Monday, October 27, 2008

Open Door Policy - Oct. 27, 2008

Photo: Rep. Joe Dorman (left) with Harold Jackson, owner of the Chickasha McDonald's and Coach Barry Switzer
I'll start off the column this week by reminding you that next Tuesday is Election Day and please vote if you are registered. You can go to your polling place that day or vote at the county courthouse on Friday, Saturday or Monday. I'm as frustrated as many of you are about some of the choices we have, but it's important to make your voice heard, even if you have to skip over one election and vote for the others on the ballot. Also, do not forget about the state questions on the back of the ballot.
It has been a busy few weeks around the area with several different events occurring. The Chickasha Fire Department had their annual car show and chili cook off this past weekend, which was a huge success. There was also a benefit held in Elgin that raised funds for Bob Welch who was injured in a crash. Further donations can be taken to Brad Meyers at Liberty National Bank in Elgin if you would like to assist him.
Last week, the Ronald McDonald House in Oklahoma City had the Red Shoe Gala, their annual fundraiser. They raised an estimated amount of over $180,000 for the home in Oklahoma City. The money will go to support services for the children and families that stay there during the children's illness while in Oklahoma City. The home has been there since 1984. The families that use the center are often times cannot afford a hotel room for the extended stay of the treatment and and over 97% of the families are from Oklahoma. This is also a program that 4-H students raise money for each year and I first became acquainted with their program when we donated to them while I was a student. If you would like more information, you can reach them at (405) 424.6874. Most of the interim studies have been heard, but I have one coming up on November 6th regarding the possibility of updates for voter rolls and notification to state agencies upon the death of an Oklahoman. The Department of Health does not currently share this information automatically and it would help a great deal for other agencies to know this information. I remember seeing my grandmother's name on the voter rolls after she had passed and thought this would be good to have the names removed so the family does not have to go through current channels. Should a name be mistakenly removed, provisional ballot would still be allowed so a vote will not be prohibited. I authored the bill that allowed provisional ballots here in Oklahoma.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Should Private Companies Be Allowed To Own Our Roads?

As a member of the House of Representative's Transportation Committee I have been able to observe one of the most controversial but rarely talked about and mostly under the radar issues regarding the long term development of our highway system.

One year ago I wrote in my update about an the issue at the heart of which has been Oklahoma's membership in a group known as the North America SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO), the desire of big corporations to enhance the movement of Chinese-manufactured goods throughout North America, the possible privatization of new state and federal highways and NASCO's desire to deploy sophisticated tracking devices along I-35.

In the past I written about what I believe to be the inappropriate and frightening alliance of big business monopolies backed up by the power of big government. Nowhere is this abuse more evident than when big companies buy long term leases of public roads. You can only imagine how your power as a citizen is minimized when a big (and likely foreign owned) corporation has complete control over a public road on which you depend in order to get where you need to go.

The issue of private ownership of public roads is in its infancy in Oklahoma but appeared to be growing after Texas planned out the construction of the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) network. The TTC was to be owned and financed over the next 50 years by a foreign investment group based in Spain known as Cintra.

The TTC initiative begun in 2002 focused on building a superhighway parallel to Interstate 35. It seems obvious that proponents of this privately owned super transit corridor may have intended on linking Mexican ports through Oklahoma to an inland port to be located in Kansas City and from there to various distribution points throughout North America.

A communist Chinese owned company known as Hutchison Ports Holdings is paying billions to deepen the Mexican ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas in anticipation of the arrival of container mega-ships capable of holding up to 12,500 containers currently being built for Chinese shipping lines. These ports would likely serve as a starting point for Chinese goods that would be distributed into the United States along the super highway corridor.

NASCO, advocates for the I-35 trade corridor but has also been pushing for the creation of a tracking system known as NAFTRACS to be put in place along I-35. This technology would be developed in part by a joint venture owned by Hutchison Ports Holdings. NAFTRACS has been described by NASCO as a program that provides management tools for mitigating or minimizing traffic congestion and collecting the status of certain items in transit. The data generated by these sensors would be shared with the joint venture although it is not clear if the data would be shared with the Chinese government owners of the joint interest. In May of 2007, NASCO requested that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation sign a letter stating that ODOT was looking forward to participating in the tracking program.

