership. George Bush and the Republicans have done everything in their power to increase the gap between rich and poor. It's time to replace them with Democrats who will build One America - One America that is committed to ending poverty, lifting more families into the middle class, and giving everyone who works hard something to show for it....
Republicans are waking up to some discouraging news this morning as two new polls from CBS/NYT and NBC/WSJ show Democrats in great shape less than four months before Election Day. Peter Hart, who conducted the NBC/WSJ poll, summed it up well saying: "I feel like Republicans are in a barrel and headed toward Niagara Falls" and are in "a python-like grip in terms of a negative mood."
DEMS LEAD BY 10 IN CONGRESSIONAL VOTE IN BOTH POLLS. According to the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, Democrats have a 48-38 lead for Congress. The CBS/New York Times poll shows Democrats holding a 45-35 lead in the Congressional vote among registered voters. Among Independent voters, Democrats hold a 12-point lead.
BUSH IS A DRAG ON GOP CANDIDATES. According to the CBS/New York Times poll, 33% of Americans say their vote in the midterms will be a vote against Bush, while only 14% say it will be to support Bush. By a 19-point margin, Independent voters say their November vote will be a vote against Bush. The NBC/Wall Street Journal reinforces these findings, with 38% of voters saying their midterm vote will be a signal of opposition to Bush.
MAJORITY STILL VIEW GOP UNFAVORABLY. According to the CBS/New York Times poll, 51% of voters have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party and only 18% will be casting their midterm vote in order to keep the GOP in power. According to the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, 60% disapprove of the GOP-led Congress.
DEMS LEAD ON THE ISSUES. According to the CBS/New York Times poll, Americans trust Democrats to make the right decisions about the War in Iraq by a 6-point margin and they trust Democrats on the economy by a 12-point margin.
Key Point: The Republican Congress (and Ernest Istook is part of it) is not taking care of America. (why should Oklahomans want him to bring DC values to Oklahoma?) Democrats believe Congress should work for everyone (not just the privileged few, and not just for their Republican cronies.) It's time for a New Direction. It's time for Democratic leadership.
The American people have had enough of the failed leadership and incompetent policies of Republicans, like Ernest Istook, in Washington.
- Failures that put our security in doubt and incompetence that put our soldiers at risk
- Economic polices that have left Americans working harder to make less.
- Cuts student loans at time when families can barely afford college at all.
- Handouts to oil companies making record profits while Americans pay $3 gas.
- Giveaways to drug companies while health care costs skyrocket.
- Threats to seniors' retirement security while CEOs get golden parachutes.
Democrats stand against those who put America's security at risk with blind faith in failed policies. We stand against those who put the middle class at risk by putting the special interests before America's interests.
Democrats stand united, we stand with the American people, and we stand for change.
- Real Security, at home and overseas
- Better jobs for the American people-for better pay
- College access for all
- Energy independence
- Affordable health care and life-saving science
- Retirement security and dignity
It is time for a New Direction in DC.
Elect Oklahoma Democrats to Congress in November.
Elect Alan Gentges, CD 1
Elect Dan Boren, CD 2
Elect Sue Barton, CD 3
Elect Hal Spake, CD 4
Elect David Hunter, CD 5
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Inviting ALL DEMOCRATS to support Wallace Collins, D, for House District 45 with your participation in a fundraiser for him Thursday night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Glenn Floyd's Barn in Norman. (The barn is at the west end of Main Street in Norman.) Guest speaker is Frosty Troy. For more information about supporting Collins and defeating Balkman call 405.329.3830.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Our staff spread out tonight to make as many watch parties as possible in the metro area while vicechair Ben Odom sat in as an analyst for OETA-TV. Elaine Dodd, former Tulsa County Democratic Party chairman, also appeared on OETA election coverage tonight.
Our candidates and their families, their staffs and volunteers are to be congratulated for weeks and months of hard work and positive campaigning that will serve them well as we move into the runoffs and general election in November.
Congratulations to Governor Brad Henry.
Congratulations to Jari Askins and Pete Regan who will face off once again in the runoff for Lt. Governor after edging out Cal Hobson and Jim Rogers.
Congratulations to Lloyd Fields winning our party's nomination for Labor Commissioner.
Kudos to incumbent Senator Connie Johnson and incumbent Representative Rebecca Hamilton. We need more women in the legislature and may get another one with Dana Orwig's primary win over Joe Hartman in HD 87. Also winning a primary was Kimberly Fobbs in HD 80. Melinda Johnson Ryan won the primary in HD 30 as did Kathryn Thompson in HD 29. Sue Barton took 53% in the CD 3 primary. Anastasia Pittman earned a runoff in HD 99. Women are on the move in the Democratic Party!
