Friday, August 31, 2007

Rice to Announce

Candidacy for U.S. Senate

Please join us to kick off his campaign!

State Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, will formally announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Rice has scheduled press conferences in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

“I have listened to folks all across this state about their hopes for the future and their opinions about Washington and one thing has become clear to me,” Rice said. “Oklahomans are ready for a change. “They believe Washington is broken and they deserve a clear choice for U.S. Senate in 2008.”

Since announcing that he was considering the race earlier this year, Rice has received an outpouring of support from all over the state, including many Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.


Who: Sen. Andrew Rice, introduced by State Sen. Sean Burrage (D-Claremore)

What: Sen. Rice’s announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate

When: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 10:15 am

Media must arrive by 10:00 am

Event will conclude by 11:00 am

Where: Tulsa Press Club – (918) 583-7737 /

415 S. Boston Ave., Tulsa, Okla.

Other info: Sen. Rice will be available for questions or media interviews following his statement.


Who: Sen. Andrew Rice, introduced by his father, Hugh Rice and joined by his mother, Cindy Rice, his wife Dr. Apple Newman Rice, and his two sons Noah and Parker

What: Sen. Rice’s announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate

When: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Media must arrive by 4:15 pm

Where: Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters – (405) 427-3366 /

George Krumme Center, 4100 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Okla.

Other info: Sen. Rice will be available for questions or media interviews following his statement

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oklahoma Democratic Party
Embraces New Veterans Federation

Chairman Holmes applauds accomplishment
and praises veterans for their service to our country.

Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Democratic Party State Central Committee officially accepted the by-laws of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee making ODPVC the first federation of Democratic veterans to be officially recognized in Oklahoma. The meeting, held on Saturday, August 18 in Oklahoma City, was host to numerous veterans who came to show their support for the effort.

“As a veteran of Vietnam and a Democrat, I believe it is important to remind the brave men and women of our military that Democrats are the only party fighting for military pay increases, fighting to protect our benefits, and fighting to keep VA hospitals open,” said Calvin Rees, who serves as Secretary of the Fifth Congressional District Democrats and as a member of the ODP State Central Committee. Rees presented the by-laws on behalf of the Veterans Committee, which were unanimously accepted.

The ODPVC submitted the necessary State By-Laws amendment to make the group an official federation with a voting representative on the ODP State Central Committee. The amendment will be considered at the February 23, 2008 State Convention in Oklahoma City. In the interim, the State Central Committee unanimously passed a motion to seat a non-voting member on the Committee until the ODP By-Laws are amended by the State Convention.

“As a veteran, I am proud of the actions the Oklahoma Democratic Party took to recognize the tremendous sacrifice our military personnel and veterans have made for this country,” said Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “For too long Republicans have tried to convince voters we don’t support the troops, but nothing could be further from the truth”.

Following the historic move, the Oklahoma Democratic Party hosted a “Support the Troops” event on August 21 to honor and thank our veterans for their service. The event participants prepared 116 care packages for troops deployed from Oklahoma to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Over $1,500 in miscellaneous items were collected from all over the state and enough money was donated to cover all shipping costs.

“Sadly, the Bush Administration has continued to push war, while forgetting our troops and veterans,” declared Ivan Holmes, State Democratic Party Chair. “Democrats will continue to fight for the benefits veterans have earned and ensure they get the respect they deserve”.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oklahoma Democratic Party and Veterans Committee
Prepare to Ship 116 Care Packages to Troops
Successful event raises items and money for shipping of boxes to troops
from Oklahoma to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Democratic Party and Veterans Committee are proud to announce that Tuesday night’s “Support the Troops” event was a tremendous success. The Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters was host to a standing room only crowd, which included Oklahoma elected officials and many veterans who were honored and thanked for their service.

Speakers included Ivan Holmes, Oklahoma Democratic Party State Chair, Representative Richard Morrissette, Vietnam Marine Corps veteran Ron Wasson, Dr. Katherine Scheirman, retired Air Force Colonel and Mike Waggoner, an Iraq veteran and candidate for House District 95. The event was hosted by Wasson and Scheirman, who are the co-chairs of the Oklahoma Democratic Veterans’ Committee.