During the 2007 legislative session it was discovered that Oklahoma is a dues paying member of NASCO. In other words your taxpayer dollars were helping finance this organization.

In my update in 2007, I wrote that Senator Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) would be filing a bill to remove Oklahoma from the NASCO coalition. Shortly after that time the Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced they would be withdrawing from NASCO membership. At this time it appears that the effort to introduce foreign owned public roads in Oklahoma has met with too much resistance. However, as your Representative I am committed to opposing any new attempts to allow this type of long term private ownership of public roads.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trying to Prevent Voter Fraud

Perhaps you have seen recent stories in the news about a group known as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Some of ACORN'S employees have been accused of submitting false voter registration forms; some were signed "Mickey Mouse" and some listed Dallas Cowboys players’ names, even though none of the players lived in that particular state. Agents acting on behalf of ACORN employees were also caught filling out voter registration forms using names and addresses copied from the telephone book. In a number of states, fraud investigations are underway.

While these events are mostly occurring in presidential battleground states, I believe that Oklahoma's election system is also susceptible to fraud.

The voter identification cards used by the election board could be easily forged. Especially during low turnout elections, there is absolutely nothing to stop people from voting under different names in different precincts. If a group with the wherewithal and the power of ACORN decided to manipulate our elections by registering out-of-state voters or by registering the same person multiple times in different precincts under different names and addresses, there would probably be very little to stand in their way.

Right here in Logan County, according to election board records, in just one precinct preceding the 2004 elections, there were four hundred and fourteen people who registered to vote in September and October and who are still listed on the rolls of eligible voters. Of those four hundred and fourteen people, only eighteen of them showed up to vote at the next major election in 2006. One can only imagine how susceptible that precinct is to corruption when of all of the people who registered in September and October, only four percent of them turned out to be voters who would be still be voting at that precinct two years later. It would be next to impossible for a precinct official to recognize that person when he/she basically only registered to vote for one election.

In an e-mail update in May, I wrote about
Senate Bill 1150 which would have provided for a required list of identification options prior to voting. The constitutionality of the bill was reinforced by a recent Supreme Court decision which ruled in favor of an Indiana voter ID law that requires photo identification at the polls, citing the need to reduce voter fraud.

I also included this bill on my constituent surveys and over 80% of my constituents responded by supporting the idea of required voter identification.

Unfortunately, I also wrote about the fact that some in the Senate leadership were able to kill the bill.

While the Senate's decision to kill the bill was discouraging, I believe that a strong voter photo ID law can be passed in the future. The Speaker of the House recently announced that this will be a major agenda item for next year. Hopefully with more conservative leadership in the Senate, and with all of the national attention being given to voter fraud, the efforts of those who appear to keep our voter system susceptible to fraud will be defeated.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Politicians Giving Away More Of Your Money

One of the types of bills I am most disappointed to see appear on the floor of the House is a bill that makes a seemingly small but expansive change in the way an incentive program or tax credit give away is allotted to some special interest somewhere. I believe that most legislators have no clue about the identity of the special interest or group that is set to benefit from the change but are simply asked to support the bill in the name of economic development.

Over the past few years any number of programs have popped up that give away your money to any number of entities that will benefit from the special consideration of one of these incentive programs. The programs are usually created in the name of economic development which means it is very hard for most legislators to vote against them and run the risk of being seen as anti-growth.

Now, these programs appear to be slowly expanding to include more and more special interests. These groups are no doubt willing to invest in the lobbyists and build relationships with legislators in order to be successful in expanding these programs to include themselves.

I feel that Oklahoma's elected officials are putting us on a dangerous road down a path where anyone who can afford a high price lobbyist can create a special program that provides their specific interest with financial gain at the expense of the average taxpayers who are unknowingly forced to carry the burden of paying for these pay outs.