Candidate Watch Parties
Brad Henry For Governor-
Time: 7:00 – 11:30
Location: Sheraton Downtown, Oklahoma City
Jari Askins For Lt. Governor-
Location: Faculty House, 601 NE 14th, Oklahoma City
Cal Hobson For Lt. Governor-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00p.m.
Location: Legends Times Two, 1333 West Lindsey, Norman
Peter Regan For Lt. Governor-
Time: 8:00 – 10:00
Location: Santa Fe Train Depot, 100 S E.K. Gaylord Blvd, OKC
Frank Shurden for Labor Commissioner
Location: CWA Local #6012 Union Hall, 4174 S. 118th East Ave, Tulsa
Lloyd Fields for Labor Commissioner
Time: 8:00 – 10:00
Location: Remington Park, Suite 6, OKC
Bert Smith For Congress CD5-
Time: 6:oo – 9:00
Location: Democrat Headquarters Upstairs, 4100 North Lincoln, OKC
Dr. Hunter for Congress CD5-
Time: 6:30 – 11:30p.m.
Location: Remington Park, Eclipse Room, OKC
John Coffee Harris For CD3
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: His Home
Sue Barton For CD3
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: Gilcrease Hills Homeowners Association, 1919 W. Seminole, Osage Co
John Sparks For State Senate 16-
Time: 7:00 – whenever
Location: Texadelphia, Corner of Lindsey and Berry, Norman
Derrick Ott for State Senate 16-
Time: 7:30pm to 10pm
Location: Ott Headquarters, S.E. Corner of Jenkins and Lindsey, Norman
Tim Emrich for State Senate 16-
Time: 8pm to 10pm
Location: Pepe Delgado’s on Campus Corner, 752 Asp Ave., Norman
Wayne Walters For State Senate 26-
Time: 6:30 – 9:30
Location: Holiday Inn Elk City
Andrew Rice For State Senate 46-
Time: 7:00 – 11:00
Location: Café de Brazil, 440 NW 11th, OKC
Rhonda Rudd For State Senate 46-
Location: Her House
Connie Johnson For State Senate 48-
Time: 6:00 – 10:00
Location: YWCA, OKC
Willa Johnson For State Senate 48-
Time: 6:00 – 10:00
Location: Plaza Hotel, Seminole Room, 4345 North Lincoln Boulevard, OKC
Jeff Potts For State Rep. 14-
Location: Campaign Headquarters, Muskogee
Brain Renegar For State Rep. 17-
Time: 5:00 – 10:00
Location: Windmill Cove
Connie Dodson For State Rep. 23-
Time: 7:00 –10:00
Location: Comfort Suits Behind K-mart
Melinda Johnson Ryan For State Rep. 30-
Time: 8:00 – 10:00
Location: 121 Lee Circle Sapulpa
Wallace Collins For State Rep. 45-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: Los Dos Amigos, 2130 East Alameda, Norman
Estelle Cash For State Rep. 45-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: CCDP HQ, 402 W. Main, Norman
Kimberly Fobbs For State Rep. 80-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: 1324 West Inglewood Street, Broken Arrow
Dana Orwig For State Rep. 87-
Time: 8:00 – 10:00
Location: 7317 NW. 113 Terrace
Joe Hartman For State Rep. 87-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: Campaign Headquarters, 4525 N. May, OKC
Casey Davis For State Rep. 88-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: Galileo’s Bar and Grill, 3009 Paseo, OKC
Al McAffrey For State Rep. 88-
Time: 7:00 – 9:00
Location: Home of Jeff Erwin & Sam Blackstock, 401 NOW 18th St, OKC
Nathan Powell For State Rep. 88-
Location: Amerisuites North West, 1511 Northwest Expressway, OKC
Pam Cross for State Rep. 89-
Time: 7:00 – 10:00
Location: Hog House restaurant
Anastasia Pittman For State Rep. 99-
Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Langston University/OKC
OK - Henry Earns Newspaper Endorsement: In the Democratic primary, the clear choice is incumbent Gov. Brad Henry. The governor has earned the right to receive his party's nomination for a second term. He has fulfilled his promises to get a lottery passed and to get pay raises accomplished for teachers. He's reached across the aisle many times in a bipartisan effort. http://www.enidnews.com/opinion/local_story_203235149.html?keyword=topstory
*Democratic Governors Association
Democrats believe America should work for everyone—not just Big Oil. As energy prices have risen, the Bush Republicans’ do-nothing approach to the squeeze American consumers feel has taken its toll on American families, farmers, businesses, and our economy. Instead of taking steps to reduce demand, which would quickly affect prices, Republicans have used current high energy prices as a reason to support new oil and gas drilling, which would not reduce prices for many years, if at all. America needs a new direction that will free America from dependence on oil, end giveaways to Big Oil companies making record profits, and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.