“The Democratic Party is devoted to political and social justice issues that affect our country’s veterans, because it is critical we stand by the brave men and women of our military,” said Dr. Scheirman.

“Democrats believe we must keep our promises to veterans by providing them with the benefits they have earned,” declared Ivan Holmes, State Democratic Party Chair. Holmes went on to ask, "what is moral about sending our soldiers into a war based on lies with no plan to bring them home?” State Representative Richard Morrissette also discussed our obligation to provide adequate healthcare, including mental heath, to our military and veterans.

“The event was organized to let members of our armed forces know we salute their patriotism and courage” said Dr. Scheirman. “Over $1,500 in miscellaneous items were collected from all over the state and enough money was donated to cover all shipping costs. “

Mike Waggoner, a veteran of the Iraq war, who has been back from deployment for less than two months, told the audience how much these gifts lift the morale of troops by providing a little touch of home to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

Volunteers helped create 116 care packages that included prepaid phone cards and comfort items, such as snacks, toiletries, magazines, socks, books and puzzles. Thank you cards expressing gratitude and respect for the troops were included from all those that participated and Democrats across the state.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oklahoma Democratic Party & Veterans Committee
to Host “Support the Troops” Event

Oklahomans Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan
to Receive Care Packages

Oklahoma City - The Oklahoma Democratic Party is sponsoring a ‘Support the Troops’ campaign by gathering items from the ‘most wanted’ list that have been requested by our Oklahoma Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who: Democratic Veterans, family members, elected official and Oklahomans who support our military

What: Event to pack care boxes for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Where: George Krumme Center, Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters, 4100 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105

When: Tuesday, August 21st from 6:30p.m. to 8:00p.m.

Ron Wasson, Vietnam Marine Corps veteran and Dr. Katherine Scheirman, retired Air Force Colonel, are co-chairs of the Oklahoma Democratic Veteran's Committee, which is devoted to political and social justice issues that affect our country's veterans. They have organized the event to let members of our armed forces know we salute their patriotism and courage.

The Oklahoma Democratic Veteran’s Committee will be collecting these items at the Democratic Party Headquarters until August 21st when they will be boxed up and shipped to troops deployed from Oklahoma serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Checks will also be accepted, made out to Oklahoma Democratic Party and earmarked for ‘Support the Troops’ to pay for the cost of shipping.

"Many of these troops are living in very severe conditions, often in tents, with temperatures well over 100 degrees. Our gifts will let them know we recognize and appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our nation," said Scheirman.

Items on the most wanted list include toiletries, magazines, prepaid phone cards, socks and razors. A complete list can be found on the Oklahoma Democratic Party website at

The event will include speakers from the Veterans Committee along with State Rep Richard Morrissette, Iraq war veteran Mike Waggoner and State Party Chair Ivan Holmes. Refreshments will be served and everyone is invited to participate in this important event.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Inhofe, Coburn Oppose Toughest,

Most Sweeping Ethics Reform in a Generation

Oklahomans Deserve Better from their Elected Officials

OKLAHOMA CITY: Oklahoma’s two Republican U.S. Senators joined a tiny fringe minority in opposing a sweeping Congressional ethics reform bill recently, proving once again they are among the most obstructionist Senators in Congress, Oklahoma State Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today.

“Experts call this the strongest ethics reform in Congressional history for tightening lobbying rules, imposing regulations on earmarks, banning gifts to Members of Congress and slowing the revolving door to lobbying,” Holmes said. “Of the 535 members of both Houses, Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn were among only 22 to oppose it. It doesn’t matter what their excuses are. The bottom line is they now stand on the side of corruption and cronyism.”

Forty-two percent of voters listed corruption in Washington as the most important factor in determining who they voted for in the last election after shocking revelations, such as the Abramoff scandal, criminal indictments, resignations, and the K Street project that rocked the American people’s faith in government.

Holmes went on to question Inhofe’s “twisted logic” which blamed Democrats for his no vote.

“Jim Inhofe is one of the most partisan Members of Congress,” Holmes said. “Even though these broad ethics reforms had significant bipartisan support, he refused to support them and found a way to blame Democrats in the process.”

