Commentary

Thu
18
Apr

A Misused Majority

It’s now been more than 100 days since Democrats have held the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. And, from day one, House Democrats have misused that majority by playing political games, casting show votes, and embracing radical ideas—instead of working in a bipartisan manner to craft legislation that can realistically become law in a divided government.

While the current Congress started amid a partial government shutdown, that shutdown was needlessly extended due to political games initiatedby Democrats. Even though President Trump and Republicans in both chambers were ready and willing to negotiate in good faith and reopen the government, Democrats chose to waste time on nonstarter appropriations bills that ignored the sticking point issue of border security.

Thu
18
Apr

Priced Out of a Life-Saving Drug

More than 355,000 adults in Oklahoma are currently living with diabetes. For each of those people, access to affordable insulin is not just an ongoing concern, but a matter of life and death.

Diabetes is the most expensive chronic disease in the United States. From 2002 to 2013, the list price of insulin nearly tripled, causing patient out-of-pocket expenses to double. Instead of spending an average of $7.80 per day for an average amount of insulin, individuals can now expect to pay roughly $15 a day for insulin.

With more Oklahomans enrolling in high deductible health plans, more individuals are exposed to higher out-of-pocket costs for insulin. In 2018 alone, 39 percent of insulin users reported paying more for insulin than they did in 2017.

 

 

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Thu
18
Apr

Political, Policy Skills are Merging

Politicians running for office have a choice. They can appeal to their base and count on it pushing them over the top, or they can try to build a coalition of voters.

The former gives us more politicians who don’t show much interest in crafting broadly acceptable policy. But, if they choose instead to run their campaigns by reaching out to a broader swath of the electorate, and if we as voters reward them for this at the polls, then they come to Washington with exactly the skills needed to make our representative democracy work.

We live in a time of great polarization and declining trust: in politicians, in institutions, in one another. Our representative democracy is in stress, if not in peril.

We need to return to our traditional approach: coalition-building across diverse groups of people. We succeed in politics and in governing the country by building a broad base of support that appeals to a wide sector of American society.

 

 

Thu
18
Apr

Easter – Think about It ’

Easter is an exciting day for Christians around the world. Churches around the globe look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Clergy persons look forward to a one-day larger attendance. Church choirs and music programs try to shine brighter and give their best effort. For one day the light and victory of new life and victory over death rings bright in a world filled with so much gloom and death.

Merchants will sell some clothes as some people still buy new outfits for Easter. Some people are like me in that I got over worrying about what clothes to wear to church a long time ago. I still dress up sometimes, of course, but I don’t mind wearing an old suit.

Attitudes are changing toward Easter in America. Many church crowds have dwindled, and Easter doesn t seem to resurrect some of the religious dead anymore. There was a day when people who never attended church all year would rise up and go. Today, that’s happening less.

 

 

Thu
11
Apr

Accountability Makes Good Government

As various House committees gear up for a season of investigations and hearings on President Trump and his administration, a lot of people worry that progress on the nation’s challenges will grind to a halt.

I would argue just the opposite: the wheels of government are turning in favor of accountability.

Our system rests squarely on the notion that government officials — whether elected or appointed — need to be accountable to the people they govern.

 

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Thu
11
Apr

Go to the Doctor. Fix it. Let it Heal.

I often joke that I’ve had surgery from my nose to my toes. When I broke my leg over Christmas last year, I went to the surgeon and got it set back in place and wore a boot for a few months. I knew the leg was broken. I knew I needed to go to the doctor to fix it. I knew it would heal.

Not all fixes in our healthcare system are as straightforward as a broken leg. Serving in Congress has put me right in the middle of one of our nation’s biggest debates: how to treat patients with mental health and substanceuse disorders.

 

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Thu
04
Apr

Agency Accountability, Criminal Justice Reform Measures Advance

Government functions best when different branches, elected officials, and agencies maintain good working relationships.

To his credit, Gov. Kevin Stitt understands the value of maintaining collegial relationships with the Legislature and his efforts seem to be generating wins for his administration.

Last week, the governor and a large group of Senators and Representatives held a large joint press conference, announcing a reform package aimed at consolidating accountability for executive agencies (and power over those agencies) in the governor’s office.

The new plan gives the governor the ability to hire and fire the directors of five state agencies: the Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and the Department of Transportation.

 

 

Thu
04
Apr

Let’s Show the State of Oklahoma How We Feel about Our Veterans!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Today I sat and ate lunch alone at the counter at Boomerangs. When I was finished, I walked out toward the door. Before I could leave a little boy from the corner booth asked, “Sir, are you a veteran?” I walked over to his family and said, “Why, yes son, I am.” He stuck out his hand and said, “Thank you for your service.”

His mom then said she had seen the purple heart I wore on my hat and explained the significance to her two boys sitting there.

You see, on the back of my cowboy hat I wear a purple heart. It’s there to signify wounds that I received in combat while with Special Forces.

 

 

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Thu
04
Apr

Limited Government Should Also be Effective

Policy Research Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

Who runs Oklahoma’s largest state agencies? This is a hard question to answer. Governors and legislators appoint members to agency boards. Those boards then choose agency directors. The directors nominally report to the board, but board members are volunteers who only meet occasionally and only know what agency staff tells them.

Historically, these boards have a terrible track record when it comes to asking hard questions or holding anyone responsible.

Thu
04
Apr

The Conclusion: No Collusion

Nineteen lawyers. 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and professional staff.

Over 2,800 subpoenas. Nearly 500 search warrants. More than 230 orders for communication records. Thirteen requests to foreign governments for evidence. Five hundred witness interviews. No collusion. No obstruction of justice. After two years and $25 million in taxpayer money, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finished his investigation of alleged collusion between the Russian government and the campaign of Donald J. Trump. The Special Counsel’s report states:“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Republicans long knew there was no collusion. Pelosi Democrats refused to believe it. Our country’s justice system was created to presume an individual is innocent until proven guilty.

 

 

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