Politics and Policy:

    Well tomorrow’s the big election. Here are my recommendations on who to vote for if you live in Oklahoma:

    – I still might change my mind tomorrow, but at this point I intend to very reluctantly vote for Brad Henry.

    My main reservations on him are that he is pro-lottery and pro-choice. (both are things that bother me).

    However, since there will still have to be an election on the lottery most likely and that the Governor will have little influence on abortion policy, I will have to give him my vote since he is the most supportive candidate of rural schools and is willing to consider a one year moratorium on the death penalty (an area that the Governor does have significant sway over). I also appreciate that he responded to the Oklahoma Green party questionaire (www.okgreens.org.)

    His opponents are simply unacceptable: Largent is anti rural schools, wants to tax the poor more, and has a mouth he can’t control; while Richardson is promising to make the turnpikes free without explaining how he would do it, says college education will be free with the lottery which is not possible, and wants to close down the state lodges.

    Lt. Governor – Independent Billy Billy Maguire gets my whole-hearted support based on his responses to the Green Party questionaire. Go Billy, Go!

    Attorney General – Not 100% happy with it, but I’ll vote for Drew Edmondson.

    State Auditor & Inspector – Republican Gary Jones will most likely get my vote since his oponent does not have a website so I have no idea what his campaign is based on.

    Corporation Commissioner – Keith Butler (D) gets my vote based on what he said on the Green party questionaire.

    Insurance Commissioner – I’ll likely leave this one blank as neither has a website or responded to the Green party questionaire.

    Labor Commissioner– This one will be blank too as both of the candidates are anti-labor. (read their websites and ask yourselves what they will do for labor. I think both of them are confused and are really running for Commerce Secretary and not Labor secretary.)

    State Superintendent – Lloyd Roettger (Republican) gets my vote because Sandy Garrett has been in too long and because I met Lloyd at this year’s Paseo Arts festival and was impressed with his ideas.

    As to Garrett’s record, I graduated from public schools in Oklahoma and have worked as a substitute teacher in the past as well, so I know how bad things are. There are lots of good teachers out there but Oklahoma’s educational system does little to help them. Also Sandy Garrett is too much into consolidating rural school districts. (Lloyd seems to have a good policy on this: http://www.educateoklahoma.com/articles/small_rural_schools.html)

    US Senate – David Walters (D) because he gives specifics on the issues (his website: www.waltersforsenate.com is one of the best) and because he is a night and day improvement over Inhofe. Also, I want to held the Demos keep control of the Senate.

    These last few races will vary on what area of Oklahoma you live in. Here the folks for my area…

    US House, Dis. 4 – I will very reluctantly vote for Darryl Roberts (D). I hate doing so because he is a warhawk, but since Cole(R) is one as well I have little choice. My vote for Roberts is more a vote for Democratic control of the US House than a vote for Roberts himself.

    State Senate – Daisy Lawler (D) because she is pro-life Democrat who supports rural schools. (I like her signs too. You can’t help but smile at those big sunflowers 🙂

    On the other local races I’m still making up my mind.

As to the the State Questions, here are my thoughts on them. Some I am still mulling over, so my mind might change on them:

PDF of the Actual Provisions to be voted on tomorrow

    687 – The Cockfighting Provision

    I will vote against this. I know many of my readers will not agree with me on this, but I am doing for 4 reasons:

    1. The punishment is grossly excessive. This should not be a felony. Our prisons are too full right now. At the most, this should be a misdemeanor.

    2. The language is too broad. If the law made is a misdemeaner to fight the birds in Oklahoma, I might have supported it, but I do not think owning the birds should be included. Many people depend on this for their livelihood. I don’t think it is right to take that away like this.

    3. The anti-cockfighting folks have come across as being anti-rural in my book. I speak for a lot of rural folks when we say that we don’t care if Frank Keating says this is an embarassment to the state of Oklahoma. I think Keating’s big mouth is an embarrassment to the state of Oklahoma but it is not a felony for him to open it.

    Many of the very same people who are for this provision have no problems eating chicken from Tyson and other big companies that raise their birds in tiny cages. (To me, most fighting cocks have it good until the end… good food, plenty of room to road around in, etc.) This proposed law smacks of urban hypocrisy.

    3. Lastly, the bill will go into effect immediately creating thousands of felons out of folks who haven’t shipped their chickens out of state yet. The law should have provided for a 30 or 90 day effective date.

    That said, I do disagree with the pro-cockfighting folks on two things:

    1. Despite what they say, I think cockfighting is a cruel sport and I personally think it is morally wrong to participate in it. (But even if it is morally wrong for me, I don’t think that a law should neccesarily prohibit it, just as I don’t think drugs laws are neccesarily a good thing.)

    2. Outlawing cockfighing will not open the door to outlawing hunting, fishing, etc. Texas has outlawed cockfighting for many years and there is no danger that hunting/fishing will be outlawed there.

    These reservations aside, I think the proposed law as written is unacceptable and I’ll be voting against it.

    693- Economic and Community Development

    Still want to study this one some more, but will probably vote for it.

    696- Storm shelter property tax exemption

    I’ll vote yes.

    697- (too complicated to explain here) — I’m voting against this as it does not seem to be broad and appears to be written in a way that could be taken advantage of.

    698 – Will change the percentage of signatures needed to bring a law to the ballot for the people to vote on, if it is concerning animals.

    I would have voted for it if it specifically applied to only hunting and fishing, but since it is too broad (this would apply to regulating Confined feeding opperations, giant hog farms, etc) I’ll vote no.

    701- I’ll vote yes on this as it seems to be a good way to protect the tobacco trust fund.

    702 – A measure that will allow the Oklahoma Tax Commission to forgive debts under a certain amount in certain situations. I think this is a good idea and would mirror what the IRS is permitted to do in helping folks get caught up on their back tax debts.

    703- Would allow the state to sign contracts that would provide for limited liability for IT-Industries. I’ll vote for this.

    704 – Yes