Gas Prices are High and Rising
Gasoline now costs more than $3 a gallon. Prices at the gas pump have jumped 104 percent from $1.47 per gallon in January 2001 to $3.00 today, with prices rising by 40 cents in four weeks this spring. The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $73.87 today. (Energy Information Administration, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update 7/24/06)
Transportation costs for families have doubled. The average household with children will spend about $3,815 on transportation fuel costs this year, an increase of 100 percent or $1,912 over 2001 costs. (Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends 11/05; Short Term Energy Outlook, 7/06)
Summer vacationers squeezed from all sides. The average price of gasoline this summer is estimated to be $2.88 a gallon, 51 cents higher than last year’s average and almost double the price of $1.53 in the summer of 2001. At the same time, airlines have raised ticket prices to compensate for skyrocketing fuel costs; customers are paying 11 percent more for airline tickets than they paid a year ago. (EIA Short Term Energy Outlook 7/06 and 9/01; Air Transport Association)
Oil Company Profits are High and Rising
Oil companies still making record profits. While Americans pay more at the pump, the five largest oil companies reported a record $110 billion in profits in 2005. Exxon Mobil alone raked in $36 billion in profits, the largest annual profit of any American company. The five largest oil companies have increased their annual profit by 158 percent since 2001. Energy analysts estimate that profits for these companies in the second quarter of 2006 will be $33.6 billion, 32 percent higher than the second quarter of 2005. (Based on annual profits from ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips company financial reports for 2001 and 2005; Associated Press 7/21/06)
Refiners demanding more tax breaks. “Despite public frustration over high pump prices and flush industry profits, major refining companies are seeking and winning large local tax breaks for their refinery-expansion plans with little political opposition. The various incentives, combined with a federal tax-break package last year, can offer refiners savings that reach hundreds of millions of dollars...” (Wall Street Journal, 7/18/06)
Companies not putting their record profits toward new investment. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that the eight top oil and refining companies have $57 billion in cash on hand, a sixfold increase over the $9.5 billion they held in 2001. The rate of return on equity has also increased sixfold. At the same time, these companies’ exploration costs and capital investment have only doubled from their 2001 level. Despite what oil companies are saying, the CRS report demonstrates that they are not reinvesting their record profits in activities that could bring down the prices of oil and gasoline. Moreover, oil companies’ investments of these profits in non-petroleum alternatives has been “negligible.” (CRS Memorandum to Senator Wyden 7/5/06, ExxonMobil response to Questions from the Record of Joint Committee Hearing regarding Energy Pricing and Profits with Senate Energy and Natural Resources and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees 11/9/05)
Economic Volatility, Driven by Energy Costs, is High and Rising
Threatening economic growth and consumer spending. “…The anticipated moderation in economic growth now seems to be under way… That moderation appears most evident in the household sector…one likely source of this deceleration was higher energy prices, which have adversely affected the purchasing power of households and weighted on consumer attitudes.” (Testimony of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 7/19/06)
Increasing the risk of a recession. “With oil prices surging, financial markets gyrating and consumers turning cautious, the risks of recession are rising… A big worry is surging oil prices, which have contributed to several past recessions.” (Wall Street Journal 7/16/06)
Putting pressure on inflation. “Much of the upward pressure on overall inflation this year has been due to increases in the prices of energy and other commodities and, in particular, to the higher prices of products derived from crude oil.” (Testimony of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 7/19/06)
Bringing down the stock market. “Surging oil prices pulled stocks sharply lower for a third straight session Friday…” (Associated Press 7/15/06)
Increasing the trade deficit. “The U.S. trade deficit widened to $63.84 billion in May, thanks to a big increase in the nation's monthly bill for imported petroleum. For the month, oil imports reached a record $27.88 billion, up $4.03 billion, or 17 percent, from April, the Commerce Department said. Overall, the trade imbalance for May expanded 0.8 percent from April's revised gap of $63.34 billion, as the U.S. stayed on pace to far exceed last year's trade deficit, which came in at a record $716.73 billion.” (Wall Street Journal 7/13/06)
Sending more American dollars overseas. “Petroleum imports hit a record $27.9 billion as the average price of imported crude oil hit a record $61.74 a barrel in May, rising $4.92 from April for the biggest month-to-month gain since Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. May imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries hit a record $13.6 billion, pushing the United States' petroleum trade deficit that month to a record $25.4 billion.” (Los Angeles Times, 7/13/06)
America Needs a New Direction
Because they can’t “snap their fingers” to bring down gas prices, Bush Republicans have no plan to confront the problem. Instead of convening a bipartisan energy summit as requested by Senate Democrats or taking actions to reduce the price at the pump today, President Bush has lamented, “I told the people, if I could lower gasoline prices with a snap of the fingers, I’d do it.” Bush Republicans have only proposed smokescreen solutions that would not lower the price at the pump but would subsidize new refineries, waive environmental laws, usurp state and local authority, and open up sensitive areas to oil and gas drilling. (Senate Democrats letter to President Bush, 5/18/06; Bush Press Conference, 7/9/06)
Senate Democrats’ Clean EDGE Initiative would protect American consumers.
