OKGOP Weekly Update: October 31-November 4:
Greetings Fellow Republicans,
Highlights of Rebuilding Oklahoma
Over the last several weeks, the Oklahoma Republican Party has highlighted a broad range of positive changes enacted by Republican Leadership in Oklahoma since taking control of the Capitol just over a decade ago. The Rebuilding Oklahoma Publications Series took many hours to create, and required the help of many people. This week, the OKGOP will provide a compilation of many of the beneficial reforms that Oklahoma Republicans have spearheaded.
Oklahoma Republicans have attempted to encourage economic growth, education reform, rebuild our roads and bridges, and create a more business friendly environment to make our state flourish and grow. Thank you to everybody who reads our publications and who have used Rebuilding Oklahoma to stay engaged!
- Five years ago, Oklahoma faced a number of difficult circumstances as we started climbing out of a national recession. Just two years ago, we had the fourth-fastest-growing economy in the nation.
- Our savings account, the Rainy Day Fund, has grown to $535 million – the balance of the fund at the end of Governor Brad Henry's term was only $2.03.
- 18 months ago, oil prices unexpectedly began dropping from more than $100 a barrel to below $30 a barrel, creating an economic disaster in Oklahoma.
- The Governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature have enacted business-friendly laws to make Oklahoma more attractive to expanding and existing businesses.
- The state enacted tort reform measures, moving Oklahoma from 42nd to 33rd in reducing frivolous lawsuits.
- The Governor signed legislation that transitioned Oklahoma to an administrative workers’ compensation system taking care of injured workers, while also saving over $368 million for businesses since 2012.
- The Republican-controlled Legislature worked to reduce Oklahoma’s unfunded pension liability from $16 billion in 2011 to nearly half today, or $8.8 billion.
- The Legislature led efforts to enact the Reading Sufficiency Act, which helped elementary school students bolster their reading skills. State fourth graders improved their reading skills by five points in 2015, putting Oklahoma above the national average, while also achieving the third-most significant state gains in the country.
- Republicans made drastic improvements to the funding for roads and bridges with the creation of the ROADS Fund, reducing the number of deficient bridges from about 1168 to about 321, and the state is on track to fix the remainder by the end of 2019.
- Because of business-friendly legislation, the state has been able to attract more than 100,000 new jobs, and big-name companies like General Electric and Macy’s have located here. Boeing and Verizon have also expanded their presence in Oklahoma.
- During the first six months of this year, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce reports that 28 companies made plans to invest more than $2.3 billion over a ramp-up period of three years. These investments will create more than 3,600 new jobs with a project average annual wage of more than $64,000.
Roads and Bridges
Here are a few highlights of what Republicans have accomplished since 2005 on our roads and bridges:
When the Democrats controlled the Statehouse, there was a 30 year period in which infrastructure spending was stagnant. During this time, inflation rose by 75%
and "daily miles traveled on state roads increased 50%
," leaving Oklahoma's roads underfunded and overused.
Republicans made infrastructure development a priority in 2005, when the ROADS Fund was established to correct the 30 years of unchanging infrastructure funding under the Democrats. With Republicans in charge of the Capitol, Oklahoma is currently on track to have almost zero deficient state bridges by 2020, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
So much has been accomplished and improved since 2005, thanks to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma's strong state leadership. If you are interested in reading some highlights of projects that have been completed or are currently under way across the state, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has conveniently compiled a list, which can be accessed by clicking here
Unfunded Liabilities (UAAL)
(Definition can be found here
Oklahoma ranked near the bottom nationally for pension systems at the end of 2010, which represents a stark contrast from where we were in 2015:
- In 2000, the unfunded liability was $6 billion
- In 2004, the unfunded liability increased to over $10 billion
- In 2010, the unfunded liability reached $16.1 billion
Lower Unfunded Liabilities
*Note: All numbers are actuarial values
- Oklahoma's pension systems have experienced a $7.3 billion reduction in the unfunded liability since 2010
- In 2010, according to the PEW Center, our pension plans were 56% funded, compared to 76% funded in 2015
Republican legislators made several important policy decisions when they gained control of the Capitol to stop this gigantic uptick in pension debt incurred under Democratic leadership. These important reforms improved the status of Oklahoma's pension system's condition and benefited the financial future of thousands of hardworking Oklahomans.
