Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY -- From an editor’s notebook: Emails from the right hand campaigns and the not-quite-right-hand campaign, applause for reforms, questions about credits, and a long shot Senate candidate.
Oklahomans on conservative email lists, already accustomed to waves of requests for financial support from Republican presidential candidates, were bemused on Wednesday afternoon (May 4). Many received two, and some received as many as three solicitations from Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The Buckeye State governor’s team was trolling for GOP dollars, as if he was still in the race. But as MSNBC/NBC and then others reported earlier that day, Kasich was hours away from “suspending” his campaign.
In another emailhe national GOP was still asking (at 2:09 p.m. Wednesday) for good Republicans to “choose” among the three remaining candidates. That operative for Kascish, actually a non-remaining candidates was still doing emails at 3:05 p.m. asking for contributions because “it’s up to us to stop Trump and unify our party in time to defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Meanwhile, back at the Trump Ranch (or at least a neighboring facility), at 1:58 p.m. Wednesday, the “Great America PAC” (a pro-Trump independent group) sent an email that was “not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee” – asking for contributions to “help us defend our national official nominee and presidential front-runner.”
Somewhere in the midst of all this – at 2 p.m. hereabouts – Gov. Mary Fallin endorsed Trump, saying she backed him “100 percent” and welcomed speculation she might be tapped as his running mate.
The Oklahoma Academy celebrated Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature on four bills that were pretty much in line with the group’s 2008 criminal justice reforms. The bipartisan group praised state Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, for her work teeing up the measures, in line with the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) measures she supported when Kris Steele was speaker of the house.
Fallin returned the favor, saying, “I applaud the Oklahoma Academy, which has been producing thoughtful policy recommendations since its founding in 1967. In 2009, the Academy said Oklahoma's criminal justice system was in dire need of sentencing reform. These measures will preserve public safety while helping control prison costs and reduce incarceration rates in Oklahoma, which according to all measures has some of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Many of our inmates are non-violent offenders with drug abuse and alcohol problems who need treatment. This will pave the way for a wider use of drug courts and community sentencing as well as giving judges and district attorneys more discretion in sentencing.”
Julie Knutson, a long-time civic and policy leader in the state, guides The Oklahoma Academy from offices in Norman.
The 1889 Institute, a recently founded state public policy think tank, has published a new two-page fact sheet on “Wind Energy Credits.” The document sketched the history of wind energy, and outlined the “zero-emission tax credits” that have been the focus of critical scrutiny at the Capitol this legislative session.
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Byron Schlomach, author of the fact sheet and the institute’s policy director, said, “Wind credits are estimated to cost the federal government about $1 billion in lost revenue each year. These credits result in a revenue loss for the state, estimated at $88 million for the current fiscal year and $123 million in 2017.”
Schlomach also contends that while wind energy is thought to have benefits, “the perceived benefits are an economic waste. Wind is an unreliable source of energy and the electricity it generates cannot be stored on a mass scale. This means that there must be an investment in duplicate conventional generation that, due to its backup nature, is relatively costly. In addition, windmills pose a threat to the environment, harming landscape and birds alike.:
He asserts, “Repeal of the credit, allowing currently credited projects to continue, but not allowing credits for future projects, would minimize the incentive’s future negative impacts on the state’s revenues and economy.” For more of the group’s analysis, visit http://www.1889institute.org/cronyism.htmlwww.1889institute.org/cronyism.html.
Credit Mike Workman, the long-shot hopeful who is the only Democrat to file against U.S. Sen. James Lankford, for seeing an opportunity to boost his message, and taking it.
Lankford, an Oklahoma City Republican, has plenty of campaign cash, a strong conservative record that appeals to many Sooner State voters, and an affable manner that is – putting it mildly – lacking in some conservatives these days.
Still, for Workman, hopes springs eternal. He stopped by the state Capitol press room last week, saying he wanted “just three minutes” of a reporter’s time to make the case for his candidacy, and to take a verbal shot or two at Lankford.
It was a busy day, with lots to cover in the legislative process, but Workman was himself affable, and persistent.
So, he stood at the podium in the Capitol press room and said, “I am the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.” He continued, saying he was grateful to Sen. Lankford for agreeing to meet “finally and personally” -- with President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
Then Workman, who has unsuccessfully sought public office before, went on to say that Lankford should go further, and “have a one-on-one meeting, in public” with Garland. And the Senate “should hold hearings and make a decision” on confirmation.
Workman concluded, well within the self-imposed three-minute limit: “If Senator Lankford is not going to take a vote [on Judge Garland] this year, he should not take any votes on anything, for the remainder of this year.”
Garland is remembered respectfully in Oklahoma for his work after the Murrah Building bombing. But as judge, he is considered moderate with a tinge of liberalism on business regulatory and other legal issues.
Lankford and the state's senior senator, James Inhofe of Tulsa, have spoken well of the judge. Still, they have made it clear (while quoting Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from past judicial nomination stalls) they support the current Republican position not to consider any nominee for the Antonin Scalia seat until after the November presidential election.