Oklahoma Politics: February 2010 Archives

On the February 9, 2010, edition of CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Kramer, Oklahoma 1st District Congressman John Sullivan discussed the regulatory obstacles to using America's reserves of natural gas to move toward energy independence. Kramer called Sullivan one of the "good guys in Washington when it comes to the need to adopt natural gas" and mentioned Sullivan's authorship of HR 1622, funding for natural gas vehicle research, development, and demonstration projects -- the bill passed the House last year and is awaiting action by the Senate Energy Committee. Kramer also mentioned that Sullivan is one of the original cosponsors on HR 1835, the NAT GAS act (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions), which would give tax credits to auto manufacturers for building natural gas-powered vehicles and to consumers for buying them. HR 1835 and companion bill S 1408 are both stuck in committee.

In the interview, Kramer and Sullivan discussed the possibility that the EPA could ban the principal method for reaching and extracting natural gas from rock formations, in the name of protecting drinking water. Sullivan said that there's never been a case of the hydraulic fracturing technique contaminating an aquifer.

Congressman Sullivan will hold a town hall meeting tonight, Thursday, February 18, 2010, at 5 pm, at the Central Center at Centennial Park, on 6th Street west of Peoria in Tulsa.

MORE: T. Boone Pickens (whom I may eventually forgive for his hostile takeover attempt on Cities Service back in the early '80s) comments on the Kramer/Sullivan interview:

When it comes to investing, natural gas is a "long-term theme," says Mad Money host Jim Cramer, who describes it as an energy source that's 40 percent cleaner than coal, 30 percent cleaner than oil, and much more realistic as a bridge fuel than wind or solar when it comes to combating climate change or ending America's addiction to foreign oil.

So what's Cramer's problem with natural gas? He thinks Washington doesn't get the picture, that's what. Cramer invited Rep. John Sullivan (OK-1) on his show Monday night to discuss the prospects for enhancing America's energy security with this inexpensive, clean-burning domestic fuel.

He couldn't have picked a better guest. For decades, Oklahoma's First Congressional District, which Sullivan represents, has been been a national leader in energy production. Sullivan is continuing this tradition as the lead Republican sponsor of the bipartisan NAT GAS Act in the House, which now has 130 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

Sullivan's take on natural gas is simple and straightforward. It is "the bridge fuel as we look at an all-of-the-above strategy," he told Cramer. Later, he added that "alternative energy sources aren't going to happen for a long time. We have 120 years' reserves of natural gas here in America."

I'm pleased and proud to welcome a new BatesLine sponsor: Janet Barresi, a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Barresi has an impressive background in K-12 education, including direct experience in dealing with the challenges of urban education as a founder of two successful charter schools in Oklahoma City.

janetbarresi.jpgI believe our schools should be as great as our state, but that goal cannot be achieved without solid leadership in the Department of Education, which is why I have chosen to run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

My platform is very simple. I want to ensure that parents are always encouraged to be involved in the education of their children and that they have the ability to choose the correct education for their child. I want to create a State Department of Education that is a resource for local districts, and I want to ensure that our testing of students is a byproduct of good teaching that enables us to truly understand how effective we are being, while empowering teachers to do what they do best: teach.

I know we can do better than we are today. Through my experiences in launching what is now Independence Charter Middle School, as well as Harding Charter Preparatory High School (which was recently recognized as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek), I have seen that high expectations, a rigorous curriculum and an involved staff can be successful, regardless of the socio-economic background of the students.

Beyond her volunteer work in the schools, Janet Barresi was a speech pathologist and then a dentist for 24 years before retiring.

Tulsa Chigger, who is our local watchdog on charter school issues, had this to say:

I whole-heartedly endorse Dr. Janet Barresi and her campaign for the office of Oklahoma State Superintendent of Schools. She is an experienced reformer with the right set of priorities. I have personally worked with her on some charter school issues in years past.

I urge you to learn about Dr. Barresi by clicking that ad in the sidebar and visiting her website. I think you'll be impressed.

(A click-through is also a nice way to tell her thanks for sponsoring BatesLine.)

American Majority's Tulsa candidate training seminar, originally scheduled for just before Christmas, will be held in two Saturdays, on February 20, 2010, from 8:30 to 4:00. It will be at the Tulsa Technology Center Lemley Campus, in the Career Services Center, at 3638 S Memorial. There is a registration fee (see below).