- 2011--Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Reform: Improved financial condition by $5.5 billion
- 2011--Retirement Age Increase: $2 billion in long-term savings
- 2013--Firefighter Reform Act: Decreased pension burden by $700 million
- 2014--New Plan Design (OPERS): $3.8 billion in long-term savings
- Vigilance and Other Reforms: Not scored, but significant
In total, these reforms and vigilance have resulted in over $10 billion in long-term savings
Unparalleled in state history, the Republican-led measure to decrease cost, while making the required financial commitment during difficult budget years, has significantly reduced unfunded pension liabilities and helped shore up Oklahoma's pension systems.
Total Annual Funding
Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System Funding
The following was provided by the Workers Compensation Commission:
Insurance Loss Costs
National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has filed a decrease of 22%, 11.8% and 10.2% in the loss cost rates for 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively. The downward trend reflects actuaries’ observations that the reform of workers’ compensation in Oklahoma reduced costs. With the reduction in loss costs translating to a reduction in workers’ compensation premiums, this can help Oklahoma become competitive with surrounding states in attracting new businesses. Saving in premiums to Oklahoma businesses opens the door for employers to raise the salaries and benefits of workers, hire more workers and modernize their facilities and equipment, providing a safer work environment for its employees.
Source: WCC Press Release 9/9/16
Decrease In Number of Claims Filed Since Start of Administrative System in 2014
If you are interested in finding out more about Workers' Compensation, they have a selection of publications available here.
Democrats controlled the State of Oklahoma for 90 years, and our education system runs like it is 90 years old. In that time, the Democrats created 500+ school districts, increased administrative costs and superintendent salaries, inefficiently spent the taxpayers' dollars while they decreased accountability and performance. Democrats now want to cry foul at Republicans for suggesting reforms that counter their decades old philosophy of taxing and spending.
In 1996, Governor Frank Keating offered teachers the choice between a $3,000 pay increase or to have their insurance paid for by the state. The teachers overwhelmingly selected the paid insurance option, and to this day, Oklahoma remains the only state in the country where teachers' insurance is 100% paid for by the state. Some school districts in other states do this, but Oklahoma is the only state that picks up the tab for its educators' insurance. If a teacher's spouse's employer provides family coverage, the teacher is given a stipend by the state for the full cost of the state's insurance premium. This unique program is incredibly popular, but it is also incredibly expensive. In fact, in an interim study that began this week, it was discovered that an additional $162 million were needed to cover teacher’s insurance over the last 6 years.
Republicans took over the House in 2004 and the Senate in 2008. During this time, Democrat Governor Brad Henry, signed into law the Republican proposed tax cut, the largest in state history, which led to the greatest economic growth our state has ever seen.
It was because of this unprecedented economic growth that Republicans were able to inject hundreds of millions into the state education formula in 2008, bringing the per pupil funding to the highest by far in state history, over $3,000.
The first few years of Republican leadership our state was able to climb a cliff, and although we have had some recent challenges beyond our control, the last thing we want to do is fall back down the cliff. When Democrats oversaw the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System it was bankrupt. The Feds were on the verge of either forcing the state to fund it properly or get rid of the benefit entirely. We now have one of the best Teachers Retirement Systems in the nation, having improved the funding ratio from 40 percent to 70 percent.
Education funding before the Recession of 2007 was as low as the mid $2,000s per pupil, making us an embarrassment to the rest of the nation and dismally lower than our high point in 2008 and even today. For 2015-2016, Oklahoma spent $8,043 per pupil
, compared to the dismal $2,000+ per pupil spending seen under Democrats the decade before. Encouragingly, "Our state's graduation rates (75%+) when compared to how much we spend (per student), actually puts us ahead of many states who spend more per student
Democrats are quick to say that Republicans are cutting our school funding, but, in 2008, "total school funding in Oklahoma — including local, state and federal funds along with carryover — totaled $7.1 billion. By 2015 it had increased by $1.5 billion, to 8.6 billion, according to figures from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services."
Common Education Funding
The Oklahoma Republican Party would like to say thank you to the dozens of Republican Leaders who made the Rebuilding Oklahoma Series of publications possible. Your hard work everyday makes our state greater and often goes unnoticed.
We would also like to thank everybody who reads our Weekly Update. Many of you have reached out to us and thanked us for the information. Every Republican in the state is to thank for the Rebuilding Oklahoma Series. You are great constituents and it is an honor and a blessing to work on your behalf everyday.
State of the State Party
This week the OKGOP has been in overdrive, talking with our candidates to ensure that we win our elections on November 8th!
The OKGOP has been focused on delivering Get Out The Vote information via social media and by encouraging everybody who stops by our office to vote early and try to get their friends and families to do the same.