S. 2829, the Clean Energy Development for a Growing Economy Act, would move America quickly in the direction of energy independence. The bill includes an oil savings target of six million barrels per day by 2020, requires immediate increases in the availability of alternative fuels and flex-fuel vehicles, increases energy market transparency, repeals tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, makes price gouging a federal crime, and invests heavily in making America’s energy future more sustainable and secure.
Proof positive that America is going in the wrong direction...
"It didn't work. . . . We didn't prepare for the peace." -- Anonymous Republican Senate Candidate on the Iraq war [Washington Post, 7/25/05]
"It's an impediment. It's a hurdle I have to overcome . . . I've got an 'R' here, a scarlet letter." -- Anonymous Republican Senate Candidate on being a Republican [Washington Post, 7/25/05]
Monday, July 24, 2006
In less than 24 hours we'll be getting results for the primary elections. The last 24 hours have been difficult for the candidates and the next 24 will be emotional. The sign wars began over the weekend and the last minute attacks are in full force - on both sides. For the most part the negative campaigning has been done by the Republicans. It comes real easy for them, Karl Rove is their hero. He learned dirty tricks as a College Republican and has mentored a generation of CRs who do the bidding of their masters.
On Wednesday we will start a new round of campaigning; some will be invigorated by the process while others will be irritated by the results. We must all focus on the goal - remember November. And we must keep our eye on the real enemy - politicians who so loathe government by the people, for the people that they will do anything, yes, anything, to win and then do everything within their power to eliminate effective government.
Confused about what's going on in the Middle East? Wondering where this is all leading? Consider the conversation on Daily Kos about Wes Clark's ideas. Then talk back here. Your comments are welcome. And remember, this is a "process" it is not an accomplished mission.
Supreme Court referee recommends spiking TABOR petition
By Staff reports
7/24/2006 3:14:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A state Supreme Court referee recommended Monday that a Taxpayers Bill of Rights question, commonly referred to as TABOR, should not be placed on the November ballot because of insufficient signatures.
The measure would limit state government spending growth to a formula that takes state growth and the inflation rate into consideration.
Supreme Court Referee Greg Albert said that more than 56,000 signatures were collected by ineligible circulators, invalidating those signatures.
Combined with other improper signatures, Albert said the initiative petition was left with 218,223 signatures, 1,341 fewer than required by law.
His recommendation will now be considered by the entire court, which has the final say in the question.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
A review of Tuesday's ballot choices indicates that Democrats are making a move toward victory in November. I expect to see strong nominees emerge from some of the primaries and that we will see a runoff or two ahead of us.
Interesting Democratic primaries include the one for Lt. Governor with a large percentage of voters undecided last weekend. The push is on from Jari Askins, Cal Hobson, and Pete Regan to convince Democrats that they alone can beat the Republican nominee in November. All three are on TV and have websites. All three have crisscrossed the state seeking votes on Tuesday. Jim Rogers placed his name on the ballot but has done little to no campaigning.
There are two interesting Democratic primaries for the State Senate. In Senate District 16, Cleveland and McClain counties, three men are vying for the opportunity to follow Cal Hobson to the State Senate. (Hobson is term-limited after 28 years of service in the Oklahoma Legislature.) I have relatives who live in the district and they have received a LOT of mail from the candidates: Tim Emrich, Derrick Ott, and John Sparks. All three have some tv up and all three have websites. This is a real contest if you look at the number of doors knocked and signs placed in residential yards. With the intensity of campaigning and high quality of candidates I expect a runoff in this district.
In Senate District 26, out in western Oklahoma, three men are vying for the opportunity to follow Gilmer Capps to the State Senate. (Capps is term-limited after serving three decades in the Oklahoma Legislature.) Voters there have a tough choice among the three candidates Tom Ivester, Larry Peck, and Wayne Walters. They all three have websites and Ivester has a tv commercial. I have family that lives in that district too and the candidates are doing a good job covering the district. There's a possible runoff in this district too.
In Senate District 46, home of term-limited Senator Bernest Cain, there's also a three-way primary for the party's nomination. Campaigning hard in that district are Andrew Rice, Rhonda Rudd, and Drew Dugan. Again, they each have websites and a lot of signs throughout the district. This metro district is totally walkable and I heard that one of the candidates has knocked the doors in the district three times. We'll see what campaign style and message pays off there. The Republicans have a runoff there too, but given the nature of the district and their weak candidates, this is a definitie hold for Democrats.
