Columns/Opinions

Wed
31
Oct
Edgar's picture

Responsibly Preserving Mandatory Programs

By Congressman Tom Cole

Following the recently ended fiscal year, it was reported that the federal government’s budget deficit increased significantly compared to the previous year. While this is certainly discouraging news, the existence of a deficit is not surprising or unusual. Critics are of course quick to blame the implementation of tax reform as the chief contributor to the recent deficit. However, the reality is that another factor has for years been driving deficits and as a result, adding to the national debt.

To provide some context, federal spending falls into a couple general categories: discretionary and mandatory. During the annual budget and appropriations process, lawmakers address only the discretionary side of the budget. Mandatory spending, on the other hand, is essentially left as is unless lawmakers offer solutions for reform to various programs.

 

Wed
24
Oct
Edgar's picture

For the Children: At a Chili Cook-off, Rejecting the Politics of Fear

By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman

I am sure most of you are pretty tired of this election cycle. The relentless barrage of campaign ads ahead of the November 6 general election is not new, but there does seem to be an increasingly hostile, personal and, in many cases, nasty tone. I am seeing the fatigue in the faces of many voters who I have had the chance to chat with about the elections.

I have also noticed more people, including many current and former politicians, pointing out that this is the time to “take our country (or state) back,” as if it was ever taken away from them in the first place. The implication is that we have stopped being Americans or Oklahomans because one party or another is in power. This message is divisive and, frankly, disturbing.

 

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Wed
17
Oct
Edgar's picture

Ensuring Lasting Benefits from Tax Reform

By Congressman Tom Cole

Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, the country has undoubtedly been better off as a result. Wages are steadily on the rise, unemployment has reached its lowest level in nearly 50 years, jobs are being created and the economy is booming. Since this historic tax relief and reform effort was enacted earlier this year, the benefits have not slowed or diminished. Certainly, the lasting impact continues to be felt by individuals, families, small businesses, entrepreneurs and indeed, by all Americans.

Wed
17
Oct
Edgar's picture

For the Children: Three Key Interim Studies Focus on Children’s Issues

By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has had the opportunity over the past few months to work with state lawmakers on various issues covered in legislative interim studies. If you are not familiar with these, state senators and representatives can request from the presiding officer of their respective chambers the opportunity to delve into a topic about an issue of importance. Prior to the deadline for the filing period, we reached out to several lawmakers to request topics which would focus on important issues for Oklahoma children and families.

The first study in which we played a part was the Oklahoma Senate study reviewing the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care.

 

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Wed
10
Oct
Edgar's picture

For the Children: OICA Fall Forum Helps to Shape Children’s Agenda Ahead of Elections

By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman

It is around this time of year that I get excited for new opportunities. We are less than a month away from the General Election in Oklahoma (the deadline to register, or change your registration, is on this Friday, October 12) and next year we will see a dramatically different Legislature and governor’s office. Because of term limits, retirements, and incumbents falling to challengers, about 70 percent of our state legislators will have two years or less of experience.

Wed
10
Oct
Edgar's picture

Oklahoma State Senate

State Senator Chris Kidd
Senate District 31
(Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson, Stephens and Tillman counties)

State Treasurer Ken Miller announced more great economic news for our state this week. State gross receipts surged by 14 percent in September, the tenth month of double-digit growth in the past year.

We had gross receipts of $1.2 billion last month - the highest September total in our history. Twelve-month gross receipts were $12.5 billion, which is also a record.

This is great news as we approach the upcoming session and begin work on the FY’20 budget. A majority of agency budgets haven’t yet been restored to the level they were before the national recession and oil bust that devastated our state’s economy between 2009 and 2016. The increase in revenue will help stabilize our state’s budget and fund core government services

 

Wed
12
Sep
Edgar's picture

The Best Choice

By Congressman Tom Cole

For the second time during his term in office, President Trump has had the opportunity to place a new Justice on the Supreme Court. His first pick Justice Neil Gorsuch was an excellent one, and since joining the high court, Justice Gorsuch has served faithfully and diligently. When Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has served on the Supreme Court for nearly 30 years, announced his retirement earlier this year, another critical seat opened. President Trump swiftly and decisively nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to replace Justice Kennedy.

 

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Wed
29
Aug
Edgar's picture

Work Abroad

By: Congressman Tom Cole

The August Congressional recess is a great time for Congress to do important work back in the district and abroad. During the first week of August, I had the opportunity to travel with five of my colleagues to frontline states and important NATO allies in Europe. Our first stop was the United Kingdom – shortly after it had been confirmed that a Russian defector was murdered on British soil. This confirmation served as a reminder that the Russians are unreliable, dangerous and reckless. The United States has been very supportive to the British and expelled 63 Russian diplomats from the U.S. as a result of Russian aggression on British soil. The United Kingdom expressed appreciation to America’s strong stance on their behalf - and the UK has stood strong with us so many times in the past. We must stand with our friends during difficult moments.

 

Wed
22
Aug
Edgar's picture

More Pressure On Iran

By: Congressman Tom Cole

For decades, the United States has grappled with the often contentious and theocratic regime of Iran. Iran is not a friend to the United States. It is a nation well known for funding, training and harboring terrorists, and often, the United States has been the target of such activity. Under President Trump’s leadership, the U.S. has approached Iran’s inconsistent and unreliable commitment to denuclearization. In fact, since the implementation of the Iran Deal under President Obama, it has been evident that Iran continued to become a nuclear capable state.

Wed
08
Aug
Edgar's picture

Medical Cannabis Industry Releases Amended Model Legislation After Public Input

OKLAHOMA CITY – New Health Solutions Oklahoma (NHSO), the trade association representing the state’s medical cannabis industry, has released amended model legislation after receiving nearly 200 public comments and suggestions regarding an earlier draft.

The amended legislation, available for download here, seeks to create a workable legal infrastructure to underpin a safe and responsibly regulated medical cannabis program, as voted into law by the people of Oklahoma.

 

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