These programs essentially bypass the people's right as customers in the free market to determine who the winners and losers of the business world are and risks placing government bureaucrats and centralized planners in the position of determining who will benefit from the special programs.

And, with a lack of public transparency it seems there are a multitude of possible abuses that can occur as millions of dollars of tax credits appear to be distributed with little to no public awareness of who is receiving these credits and how they are being used.

I have always felt that in order for Oklahoma to compete with neighboring states such as Texas for economic growth it is important that many of Oklahoma's growth punitive taxes such as the personal income tax or the tax on capital gains should be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Unfortunately, as special interests are allowed to build holes into the tax code to provided targeted benefits in the name of economic development the harder it will become for Oklahoma to enact comprehensive tax reform. This is because a large and powerful constituency will be developed in order to maintain the big government status-quo and keep the targeted incentives in place.

A recently released report from the Tax Foundation demonstrates what is at stake. In their annual rankings the Foundation declared Oklahoma to have moved up to having the 19th highest tax burden in the United States. Oklahoma's tax burden ranking has steadily increased over the past 30 years. In 1977 Oklahoma ranked 42nd in terms of the level of state and local taxation. Now we rank 19th.

This high level of taxation does not provide incentive for growth. This is no doubt partly why Oklahoma's per capita income is one of the lowest in the nation. Despite all of good intentions of those who wish to grow our state by offering massive incentive programs I believe that Oklahoma will grow much more successfully if we reverse course and follow a path of less taxation.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Child Advocacy Group Names Autism Insurance Top Priority for 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – The effort to require health insurance to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism in children received another grassroots boost this week from one of Oklahoma’s most respected child advocacy organizations.

At its legislative fall forum, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) placed the issue at the top of its priorities for the 2009 session of the Oklahoma Legislature. The forum, held on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, brought together child advocates and lawmakers to discuss a variety of issues important to Oklahoma’s children.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm is the author of “Nick’s Law,” the bill that would have required health insurance to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism. A Democrat from Durant, Gumm participated in a panel discussion on special needs children during the two-day event. OICA, he said, has an unmatched reputation in standing up for children.

“The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is a strong and effective voice speaking for children who often have no voice,” he said. “They have been on board with ‘Nick’s Law’ since we started this effort. I am honored to stand alongside them and the parents of children with autism as we continue this battle next year.”

“Nick’s Law” – named for Nick Rohde, a 10-year-old Edmond boy with autism – passed the Oklahoma Senate on bipartisan votes on four separate occasions in 2008. Each time, House Republican leaders would not allow the proposal even to be considered by representatives.

“There is a grassroots groundswell of support for this legislation,” Gumm said. “We see it in Oklahoma and we have seen it in other states. Republican legislators and governors in other states have championed bills like ‘Nick’s Law,’ and we had strong support from many Republicans in the Oklahoma Senate.

“In the entire nation, it was only the Republican leadership in the Oklahoma House of Representatives that made the issue partisan.”

Gumm said there is significant support for the bill among rank-and-file members of the House Republican caucus. “We knew there were enough votes to pass the bill if Republican leaders had just given it a fair hearing and allowed their members to vote their conscience,” he said.

Four Republican representatives – Reps. Doug Cox of Grove, David Dank of Oklahoma City, Charlie Joyner of Midwest City, and Scott Martin of Norman – even signed a petition to force a vote on “Nick’s Law” during the 2008 session. Then, after a House Republican meeting, no other GOP lawmakers would sign despite many having expressed support for the bill.

House leaders recently conducted a legislative study on autism and the state services provided to families struggling with the bio-neurological condition. Parents of autistic children who attended the study meetings expressed frustration that the private insurance component was hardly discussed.

“House leaders chose to ignore the ‘elephant in the room,’ and that is the role insurance must play in the battle against the epidemic of autism,” Gumm said. “They have desperately tried to make a case against ‘Nick’s Law,’ and despite all their efforts, the bill still came out as the top priority of the most respected child advocacy organization in the state.