Both Lloyd Fields and Frank Shurden have been campaigning hard this month for the party's nomination. I know Lloyd Fields has visited all 77 counties. Frank Shurden has been building a base from home territory in the 2nd District. We'll have a nominee Tuesday night and then will launch a campaign to take the State Labor Commissioner's office in November. Bye bye Brenda.
There's a five-way race for the Democratic nomination in HD 99 in NE Oklahoma City. This is Opio Toure's seat, one he's leaving due to term-limits. Competing for the nomination are Wayne Chandler, Larry Foster II, Tom Nash, Greg Nelson, and Anastasia Pittman. Rumors are one of the candidates will earn enough votes to avoid a runoff, but with this many candidates, who knows for sure? Again, it will be interesting to see the results based on the very different campaigning styles of these candidates.
Incumbent Democrat Mike Shelton has three challengers in HD 97, also NE Oklahoma City. Seeking their first win are Christine Byrd, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Lorenzo Thompson. This is a shoe leather campaign and will be interesting to see the strength of the candidates' messagegs with these important voters. No Republicans filed for this seat, so it will stay in the Democratic column.
House District 95 is an open seat with two Democrats and two Republicans. Either Lee Roy Tucker or Max Wolfley will be the Democratic nominee. Previously held by a Republican, this is a possible pick up for Democrats so we'll keep our eye on this one for sure.
Larry Gooch and Scott Inman are seeking the Democratic nomination in HD 94. Kevin Calvey vacated this Del City seat to run for CD 5. Gooch, a retired firefight, has run for this seat before, and Inman, an attorney, ran for the Senate seat that overlaps the district. This is another possible pick up for Democrats so we'll be watching closely.
In HD 89 incumbent Rebecca Hamilton is being challenged by newcomer Pam Cross. This is a strong Democratic district in south OKC. There is no Republican in the race so this one will stay with the Democrats and with a woman!
Democrats will continue to hold HD 88 after Tuesday. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Debbie Blackburn due to term-limits. Al McAffrey, Casey Davis, and Nathan Powell are seeking the nomination. Each have websites and have knocked a lot of doors in the district.
Joe Hartman and Dana Orwig both want to take on Trebor Worthen in November. One of them will get the chance on Tuesday. HD 87, another metro district, was a pick up for the Republicans in 2004, Joe or Dana will take it back in 2006.
Over in eastern Oklahoma incumbent John Auffett is being challenged by Mike Wininger for HD 86. There was a three-way contest in 2004 for this seat that was previously held by Speaker Larry Adair. The district covers Adair, Cherokee, and Delaware counties. This will stay with the Democrats Tuesday night, one way or the other.
Stan Brooks, Wayne Guevara, and Carl Weston are vying for the Democratic nomination in HD 74 where incumbent Republican John Smaligo is leaving office. This is a potential pick up for Democrats in the Owasso area.
Estelle Cash and Wallace Collins are both campaigning hard against Thad Balkman in HD 45 in Norman. Cash or Collins will win Tuesday and again in November. Balkman's support in the district is diminishing despite recent newspaper advertising in the Norman Transcript - more about this in a separate post. Balkman, like his heroes Grover Norquist, Ernest Istook and Ronald Reagan is not good for this district.
Pierce Jones and Doyle Lewis are eager to take out freshman legislator Mike Jackson in Enid's HD 40. What an improvement we'll have in November when a Democrat takes that seat!
Scott Big Horse and Jack Rankin are working hard in HD 36 to replace Joe Sweeden who is leaving his House seat to run for the Senate. The district is predominantly Democrat and should stay that way in November.
Dennis Campbell and Melinda Johnson Ryan will face off Tuesday for the opportunity to represent the Democrats in HD 30. This Sapulpa area seat should move back into the Democratic column this time. The Creek County Democrats are mobilized and ready for victory.
Ah, sweet revenge! It's possible in HD 29, home of Jimmy Todd Hiett, where Democrats Famous Tankersley and Kathryn Thompson are working to turn that district back to the people in November.
Joe Freeman and Gary Goodine are fighting to replace Kris Steele in HD 26 over by Shawnee. The Democrats are excited about this one too.
Connie Dodson and Steve Gallo are giving the Tulsa County Democrats something to fight for in their efforts to unseat Sue Tibbs in HD 23. Both Dodson and Gallo are out knocking doors and running strong campaigns. Tibbs better start looking for another profession.
Democrats in Pittsburgh County will choose their representative Tuesday to replace term-limited Mike Mass. The choices are Barbara Gilbertson, Allen Harshaw, and Brian Renegar. This district is true blue and will remain that way with a Democrat in HD 17.