There will also be an American Majority activist training seminar in Tulsa this Tuesday night, February 9, 2010, 6:30 - 9 p.m., at St. James Methodist, 111th & Yale. This event is free of charge.

Here are the details for the activist training event:

American Majority Oklahoma together with OK for Tea is pleased to announce that an Activist Training will be held on Tuesday, February 9th in Tulsa, OK for citizens looking to make a difference in their community, state and nation.

The seminar will be held at St. James United Methodist Church located at 5050 E. 111th Street in Tulsa. Registration for the event will begin at 6:15 pm, with the first session beginning at 6:30 pm. The seminar will end at approximately 9:00 pm. This cost for this training is FREE and open to the public.

American Majority Activist Trainings are designed specifically to educate and unite liberty-minded activists from around the state by giving them practical ideas for successful activism and equipping them with creative ways to be more effective in their communities.

Topics for the seminars include: "Building Coalitions and Organizing Events", "Hitting the Campaign Trail", and "Holding Elected Officials Accountable through Effective Communication"

Upon completion of the seminar, participants will receive complimentary continuing education materials, communications curriculum, and a list of recommended reading materials to become better equipped and stronger activists in their communities.

To RSVP for the event or for more information, contact Trait Thompson with American Majority Oklahoma at 918-289-0159 (e-mail: trait@americanmajority.org).

Here are the details for the candidate training event:

Every elected official, from school board member to state legislator to the President of the United States plays a vital role in shaping the policies and direction of our communities, states, and nation. These offices deserve men and women who are grounded in the principles of liberty and individual freedom.

American Majority Oklahoma is hosting a Candidate Training on Saturday, February 20 at Tulsa Technology Center (Business and Career Development Training Center) located at 3638 S. Memorial in Tulsa. The training will run from 8:30am to 4:00pm with registration beginning at 8:00am.

Regardless of campaign experience, American Majority's Candidate Training Program makes running for office easier! American Majority Candidate Training Seminars are designed specifically to educate candidates on every level how to run effective and victorious campaigns and prepare them to become successful elected officials.

The Candidate Training Program includes:

  • Lectures* from campaign veterans, including:
    • "Your Campaign Plan to Win: Planning for the Time, People and Money to Win."
    • "Dollars and Sense: Fundraising for What You Need, Not What You Can Get."
    • "New Media Engagement: The New Ways to Talk to Voters and Engage Supporters."
    • "Grassroots Action: How Ordinary People can get Extraordinary Results."
    • "American Majority's Core Principles."
  • Personalized communications training.
  • Interaction with individuals thoroughly involved with the issues confronting your state.
  • The opportunity to network with other liberty-minded candidates.
  • A complimentary resource guidebook full of material designed to further assist candidates.

Upon completion of the seminar, candidates will receive continuing education materials, access to podcasts and other presentations, communications curriculum, and suggestions to help them utilize think-tank resources.

The cost is $50 per candidate/first attendee in advance or $75 per candidate/first attendee at the door, and $25 for each additional attendee (spouse, campaign staff, campaign volunteers, etc.) in advance or $40 for each additional attendee (spouse, campaign staff, campaign volunteers, etc.) at the door. Space is limited.

Please click here to use our online reservation system and secure your place now! If you have any questions, please contact Trait Thompson at Trait@americanmajority.org or call (918)-289-0159.

American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan organization whose mission is to train and equip a national network of leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market.

*Lectures are subject to change

(Sorry to be so late in posting this.)

The Tulsa County Republican Party is holding an open county-wide meeting at the Tulsa Technology Center Lemley Campus, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, 9 a.m. Party officials will give an update on local party activities, and many candidates running in 2010 will be there. Speechifying, I am told, will be kept to a minimum. Here are the details:

The Tulsa County Republican Party will hold a county wide meeting and rally this Saturday, February 6, 2010 beginning at 9:00 am. There will be numerous GOP primary candidates in attendance allowing voters time to meet and speak with the candidates. This event will be held at the Tulsa Technology Center; Lemley Campus located at 3420 S. Memorial in Tulsa and should be completed by 11:00 am. A short survey will be conduced asking GOP voters what they think about national, state and local issues involving government and the Republican Party in general. Included in the survey will be a straw poll involving open seats in 2010 at the national, state and local levels. The meeting will include information on the progress of the Tulsa County Republican Party over the past year and on plans for the remainder of 2010. 2010 is a BIG year for Republicans and we encourage everyone to attend this important meeting.

