"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oklahoma GOP has wings with 2 agendas -- Conservative and Far Right

While reading stories about our Oklahoma Sooners winning the Big 12 Championship last night, this article popped up in my local paper. Normally this would be on our sister site Voices from the Heartland, but we are not going to be posting on there until after the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st, 2011.

Some friends and I who moved to Norman from Texas like to joke we were rock ribbed conservatives in Texas and compared to some here we are moderates in Oklahoma. That is not entirely true as we still have conservative values we have always had -- we just think that some people have taken being elected as a mandate to push 'ONLY' social issues.

We have one State Rep who declared gays were more of a threat than terrorists and wouldn't back down when a teenager took offense as his Mother was killed in the Murrah Bombing. We have heard if you don't go to Church twice a week you are not a Christian. Attend meetings and find out some of the group was picketing Texas Governor Rick Perry on the so-called 'NAFTA' highway that was debunked over and over again but it didn't deter these people.

We had two State Conventions where this group tried to take over the State Party and they were horrible trying to wear down everyone with rhetoric and objections. Meetings went on for a long time before they were defeated. One of them ran in our primary for Governor and originally said he wanted the Tea Party to have a militia with them. Couldn't believe what I was hearing but he was part of the group out to overthrow the State GOP Chair. It was made up of the religious right, Americans for Prosperity, and Ron Paul Supporters. They came up with a platform that needed tossed in the trash. They were defeated 7-1 and although they might have the loudest voices, they didn't have the votes as Common Sense Conservatives ruled the day.

Speaker Elect Steele is the perfect person for the job and is so right that economy and healthcare need to be the primary battles this time. The odd thing is he is not even close to being a liberal that a small group of malcontents paint him as. Unfortunately two of them are State Representatives from my county who are speaking the loudest. Wonder if there is a ulterior motive since neither were named to leadership.

Most people would not believe the number of bills that are submitted each year in such a small state where the Reps were at last count the 2nd highest paid in the Country. Abortion bills are usually #1 for amount of bills as they cannot seem to get it through their head there was a Supreme Court ruling. Some that do get passed are overturned in the courts.

It is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and takes up time to hear all their social conservative bills so that budget bills and other important bills are brought to the floor in the last few days of session with people having no time to read them.

We are encouraging the legislature to follow Steele's lead on putting economic development and the budget first along with the healthcare and other problems facing our State like some of the worst roads and bridges in the Country. If there is time left after working on the important bills, then hear the 'feel-good' bills but quit putting social conservative bills at the front and bills dealing with important matters at the end. We believe that Speaker-Elect Christ Steele is the person to do just that -- we wish him well in this legislature.

December 5, 2010

Oklahoma GOP has wings with 2 agendas
By Sean Murphy
Associated Press Sun Dec 05, 2010, 01:36 AM CST

OKLAHOMA CITY — As Republicans in control of the Oklahoma House open two days of meetings to set their 2011 agenda, their incoming leader is taking shots from the chamber’s ultra-conservative wing because he has put the state’s struggling economy at the top of his agenda rather than social issues.

Members of the House GOP meet Monday and Tuesday in Bartlesville, and Kris Steele, who will be formally elected as House Speaker next month, believes the Legislature next year should concentrate on economic development and plugging holes in the state budget.

More-conservative Republicans want legislators to tighten access to abortion, relax regulations on firearms and attempt to restrict immigration.

“There’s going to be some fireworks within the caucus,” said state Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, who acknowledged some of his GOP colleagues have privately questioned whether Steele is too liberal to lead the House. “I think we’ll know after Tuesday.”

For the first time in state history, Republicans in Oklahoma will control the House, Senate and the governor’s mansion after Oklahoma voters in November ushered in huge gains for the GOP, including all eight Democrat-held statewide seats on the ballot.

Steele, a soft-spoken minister from Shawnee, said House Republicans are still united — but cracks are obvious among the 70-member-strong Republican majority as they hammer out their agenda for the legislative session that begins in February.

This week’s meetings haven’t gone unnoticed by Oklahomans wanting action on social issues. Some right-wing groups plan to travel to Bartlesville, too.

“We’re not going up there to picket or protest,” said Dan Fisher, an Edmond pastor who signed up several participants Friday over lunch at the H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City. “We’re just going up there to remind them that: ‘We’re the ones that put you into office, and we’re not going away. Take a stand on these social issues. They matter to us.’”

Charlie Meadows, whose Oklahoma Conservative PAC has been a longtime fixture of the state GOP’s right wing, sent a mass e-mail to supporters on Friday urging them to join the caravan if they care about issues like “the rising homosexual agenda, the growing threats from radical Muslims and Sharia Law, the ever expanding big brother privacy invasion laws” as well as illegal immigration and states’ rights.

Some tea party groups also plan to travel to Bartlesville, and Fisher said he expects hundreds to turn out.

But moderate House Republicans fear an inordinate amount of attention on social issues will create a House divided and divert attention from the budget and a struggling Oklahoma economy.

“I’m seeing people every day who are concerned because they don’t have a job or health insurance,” said Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, an emergency room physician in far northeast Oklahoma. “They could care less about right-to-carry (firearms), abortion, gays. They’re worried about their health care and putting food on the table.”

State Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, agrees.

“I would ask my ultra-conservative friends — do they understand that we are in the bottom of median family income, that we lead the nation in incarceration of female prisoners, that some of our nonviolent, criminal statutes are some of the most oppressive in the nation?” he asked. “We have serious issues in the state that are challenging us, especially when the budget situation is as bleak as it’s been in the history of this state.”

For his part, Steele says he’s never wavered on his commitment to expanding gun rights, restricting abortion or targeting illegal immigration. He said he supports a measure to allow for open carrying of firearms that Democratic Gov. Brad Henry vetoed last year, and that he will not thwart legislative attempts to further restrict abortion or address illegal immigration.

“Just because I’d like to pursue initiatives to create a business-friendly environment in Oklahoma and give us the opportunity to foster job creation and job opportunities for Oklahomans does not mean I’m any less committed to my stance on pro-life issues or Second Amendment rights or states’ rights or any of those things,” Steele said. “I think we can take a balanced approach and pursue an agenda that ultimately accommodates both arenas.”

Republican Gov.-elect Mary Fallin said she agrees with Steele that the state’s budget and fostering a good business environment should be the top priority for lawmakers when they return to the state Capitol in February.

“We’ve got to focus on getting Oklahoma’s economy back on track, creating the very best business climate possible,” Fallin said. “We’ll certainly consider the other ideas that the Legislature has, and that’s not to take away from their ideas, but just says these are the important priorities I believe will get Oklahoma back on track.”

Source: Norman Transcript

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