The Democrats lost a great legislator when Ray Miller, HD 15, decided not to run again. Asking to replace him are Edward Cannaday, Brian McLaughlin, Doyle Rose and Gary Updyke. Don't know why the Republican even bothered to file there. This is the heart of Democratic country.
Dianne Barker Harrold and Jeff Potts are lined up to be the Democratic nominee to replace term-limited Barbara Staggs in HD 14 in the Muskogee area. The winner will face a Republican, to be determined, in November. We should keep this one and continue the strong Democratic representation we've come to expect from Muskogee County.
Henry Flanders, Chuck Hoskin, and Kenny Weast are seeking the nomination in HD 6 where Joe Eddins is leaving under term-limits. Turn out should be good there and the Democrats will turn out strong in November to hold this seat.
For candidate profiles check out www.okinsider.com and the candidate page at www.okdemocrats.org.
Survey USA showed Democratic Governor Brad Henry with a 67% job approval last week.
The Tulsa World showed Democratic Governor Brad Henry with a 75% job approval in Tulsa last week and 69% in OKC.
At the same time Survey USA showed Republican President George W. Bush with a 42% job approval in Oklahoma last week.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Oklahoma Democrats are working statewide to hold our historic majority in the State Senate and to build a new majority in the State House of Representatives.
Why is control of the state legislature so important? Because control of the legislature affects a range of issues, budget priorities, taxes and government services --- as well as congressional district boundaries. The majority party controls the conversation and the agenda at the capitol.
If you care about wages, roads and bridges, schools, healthcare and hometown security, vote Democrat. Majority matters
Under Governor Brad Henry's leadership Oklahoma's early childhood education programs are rated #1 in the nation and our state's anti-methamphetamine law is the model for vitually every other state and the federal government. Governor Henry's Insure Oklahoma initiative, is a first-of-its-kind program to help small business provide health insurance to employees. People are looking to Oklahoma for ideas, and they are finding excellence --- thanks to Governor Brad Henry.
In their big scheme to rule the world the republicans have hired on with Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. Grover sent me a letter this week "hoping that you would call on those who haven't signed the Pledge yet to make this important commitment." (You gotta be kidding!@#$%^%$#)
The pledge is more hocus pocus and that's putting it nicely. This group "sounds" good, it uses the buzzwords but in reality is dedicated to reducing the size of government which means it wants to reduce or eliminate services to seniors, services to children and essentially destroy our form of government.
Democrats stand for effective government that meets the promises of our Constitution and the needs of our people. I am proud to say that ONLY ONE DEMOCRAT has signed "the pledge" and he is term-limited this year. I am sad to say that 30 Republicans have signed it; four of whom are running for Congress, two for Lt. Gov. and one for Governor. Something is wrong here. They want to govern but they hate government. That's hocus pocus.
Rubber Stamp Republicans
We've had two Republicans contact us this week, sick and tired of the culture of corruption, the lying, buying, spying and bullying that dominates the Greedy Old Party. Both announced they have had enough of today's GOP and will change their registration as soon as possible.
Which brings up the fact that voters all over this state, and this nation are sick and tired of the antics of Bush's Rubber Stamp Congress. Check out this website for examples of the Rubber Stamp Congress and then add your own Oklahoma examples as comment to this blog entry. Jimmy Todd and the boys at 23rd and Lincoln are doing their best to play like the big boys in DC, following the lead of such ilk as Grover Norquist and others who hate government. These Republicans hate our government so much they want to destroy it and the Rubber Stamp Congress just goes right along with them. Say NO to this kind of leadership. Say NO to the Republicans and say YES to DEMOCRATS for Oklahoma and for America!
Friday, July 21, 2006
"In today's increasingly competitive economy, the best guarantee of a good, secure job is a quality education. But not everyone has that opportunity.
I know what it's like to have a tough time affording college: With the help of federal Pell Grants, and a lot of hard work, I was the first in my family to graduate from college.
A college education today costs a small fortune and it's harder than ever to find help. Since 2001, tuition has increased by over 30 percent at the average four year public school. Over the same period, family incomes have increased less than six percent.
As the cost of college continues to rise and family incomes stagnate, more and more students are qualifying for Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs. BUT there's just less money to go around and the Pell Grant award hasn't kept up. IN 1986, the Pell Grant covered 51 percent of the cost of tuition, fees, room and board. In 2004, it covered only 35 percent of those costs. WE can't let a college education become a privilege just for the wealthy.
We must ensure that famiies and students can afford college, regardless of their financial resources. That's why the Democratic Women For Change are challenging this Republican Congress to take a new direction."
They need your help. Join and stand with thousands of Americans who believe that we can get America moving in the right directions. We can hep families and students afford to go to college. The Democratic Women for Change have a checklist for change:
First and foremost, increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,100 - an amount that actually keeps pace with costs.