Mike Ford has a timely word:


The email FWDs won't change policy.

Talk radio is not community participation.

The GOP cannot be blamed for ignoring our values if we do not show up and promote them.

Time to get plugged in and active.

Save the Party, Save the Nation.

The Citizens in Charge Foundation has issued its 2010 report card on voter initiative rights in each of the states. (The full state-by-state report is an 8.2 MB PDF. The flag pictures are pretty -- I always like to see the old-fashioned font, with the arched A, used for OKLAHOMA, instead of the Star Trek original series font -- but they make the document much bigger than necessary.)

Oklahoma was given a C+: Oklahoma gets high marks constitutional guarantee of the right to propose constitutional amendments and ordinary statutes by petition, and to petition for a referendum to repeal a statute, and for including all political subdivisions under its constitutional provisions.

But Oklahoma loses points for an insufficient period for gathering signatures (only 90 days -- second shortest) and a high signature requirement (15% of the last general election for constitutional amendments -- the nation's highest requirement); both provisions make it difficult for grassroots initiatives to make it to the ballot. The report card recommends increasing the signature-gathering period to at least 9 months, reducing the signature requirements to 8% for constitutional amendments and 5% for simple statutes, and tying the signature requirement to the last election for governor, rather than the last general election.

Oklahoma ranks among the toughest states to qualify an initiative for the ballot, with the nation's highest signature requirement and second shortest circulation period. A proposed expansion of the petition period overwhelmingly passed the state legislature in 2009, but was vetoed by the governor. That same year a bill passed that moves the process for challenging the ballot title for an initiative to before signatures are collected, instead of afterward. Additionally, legislators placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2010 allowing voters to decide whether to tie the number of signatures needed to the last election for Governor. Currently the number is tied to the highest office in the preceding elections, which resulted in a 37 percent increase in the number of signatures needed after the 2008 presidential election.

I'm surprised the report didn't mention the controversy over TABOR and the Oklahoma Three, which had to do with the use of out-of-state petition circulators for the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights proposal. The issue of out-of-state circulators is mentioned in several other states' report cards. The need for paid circulators would diminish if a longer signature period and lower signature requirements were adopted.

I'm happy to see that the opportunity to challenge an initiative's ballot title has been moved earlier in the process. It would be frustrating to go through the trouble of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, only to have the measure struck down by a court.

(Hat tip to Bob Weeks at WichitaLiberty.org, who reports that Kansas received low marks -- Kansas has local initiative and referendum, but not at the state level.)

UPDATE: Jason Carini informs us in the comments that there is a state question on the ballot that will improve matters some what. It doesn't change the percentages, but it does eliminate presidential election turnout as a basis for the number of required signatures. If SQ 750 passes, only turnout in the last governor's election will be used to determine signature requirements. This PDF shows the amendment to Article V, Section 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution proposed by SQ 750. Here is the approved ballot language for SQ 750:

This measure amends a section of the State Constitution. The section deals with initiative petitions. It also deals with referendum petitions. It deals with how many signatures are required on such petitions. It changes that requirement.

"Initiative" is the right to propose laws and constitutional amendments.
"Referendum" is the right to reject a law passed by the Legislature.

The following voter signature requirements apply.
8% must sign to propose law
15% must sign to propose to change the State Constitution.
5% must sign to order a referendum.

These percentages are based upon the State office receiving the most total votes at the last General Election. The measure changes this basis. The measure's basis uses every other General Election. General Elections are held every two years. The Governor is on the ballot every four years. The measure's basis only uses General Elections with the Governor on the ballot.

The President is on the ballot in intervening General Elections. The measure's basis does not use General Elections with the President on the ballot.

More votes are usually cast at Presidential General Elections. Thus, the measure would generally have a lowering effect on the number of required signatures.

You can read all the state questions on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from February 2010.

Oklahoma Politics: December 2009 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: April 2010 is the next archive.

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