585 weeks ago, as the 2007 legislative session commenced, I wrote the first in this series of articles. This week, the 2018 legislative session ends. It’s my last regular session as your state representative, and this will be the last in this series of articles.
Throughout the past two weeks I have written of my criteria for determining if my elected officials have become co-opted members of the political class.
Time and again I have witnessed the voters elect a new office holder based on the candidate’s platform of reform and innovation. The new office holder starts out with the best intentions, excited and ready to implement new ideas, unfortunately only to devolve into a self-centered career politician whose primary motivation becomes the extension of […]
In 2002, as a newly elected official I gave a presentation to a local civic group where I spoke with enthusiasm about taking on the status quo and bringing reform on behalf of the taxpayers.
In my column last week I described a “maybe not-so-hypothetical” look at how corruption can occur in Oklahoma county government.
I have long articulated the following view: the legal scheme of Oklahoma county-level governance is antiquated and better situated to the 1800s when political bosses directly controlled the reins of government and merged policy and government operations into a toxic outcome of political patronage and corruption.
Those who have read these articles during the past year will know that I have regularly opposed the many ongoing tax increase proposals because they will provide cover for the waste and abuse of already-collected billions taxpayer dollars.
On a cold, wintery day in January 2004, my family and I drove to the north side of Marshall, Oklahoma where I solicited the support of my first voter for the office of State Representative. It would be the first of thousands of such visits over the course of the next eight months.
It was deja-vous. A few days ago, the State Purchasing Director attempted to walk the Government Modernization Committee through the ins and outs of state government purchasing policy. His unenviable task faced two primary challenges: capturing the attention of legislators for what at first glance appears to be an extremely dry (though important) subject matter, […]
Voting on legislation is the singular most important part of the state representative’s job and in that role, I have endeavored to cast the approximate 1,000 yearly votes according to a set of clear and consistent criteria.
Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: “If there is one consistent thing about that legislator, it is that he is consistently inconsistent!”
I have enjoyed the opportunity to observe the leadership of six different Speakers of the House. It’s said to be the most powerful position in all of Oklahoma government; stronger in influence than even the Governor. Based on careful observation over the years, I have attempted to learn all I can about the strengths and […]
I have frequently expressed my view of the inappropriate influence of lobbyists over the legislative process.
I once watched, “The Best Government Money Can Buy,” a documentary that details the considerable influence of lobbyists over the development and implementation of policy.
It is the time of year when legislators file legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel it important to write an article which describes the process by which a bill becomes law.
Here is an antiquated House procedure that should be corrected: members of the House of Representatives vote on key legislation during a limited two-minute time frame.
Every so often, I field this question from those who are interested in state government: “How can I see state finances?”
Here’s some encouraging news: notwithstanding this year’s repeated ferocious attack by the Legislature upon the wallet of Oklahoma taxpayers, there is hope for the future.
For much of Oklahoma’s history, the conservative fiscal values of Oklahomans were upheld because state officials were unable to issue general bonded indebtedness without first receiving approval through a vote of the people. This is because Oklahoma’s constitution requires a balanced budget and prevents debt issuance without a vote of the people.
When asked to point out what I believe to be the most wasteful and inappropriate form of government spending, I can answer without hesitation. Without a doubt, it is the extremely inappropriate tendency of government agencies to hire private lobbying firms.