Second, Congres can act to make the $4,000 College Tuition Tax Deduction permanent. On July 1, the largest interest rate hikes on college loans went into effect. We need this now more than ever: the typical undergraduate student graduates with $17,500 in debt.
Third, we should help families as they save for college. Let's permanently increase the Coverdell Education Savings Account contribution to $5,000, and make it possible for families toput aside enough money to put their kids through school.
Finally, flexibility is critical for non-traditional students returning to school. We ought to give America's servicement and women the opportunity to attend college anytime they choose by making the GI Bill more flexible.
Get involved with the Democratic Women for Change.
Signs, signs, everywhere are signs.
We've had stacks of signs in our lobby for weeks now and all of a sudden the supplies have greatly diminished...we love it that people are coming in and out all day grabbing signs and literature in support of our great Democrats!
While the State Party absolutely does not endorse candidates in a primary, we are allowing area Democratic primary candidates to place two signs in our front yard through the primary. We'll see how long they last! (Note, if you are a primary candidate and haven't yet placed your two signs out front, you may do so from now through the election on Tuesday - but only two.)
And always remember, signs don't vote, people do.
Early voting for the Primary Elections started this morning at 8 a.m. Early voting continues until 6 p.m. today and will continue tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Monday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. prior to election day on Tuesday. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting is at your county election board. For locations check out the listing at the State Election Board site.
Key Point: Do Nothing Republican Congress
The Republican Congress has ignored rising gas prices, the rising cost of a college education, and rising violence in
Do Nothing Congress
Washington Republicans have put the wishes of the right wing above the interests of the American people.
Instead of working on the issues that matter to all Americans, the Republican Congress has spent its time on divisive partisan issues and gotten nothing done.
The record of Washington Republicans is one of inaction and incompetence, and it is time for a change.
A New Direction
Democrats are fighting to take this country in a New Direction, with leadership that serves all Americans.
Democrats are ready to give
Democrats believe it is time for the Do Nothing Republican Congress to finally get to work.
Before the August recess, the Senate still must address gas prices and education costs, and have a real debate on
Republican leaders and their followers seem to live in a parallel universe where truth and reason get turned inside out. Some examples:
* President Bush vetoes the stem cell research bill because he won’t “destroy a life to save a life.” Yet, he sends more than 2,500 American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq to protect the rest of us from terrorism (fighting them there so we won’t have to fight them here.)
* Republican politicians shamelessly use the flag to support their policies, and vote for an Amendment to the Constitution to prevent others from using the flag to oppose their policies.
* Republicans say they are “pro-life,” yet President Bush uses his veto pen to prevent medical research that would save millions of lives from a wide range of diseases and the Republican Congress fails to override his first veto.
* Our country is attacked by terrorists from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, trained in Afghanistan, and the United States attacks Iraq.
* Many of the terrorists came into the United States over the Canadian border. And Republican politicians are proposing to build a wall along our border….with Mexico.
* President Bush bemoans the fact Americans are “addicted to oil” and need a national energy policy to end that addiction. Yet, the only energy policy he has offered proposes drilling for more oil, and was written by oil companies.
* The Bush administration sends our troops to Iraq to “promote democracy.” Yet, his own government policies consistently attack our own democracy and Constitutional rights. We are “spreading freedom around the world” while limiting the freedom of Americans.
Do you have more examples where Republican politicians say one thing and do another? Where their rhetoric doesn’t match their actions? Let us know.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tony Perna sent this over about the location change for Friday's event in Lincoln County:
Well, today was my first full day of training. I must say a 7am wake-up call and listening to speakers for 11 hours was not my initial idea of fun in Chicago. A city so full of history and interesting places to go. I thought my first trip would be filled with museums and blues clubs. However, I am not disappointed in the things I am learning. The DNC is providing the voter file training and made all arrangements.
One comment that is repeated over and over is we "are here for our candidates and our state". It is true. Every piece of knowledge that I take with me this week will be relayed to each candidate willing to listen from county levels up to statewide candidates.
46 states are represented this week and I am happy to be the representative for Oklahoma. I have met many people from around the country (my roommate is from Utah) and many DNC staffers. ALL Democrats so at least I am comfortable among friends.
Tomorrow is another full day of learning, and I am personally hoping I can make it to the Art Institute before it closes on Friday!
Pawnee County Democrats
This young Democrat enjoyed the watermelon most while the "old guys" discussed politics in the background at this week's Pawnee County Democratic Party Watermelon Feed.
