Republicans saddle up and ride


Joe and I headed out to a barbecue Saturday night -- a fundraiser for the Republican State House Committee at the Kellyville ranch of Todd Hiett, five-term state rep, House Minority Leader, and the next Speaker of the State House (I hope). It was too chilly and windy, but we had a good time and great food anyway. (Dinner was sliced pork -- appropriate.)

Nearly all the Republican members of the State House were there, as were many candidates. Congressmen Ernest Istook and John Sullivan were there, along with Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune, and Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys. Another ex-Congressman was there as well, and a Democrat at that -- Clem McSpadden, rodeo announcer and lobbyist, who served eighteen years in the State Senate, and a single term in Congress (elected 1972) before an unsuccessful run for Governor in 1974.

The Congressmen and Mayors each had a chance to speak. Mayor LaFortune recounted a conversation at the OU-Texas game with Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- LaFortune described him as the leader of the competition -- who told LaFortune that nothing Oklahoma did to compete for jobs would matter until we dealt with our income tax and tort reform.

The highlight of the evening was the bullriding competition -- most of the state legislators got aboard a mechanical bull and tried to hang on for the prescribed time, as Clem McSpadden provided commentary. Kirk Humphreys took a spin on the bull as well. (The amateurs had a chance to ride earlier. I took a pass -- back problems -- but Joe rode it twice.)

There was some juicy political gossip floating around. There's a rumor that County Commissioner Randi Miller may face primary challenges next year from both proponents and opponents of Vision 2025. I'm told that the issue is not so much the sales tax election but a perception that she's timid and unwilling to make tough decisions. Her absence during the recent vote on raising county salaries (including her own) is cited as an example of trying to dodge politically tricky issues.

As the sun went down, the party wound down, and the conversations continued as Joe played hide-and-seek with some of the other boys.

I can't close without mentioning that on the way to and from the ranch, we passed the old Max Meyer spread -- the ruins of his native stone tourist cabins are still visible, on 66 just west of the 33 junction, just east of the Creek County Fairgrounds. (If you haven't read Lewis Meyer's book about his amazing father, you have missed a treat.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 27, 2003 2:08 AM.

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