Commentary

Tue
20
Jun

At the End of the Day....

I’ve been told that I’m no longer an outsider since I’ve been here for over 4 years now. Unfortunately, my know ledge of farming extends to that one season of The Bachelor with the farmer from Iowa… so I’m still somewhat of an outsider. Think of it like one of those box plot diagrams. I would say I’m just to the left of the lower quartile. Yeah, give it another year and maybe I’ll be the median. So, with that being said… here are my inner ramblings and nonsense from the past week or a week back in the 1990s. Here is a look into the thoughts and musings from the week that was and now is no more...

Tue
13
Jun

Thoughts and musings from the week that was and no longer is...

Well, after months of being badgered by people about when I was going to bring my column back… I have finally caved, I’m back with tales of my childhood stupidity and current misery.

Summer is on the horizon, according to reports from the calendar in front of my face

 

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Tue
06
Jun

Details of the Budget Deal Reached at the State Capital

The House on Friday passed a $6.9 billion appropriation’s budget.

After many long nights away from my family and long hours out in the district listening to constituent concerns and agency hopes, this seems like nothing short of a miracle.

This was a challenging year. We started budget work in earnest last fall, and in January heard from the five agencies that receive almost 80 percent of state appropriated dollars. Next, we asked all of our appropriations subcommittee chairs to dive deeply into agency budgets to see where efficiencies could still be found. Each committee member rotated through the various subcommittees to get a better overall look at the state budget.

Tue
30
May

Honoring Those Who Serve on this Memorial Day

As we move through the business of life, it’s sometimes easy to forget what is truly important – the love of a spouse, watching our children play and grow, the importance of family and friends, living in a country where we are free to choose where to attend church, where to send our children to school, what careers to pursue, a nation where we can all have a voice in our government. We are so blessed.

Such freedom doesn’t come without cost. Unfortunately, all we enjoy in this nation comes at great sacrifice. It comes because men and women have been willing to lay down their lives for liberty.

As we approach Memorial Day, I want to say thank you to all of the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom.

 

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Tue
23
May

Bills Signed Into Law this Week; Budget Pending

The governor in the past week signed into law House Bill 1833, which I authored. This measure moves the duties of the state Council of Firefighter Training (COFT) to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. COFT works with all state volunteer fire departments to make sure our firefighters are ready for any emergency. It was critical to keep this council intact. This measure keeps COFT duties but returns the State Fire Marshal’s Office to nonappropriated status as it has been in the past, saving the state $1.4 million. This money is greatly needed in our current economy.

Also signed into law this week was my House Bill 1259, which increases the qualifications for sheriff’s candidates. The intent is to make sure those who serve as sheriff in Oklahoma are highly qualified for this important position.

 

Tue
16
May

INSIDE THE CENTER

This weather has been great this week. I like it when the temperature stays around 80 degrees. I guess you would say I’m a little spoiled. Saturday Night Out was a big success as usual.

There were thirty four people in to enjoy the evening of dominoes and cards, plus music was provided by David Greene. I also heard that the food was exceptional. The next Saturday Night Out will be on May 27th. Our donations this week were cans from Mrs. Beavers and Ruby Moore (from Stillwater, Bob’s sister). Buford Sinclair brought in labels. Thank you all for thinking of the Center.

 

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Tue
16
May

The Joys of Babysitting

There's nothing as wonderful as enjoying a grandchild – in their own homes. But we're gluttons for punishment and every so often we insist on babysitting. What's so bad about that, you ask? Nothing – if it's one or two at a time but we don't get that ratio.

We usually get nine to two and that's how it was this past week. While our daughter-in-law attended a class or seminar, or whatever it was, on her children's higher education for next year we attempted to keep them entertained and let me tell you what I've learned from this – I'm too old to keep up with children who demand constant attention, and food, and drink and diaper changes. If I heard "Nana" once I heard it a million times, usually from two of the younger ones.

 

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Tue
09
May

Moving Past Politics

As the representative of the 38,000-plus people in House District 59, I represent Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike. I return phone calls and emails. I visit people face to face both in my district and at the state Capitol every day. I work to address each issue brought to me. No matter the political philosophy or the nature of the discussion, I always give my constituents my utmost respect. I hope for that in return.

Many Democrats currently in the House of Representatives, however, would like to see Rome burn. Not every Democrat, but certainly the current minority leader and his closest band of followers. One reason for this could be that the minority leader is running for governor. It would be to his political advantage for the state to be in dire straits under Republican leadership.

 

Tue
02
May

Drafting the State Budget

It’s the time of year when we hear a lot about the state budget. Here’s a brief review of the process. House leadership starts looking at the state budget for the next fiscal year in about October when we start seeing state agency preliminary requests. This year, in January, we added public budget hearings with the five state agencies that receive almost 80 percent of the state appropriated budget. Once session starts, the speaker forms the House appropriations & budget subcommittees, broken up into education, general government, health, human services, judiciary, national resources and regulatory service, public safety, transportation and other areas. This year, these subcommittees met with various state agencies to do a deeper dive into their budgets. Each member was asked to rotate through the various committees to get a better look at the state’s overall budget.

 

Tue
25
Apr

Watonga Public Library Offering Free Financial Kits this Week

April is National Financial Literacy Month and to celebrate, the Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition is observing Money Smart Week, April 22-29. Helping to promote financial education statewide, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA) is offering free Financial Fitness Kits through public libraries, including the Watonga Public Library, Tinker Federal Credit Union branches and online at www.KnowWhatCounts.org.

The 13th annual Money Smart Week (formerly Jump$tart Your Money Week) brings organizations, businesses and schools together to educate Oklahomans about important money issues. While Money Smart Week offers resources and classes across the state, the OSCPA’s free Financial Fitness Kits were created to help Oklahomans year-round with a variety of financial issues.

 

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