“Oklahomans are very good at seeing through smoke screens.”

Gumm said a new version of “Nick’s Law” is already written and will be introduced “at the first possible moment” for consideration during the 2009 session. He said he is becoming more hopeful every day the bill will pass next year.

“Parents of children with autism know what it takes to overcome challenges,” he said. “The legislative obstacles put in their path by a handful of powerful legislators is nothing compared to what they have already overcome in caring for their children.

“When you get to know these parents, you understand far more about ‘family values’ than you can ever learn from the empty rhetoric of politicians who either cannot or will not stand for those who have no voice.”

Thursday, October 9, 2008

House Studies Use of ATV's and UTV's as Street-Legal Vehicles


Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman

Capitol: (405) 557-7305


House Studies Use of ATVs and UTVs as Street-legal Vehicles

OKLAHOMA CITY- (October 7, 2008) - Oklahomans could soon be zipping around town and up-and-down county roads on four-wheeled all-terrain and side-by-side utility vehicles under proposed legislation being studied at the state Capitol.

The House Transportation Subcommittee today held interim studies requested by state Representatives Wallace Collins (D-Norman) and Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) to determine the viability of licensing "street-legal" all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility vehicles (UTVs) and allowing citizens to operate them in town and on county and state highways.

"Fuel prices and convenience are the driving forces behind these studies," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "Two-wheeled motorcycles are legal, so why not four-wheeled motorcycles? That is essentially what we are talking about here. These vehicles can easily be made safe for the road and would save citizens a tremendous amount of money at the gas pump."

Four-wheeled ATVs, commonly referred to as "four-wheelers" or "quads," are defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator and uses handlebars for steering control.

The Collins study focused primarily on ATV use on streets.UTVs are similar to ATVs, but combine a truck-style utility bed with a side-by-side seating arrangement and a steering wheel on a four-wheeled chassis. They typically weigh less than 1,500 pounds and include the Kubota RTV Series, Kawasaki Mule, Polaris Ranger and Yamaha Rhino, among others. These vehicles were examined in the Dorman interim study.

Under current state law, neither type of vehicle is allowed on public roads or within municipal city limits. It was noted during the study, however, that golf carts are allowed on city streets if the municipality allows by local ordinance.

Dorman said ATVs and UTVs could easily be converted to conform to state safety requirements, including adding mirrors, headlights and brake lights, turn signals, license plates and highway-rated tires, which are typically more inflated than off-road tires and make a vehicle more stable and maneuverable.

In addition, UTVs come equipped with steel roll-cages and seatbelts and can be fitted with doors. Dorman also noted that while an ATV with an engine of 250cc or larger can easily maintain minimum highway speed limits, UTVs should be strictly limited to municipalities and roads posted for speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. Currently, Arizona, Utah and Montana allow citizens to operate four-wheeled ATVs on public roads.

"This issue was originally brought to me by a constituent who wanted to check his lands, but the only way to do that was to drive down a county road," said Dorman. "With gas prices reaching such high levels, we also have to consider these vehicles get great gas mileage and will be used more frequently in rural areas. They are already the size of a small car, so why not allow them on roads with speed limits under 40 miles per hour?"

The interim study heard testimony from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and constituents from Dorman's legislative district. Shane Fitzwater, a resident of Ninnekah, presented statistics from the state of Montana showing accident rates were reflective of negligence by drivers and not the size or model of the vehicle. Insurance agents were also present and stated that insurance costs would be determined based upon accident rates set through studies.

Currently, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety does not designate differences on the size of these vehicles, but policy changes will soon be made to designate different types of models and accident rates with each.