Holmes noted that Republican Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; Charles Grassley of Iowa; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia all voted for the bill. Even Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted yes, he said.

The bill that passed the Senate, 83-14, and the House of Representatives, 411-8, will tighten restrictions on gifts, lobbying and travel for Members of Congress and their staffs. It also imposes new regulations on earmarking funds in legislation and extends the amount of time a Senator has to wait before becoming a lobbyist after leaving office from one to two years. The bill has been sent to the President for his signature.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

An Editorial from the Claremore Daily Progress

Published August 07, 2007

Chairman Holmes

For decades Ivan Holmes was a legendary journalism professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. In that capacity, he turned out some of our state’s brightest journalists and taught them to think, challenge authority and seek the truth.

Holmes is now chairman of the Democratic party and is trying to do the same thing in that position. He recently challenged United States Senator Tom Coburn to be consistent. When Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the telephone books of a Washington, D.C., prostitute after Vitter had previously confessed to a similar situation in Louisiana, Coburn was quick to defend him. Coburn took the position that Vitter had made a mistake and should be forgiven.

He may be right in that respect. It depends upon the facts and exactly how often Vitter has engaged in this form of a “mistake.” What Holmes, however, challenged Coburn to do was be consistent. Coburn, who offers himself up as a moral authority, has on a regular basis bashed Democrats for their shortcomings, moral or otherwise. Holmes points out that Coburn ought to do the same thing with Vitter, but Coburn obviously is taking a different approach.

If Coburn wants to show Holmes, he’ll be consistent in the future and offer that same forgiveness when members of either party have their shortcomings. Otherwise, he’ll prove that his time in Washington is showing him to become as partisan as he once said he would never become.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Republicans should listen to their own rhetoric.
Ivan Holmes – Chairman, Oklahoma Democratic Party

In last Sunday’s editorial, “In the mirror”, the Oklahoman once again dusted off the old argument that Democrats do a poor job of defining themselves, but it just isn’t true.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party is a diverse party with many answers to the problems facing America. We believe a free discussion of ideas breeds good public policy and bipartisan governing. It is unfortunate that right-wingers label free discussion as a lack of direction when they should join Democrats in searching for solutions to the problems facing families.

Democrats are focused on solving the monumental problems that have piled up under seven years of the Bush administration, while Republicans are struggling with an identity crisis in the midst of the largest national deficit ever, a failing Iraq war policy, skyrocketing healthcare costs, crumbling schools and infrastructure, and a stagnant economy.

Republican operatives have been successful in the past by convincing voters that Democrats don’t care about family values or morality, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Democrats support policies that lift up the poor and middle class, while Republicans support tax cuts for the rich. Democrats fight for decent wages so working people can provide for their families with dignity, while Republicans seek to guarantee corporations and CEOs rake in record profits.

Republicans say they stand for morality, but the rhetoric simply doesn’t match their actions…

  • What is moral about sending our soldiers into a war based on lies with no plan to bring them home?
  • What is moral about making senior citizens choose between life-saving medicine and basic necessities?
  • What is moral about cutting funds from the schools most in need of assistance?
  • What is moral about robbing programs that help families survive to give the rich huge tax cuts?
  • What is moral about neglecting our veterans by closing VA hospitals and slashing benefits in time of war?
  • What is moral about allowing corrupt lobbyist to buy their way into the legislative process?

In contrast, Democrats believe we have a moral obligation to provide real solutions to the problems that face families…

  • Democrats believe we must find a reasonable plan to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.
  • Democrats believe everyone, regardless of income, deserves access to health care.
  • Democrats believe every child should have a quality education.
  • Democrats believe everyone is entitled to a living wage and tax cuts should benefit working people.
  • Democrats believe we must support veterans by providing them with the benefits they deserve.
  • Democrats believe in government guided by personal responsibility and accountability.