Word is that Greg Wilson, Sue Barton, and John Harris were there looking for votes for Tuesday's primary election for the CD 3 Congressional seat. Good luck to each of you! If you are a CD 3 voter and still haven't made up your mind, please visit the websites of these fine candidates for information about their campaigns.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Today our ODP Communications Director Jason McCarty and I attended a Tribal Summit at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Mound Auditorium in Okmulgee. The morning agenda was dedicated to candidates for statewide and legislative offices. Democratic candidates and/or elected officials I heard or saw today included State Treasurer Scott Meacham, Pete Regan, Cody Graves, John Mark Young, Diane Barker Harrold, Wade Rousselot, Kathy Thompson.
I saw representatives for Jeff McMahan and Kim Holland.
Kalyn Free spoke briefly about her work with INDN's List to recruit and support Native American candidates for state and federal office.
I spoke about the longstanding relationship between the Democratic Party and tribal nations and our strong support for tribal sovereignty and cultural traditions of Oklahoma's 39 tribal governments. I also announced that a new Federation of Oklahoma Indian Democrats will submit a constitution and by-laws at our next central committee meeting to initiate the process of expanding and formalizing the Native American voice and vote in our party. This effort has been lead by Kalyn Free (Choctaw) and Margo Gray (Osage). Sue Johnson (Creek) currently serves on the central committee as an affirmative action member and Kalyn serves as a DNC member at-large. Once approved by the committee the elected president of the Federation would serve as an ex-officio member of the committee. I look forward to working with these women and their tribes and others who will participate in this effort as we move forward together to expand the Native Vote in Oklahoma and to elect Democrats!
Thanks to Muscogee Nation Speaker of the House George Tiger for the invitation to participate today.
President Bush will surely remember his first time, his first time to use his veto. The word is out that Bush is poised to VETO his first piece of legislation - HR810.
The Senate approved HR810 after two days of emotional debate to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and sent the measure to President Bush for a promised veto, the first of his presidency.
The bill passed 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override Bush's veto. The president left little doubt he would reject the bill despite late appeals on its behalf from fellow Republicans Nancy Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.And then there's our Republican Senator . . .
Today, Senator Coburn repeated the argument - debunked by leading scientists - that adult stem cells offer a research substitute for embryonic stem cells. Of the measures being considered by the Senate today, only H.R. 810, which expands federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, holds promise for expanding medical breakthroughs.
Key Point: For five years, Republicans in Congress have mismanaged the government to serve their campaign needs. From stem cell research to the Voting Rights Act, it is time to get to work for all Americans.
For Americans suffering from debilitating illnesses, for the scientific community, and for the majority of Americans who support expanding stem cell research, there is no alternative to HR 810.
Other bills give political support to Republicans, but only HR 810 gives medical support to Americans.
Democrats are fighting to give millions of Americans the hope of new cures and treatments that stem cell research provides.
Voting for HR 810 is not enough. Americans waiting on stem cell research expect Congressional Republicans to convince the President to sign it.
President Bush and Senate Republicans should put sound science over ideology, and America's future ahead of their own political futures.
Americans want a new direction, where their health and the health of their families are put first.
Custer County Democrats
I visited the Custer County Democrats in Weatherford last night at their regular monthly meeting. County Chair Jonathan Carter announced his resignation as he will start law school at OU next month. The group will host a county convention in the next 90 days to elect a replacement for Jonathan who can lead the group's efforts to mobilize Democrats for the November election in Custer County.
Emily Hall was guest speaker from the Holland for Oklahoma campaign. She outlined some of Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland's achievements since taking office in 2005. Integrity, trust, professional, consumer advocate. These are words to describe the commissioner and her work for Oklahoma citizens. For information about Holland visit her campaign website at http://hollandforoklahoma.com/index.php.
I was delighted to see my former history professor, Dr. Mel Fiegel, at the meeting and to meet Ed Smith, Clinton Police Chief. Smith and I were both recently selected for Leadership Oklahoma Class XX.
Also attending were CD 3 Chairman Mack Miller and State Representative James Covey. (photo included)
I look forward to the county convention and meeting Democrats from across the county and helping them re-organize for a strong GOTV effort in November. I invited all Custer County Democrats to the ODP's Democratic Family Reunion on Saturday July 29th at the Harn Homestead in OKC from 6 to 9 p.m. (So Tom, Bonnie, Leroy, Ed, Jill --- that means YOU!)
Monday, July 17, 2006
MARCH TO THE POLLS!
Saturday, July 22, 2006
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
A group of concerned African-American women will spearhead a march
from Mt. Olive Baptist Church located at 1020 NE 42nd to the Oklahoma
County Election Board on Saturday, July 22, 2006 to vote from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The purpose of the march is to rally Oklahoma’s African-
American women and others to the polls during the 2006 elections. We will also have information booths to empower our community.
THIS IS A NON-PARTISAN AND NON-POLITICAL EVENT
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL:
Blondene Taite at (405) 670-2169 or
Tammy Bass-LeSure at (405) 401-3868 or (405) 301-4586
VOTE to EMPOWER