In addition, Dorman noted that "mini-trucks" will officially be street legal on November 1. The Legislature earlier this year passed a law that allows Oklahomans to operate the popular diminutive trucks on county and state roads. Popular models include the Daihatsu Hijet, Honda Acty, Mazda Scrum, Mitsubishi Minicab and Subaru Sambar.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Open Door Policy - Oct. 6, 2008

It was a very informative two weeks for me as I participated in a program called the New Generation Seminar. This was conducted through a Congressional grant by a program established 18 years ago with the University of Hawai'i and their East-West Center. I had the opportunity to visit with politicians and journalists from Asian countries, along with three other politicians from the United States. It truly was a small world as one of the American politicians, Rep. Tim Moore, R - North Carolina, was a friend of mine during my college days. Tim attended Oklahoma City University for law school and we were both active in the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature during the same period of time.
The conference was established to build better relations between the United States and these various countries that participate. The delegates had the opportunity to learn from each other's cultures and also spend time on a predetermined topic. This topic was globalization, which primarily focused on the job sectors in America that have been affected through companies moving large segments of their industry overseas. Each delegate was responsible for a discussion on an area of their home and I chose Agritourism. For more on this topic, check out for a great breakdown of this new industry in our state that is assisting rural farmers, ranchers and landowners establish tourism.
The week was spent in three different locations around the United States looking at how globalization has affected our industry. The meetings concluded in Washington, D.C. as we had the chance to visit with Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska and one of my favorite elected officials. We also had the chance to visit with staff members from Congress and various non-governmental organizations (NGO's) that deal with trade and industry. This conference truly changed my views on trade and helped me realize that many areas of Oklahoma are affected by this trade and we must work to develop fairer standards to better support our local businesses and even the trade imbalance that often occurs. I hope I will be able to assist with this at our State Capitol with the knowledge I know possess on this subject.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Cutline: Senator Chuck Hagel, R - Nebraska (center) poses with delegates from the 18th New Generation Seminar, including Rep. Joe Dorman (far right)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Keeping Close to the People

When I sought election for office, a key component of my platform was centered around an issue about which I feel strongly. In my view, the events of the past few weeks have certainly reinforced the importance of what I believe to be an important principle.

As conceived by the founding fathers, the United States House of Representatives was to reflect the sentiment and values of the people, and its members were to be directly elected by the people every two years.

When the founding fathers of Oklahoma designed our State Constitution, they ensured this same principle would be reflected in state government by requiring that Oklahoma State Representatives also stand for re-election every two years.

I have observed firsthand how this makes the House much more responsive to the needs and concerns of the people they represent. For instance, in 2007 the House served as the catalyst for immigration reform even though it was opposed by the big money special interest group. Immigration reform was one of the rare high profile successful bills that was not driven by special interest money, but by the demands of the people. Representatives who knew they would soon be up for re-election were much more likely to take this sentiment into consideration than the Senators who are only up for re-election every four years.

Over the past few months, I have been honored to go door to door, visiting hundreds of homes of the people I represent. This experience provides a fascinating ground level point of view as I get to hear firsthand how people feel about the issues. The experience has also given me a forum through which I can relate my observations of what is occurring in government, and how I am applying my principles and beliefs to my job as State Representative. In addition, the people give me valuable feedback about how the new laws that I am voting for or against are impacting their lives.

I believe this is exactly how our founding fathers envisioned representative government would work. And this is why I believe the House of Representatives is one of the most exciting places in which a person can serve.

Certainly one of the most relevant issues the people talk to me most passionately about is their opposition to the recent actions of the federal government in approving the pork-filled bailout bill. I feel that one of the reasons the United States House of Representatives initially opposed the bailout was because they know the people oppose it and many of them are up for re-election in just a few weeks.

When I campaigned for office, I made it clear that I opposed the effort to expand the terms of State Representatives. I have much respect for the wisdom of our founding fathers and am dedicated to preserving the important principle that Representatives should be up for review by the people every two years.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hello again, everybody! The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees “all political power is inherent in the people.”

One of the clearest expressions of that power is that the sole ability to amend the state Constitution rests with voters. The Legislature can only propose constitutional amendments; the ultimate decision to ratify constitutional amendments rests with you. This is an important right we as Oklahomans have.