It is time for Democrats to be proud. We must speak these truths to our friends and neighbors. The Democratic Party does have a clear vision for a safer, stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma. Democrats are ready to restore honor and dignity to the White House and put America back on track.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Inhofe, Coburn Choose
Tobacco Lobby over Oklahoma's Kids

Senators continue to ignore their own
Republican rhetoric on family values.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Oklahoma's U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn sided with the tobacco lobby over Oklahoma's children Thursday night when they were among only 31 Senators to oppose an expansion of health insurance coverage to 3 million American kids, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today.

"More and more Oklahoma families are struggling to find affordable health care and it should be our moral obligation to see that their children receive quality care," Holmes said. "When it comes to the needs of Oklahoma families and the 140,000 uninsured Oklahoma children, our two Republican Senators sided with big business and special interests."

The bipartisan proposal to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) passed the Senate with 68 votes and includes an additional $35 billion over five years. This will preserve coverage for the 6.6 million children currently enrolled and expand coverage to an additional 3.2 million uninsured, low-income American children.

The additional cost of the program will be paid for by an increase in the tobacco tax. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has threatened a veto.

"If the Senate is called on to override a Presidential veto, I will call on Senators Inhofe and Coburn to reconsider their position and vote next time for Oklahoma's children," Holmes said.

The CHIP funding bill is a classic example of how bipartisan cooperation can get results. In order to gain passage, both sides were forced to compromise before a final agreement was reached.

A similar bill was passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature earlier this year. The All Kids Act, authored by Senator Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa) and Sen. Brian Crain, (R-Tulsa), increased the investment in our state's health care system which will be matched by increased federal Medicaid dollars.

Oklahoma currently ranks 44th among the 50 states in children's access to health care and is tied at 50th with Mississippi for our overall healthcare system according to the Commonwealth Fund, a non-partisan private foundation dedicated to increasing access to healthcare.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oklahoma Democrats Announce

Unprecedented Election Protection Program

Oklahoma City, OK -- Democratic Party Chair Ivan Holmes today announced that state Democrats would participate in an unprecedented 50-state election protection program to prepare for the 2008 election. Through the Democratic National Committee’s 50 State Strategy, the DNC Voting Rights Institute and the National Lawyers Council, Democrats across America are conducting an in-depth nationwide survey to collect critical data on the often confusing and complex sets of administrative practices and decisions governing our nation’s elections. With the help of DNC-funded staffers hired through the DNC’s State Party Partnership program, Oklahoma Democrats will work with election officials throughout the State to help identify potential issues so they can be resolved well in advance of the 2008 election.

“As America prepares to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I am honored to announce this unparalleled effort to bring the ideals of that landmark law closer to reality,” said Holmes. “When President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, he called right to vote the ‘basic right without which all others are meaningless.’ But 42 years after the signing of this legislation, the right to vote is still under assault. Oklahoma Democrats will not rest until every single eligible Oklahoman can register to vote, cast their ballot without fear of intimidation or harassment, and have confidence that their vote will be counted fairly and accurately.”

While election laws are written on the federal and state level, they are administered and interpreted by local officials. This decentralized process can result in variations in how elections are administered supervised and how Americans register to vote, cast their ballots and have their votes counted. The fact that there will be at least 13,000 elections run by localities in 2008 leaves the potential for inconsistencies that could threaten voting rights. Oklahoma Democrats will work with local election officials to answer very specific questions about voter registration, centralized voter databases, voting systems and absentee voting, provisional balloting, polling place procedures and Election Day preparation. Data collected from the survey will be analyzed to determine the needs of each election locality and next steps for strengthening the election process in that locality.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before, and could never have been possible without the DNC's 50 State Strategy,” said Holmes. “For the first time, we have staff on the ground who can work intensively with our local election officials to make sure our elections run as smoothly and fairly as possible and that every single Oklahoman who wants to can vote and have their vote counted.”

The Democratic Party’s commitment to protecting every American's right to vote stands in stark contrast to what we have seen from Republicans across the country. From restrictive voter ID laws and voter purging to voter intimidation tactics, Republicans have placed a variety of roadblocks that keep countless Americans from exercising their right to vote. Nothing underscores this more than the recent revelations that the Bush Administration has manipulated the mission of the Department of Justice by firing US Attorneys who were unwilling to pursue phony "voter fraud" cases and politicizing the Civil Rights Division.