On Election Day – just four weeks away – you will have the ability to pass judgment on a proposed constitutional amendment that I strongly supported when it was before the Senate. In fact, I was a co-sponsor of the proposal.

State Question 742 would guarantee one of the rights we as Oklahomans cherish the most: the right to hunt, fish, trap and take game. The wording you will see on the November 4 ballot is:

“This measure adds a new section to the State Constitution. It adds Section 36 to Article 2. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. Such activities would be subject to reasonable regulation. It allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to approve methods and procedures for hunting, trapping, fishing and taking of game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means. It makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish. The new law will not affect existing laws relating to property rights.”

Some have suggested this constitutional amendment is unnecessary. After all, who would ever try to prevent us from hunting and fishing? The truth is there are groups out there that have it as their mission to take away this cherished right.

One of the most vocal is a group called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA. This group is clear in its stand on hunting and fishing: PETA would, if given even the slightest opening, destroy this right in a heartbeat. On the PETA website, the group even compares those of us who hunt and fish to Jack the Ripper.

We have an extraordinary chance to preserve this right and send a message to extremists who would strip it from us. If we overwhelmingly pass State Question 742, it would send a strong message that we can and we will preserve this important sporting right.

If you are registered to vote, please be sure to go to the polls on Election Day and let your voice be heard – on this issue and several others. If you are not registered, you have until Friday, October 10 to get registered at any county election board or tag agency. Every eligible Oklahoman should register and vote.

And, I ask you all to join with me by voting “Yes” on State Question 742. Together, we can protect our right to hunt and fish, for our generation and those yet unborn.

Thanks again for reading “The Senate Minute.” Have a great week, and may God bless you all.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Open Door Policy - September 30, 2008

I believe it was President Ronald Reagan who cited the scariest phrase to many Americans which still sums it up to many: "I'm with the government and I'm here to help."

We've seen much of this attitude over the past week as our stock market has tumbled, placing many retirement systems and personal investments in danger. I'm not directly affected by the stock market as that I live paycheck-to-paycheck as do many of you and cannot afford to risk savings. Many, though, do set aside funds, or more importantly, count on retirement investments to make ends meet.

Thankfully, the economy overall in Oklahoma has been fairly stable due in part to bipartisan work with our legislature and Governor Henry. We may have partisan haggling on many issues, but when it comes to disasters of any form, Oklahomans work together to fix the problems.

In my opinion, it is reprehensible what the federal government has done during this crisis and the period that has led up to this. We saw companies risk billions of dollars with no restriction and suffer the consequences. We then saw the federal government react to this with a band-aid solution that was unpopular with many citizens.

I'll point to two other Presidents who I greatly admire, one in each party. Teddy Roosevelt was the champion of the working man and placed restrictions on huge corporations and broke down trusts that hurt our nation. His cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt guided us through the Great Depression and established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that backed up people's bank accounts to protect hard-earned dollars.

Very rarely do we elect great minds to public offices. Often times, great leaders surround themselves with brilliant minds who find innovative solutions. In recent years, those staffers have been replaced with political pundits whose jobs are to twist words rather than formulate policy just so elections can be won.

While this is a completely different financial situation than what we saw about 80 years ago, you cannot tell me that great minds do not exist any longer that could come up with a bipartisan plan to not only protect against greedy schemes such as this and that would also solidify our financial solvency as a nation. Most elected officials will be held accountable in November for their policies and their votes, but where are the solutions presented by those who vote no all the time? We need results, not partisan jabs as we have seen constantly since the Troubled Asset Relief Program vote.

This goes to George Bush, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain and Barack Obama: act like Oklahomans and work together for a solution! You are all elected by the people, not just your party. The vote was 205-228, which had 2/3's of the Republican Caucus and 2/5's of the Democrats voting no. Do your jobs and build a consensus of lawmakers that will support a program with real regulation and responsibility and longterm solutions. To those that voted no, give us an alternative that you feel will fix the problem. You are with the government and the people demand your help this time.

It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.