The OKGOP has sent out 83,000 mailers to low propensity voters across the state. We have launched digital ads targeting the same voters, which we expect to help us in tightly contested races.
Chairman Pam Pollard was at the Talihina Fall Foliage Festival last weekend to GOTV in Little Dixie.
This election is the most important in our country's history, so we humbly ask you to get everybody you know involved in electing Republicans across the state, and electing Donald Trump President of the United States! The OKGOP is hosting an Election Day Watch Party on November 8th. More details are available in the "Upcoming Events" section of this email.
Oklahoma Boots on the Ground
The OKGOP's Boots on the Ground programs in previous elections have gone to states like Louisiana and Colorado, where we made a huge impact on races from the top to the bottom of the ballot.
This year our targeted state is OKLAHOMA!
With so many targeted House and Senate races, we're keeping our money and our volunteers HOME this year.
We need YOU to put YOUR Boots on the Ground to help us knock doors for important Senate and House races across Oklahoma!
This week we are focusing on: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, McAlester, Lawton, Idabel, and Shawnee
We are targeting House District 26 for Dell Kerbs in Shawnee, House District 85 for Matt Jackson in Oklahoma City, House District 87 for Bruce Lee Smith in Oklahoma City, Senate District 39 for Dave Rader in Tulsa, Senate District 37 for Senator Dan Newberry in Tulsa, House District 62 for Representative John Michael Montgomery in Lawton, Senate District 7 for Senator Larry Boggs in McAlester, Senate District 5 for Senator Joe Silk in Idabel, and many others.
We have nine seats that are in danger of falling into the hands of the Democrats, so we need YOUR Boots on the Ground in Oklahoma!
If you don't have a race in your local area, we need your help in other areas!
If you are interested in volunteering, please call or email Oklahoma County Chairman Daren Ward, Oklahoma Republican Party Director of Operations Jake Parsons, or Volunteer Coordinator for Tulsa County Patrick Haworth, so that we can add you to our list of volunteers!
There are several deadlines approaching for the November 8th Elections:
Early voting has been in full swing since Thursday, with nearly 7% of Oklahoma +2,000,000 registered voters participating!
Click here for a list of contact information for all 77 Oklahoma County Elections Boards.
There are election watch parties going on all around Oklahoma...
OKGOP Watch Party
The OKGOP is hosting an election day watch party at Main Event Entertainment in Oklahoma City!
Main Event Center is located at 1441 West Memorial Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73114. Doors will open at 7:00 PM, and election results will be shown throughout the venue. The event is hosted by Senator James Lankford and the Oklahoma Republican Party.
Food, beverages and activities may be purchased at the venue. There is no cost to attend.
This will be a family friendly event and a great time for everybody to watch the election results! The event is open to the public.
We invite you, your friends, and family to come join us as we watch the election results come in!
Oklahoma Republican Party, Senator James Lankford, Senator Jim Inhofe, Distinguished Guests, Oklahoma Republicans
2016 Election Watch Party
The Main Event
1441 West Memorial Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73114
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Doors open at 7:00 PM
Main Event Pictures
The Southwest Oklahoma Republican Women & Jackson County GOP Watch Party
November 8, 2016
Days Inn of Altus (Breakfast Room)
Please bring finger foods (Tea & Water will be provided)
Tulsa County GOP Watch Party
The Oklahoma Republican Party depends on your support in order to defeat the Clinton-Obama Political Machine! Please consider chipping in a few dollars to keep our momentum going!
The Tulsa County GOP is hosting a watch party at the Jenks Aquarium.
Click HERE for more information.
Canadian County GOP Watch Party
The Canadian County Republican Party is hosting a Watch Party at Louie's in Yukon!
Click HERE for more information.
Oklahoma Candidate Spotlight:
Experience: Head Football Coach at University of Tulsa; Information Technology
District: Senate District 39
Dave Rader’s roots run deeply in Tulsa and specifically, in District 39. Dave was raised, baptized, and attended school in the district starting at Franklin Elementary on Yale Ave (now Tulsa Street School), and on to Will Rogers High School and the University of Tulsa, both being just across the street from District 39. Dave and his wife, Janet, mark a number of wonderful family milestones in the district. They were married in District 39 some 37 years ago, their third child was born in District 39, their first residence was in District 39, and for all but two years it’s been the only district in which they’ve ever lived in Oklahoma
Dave’s history with the Republican party is nearly just as long. He registered as a Republican while he was in high school at Rogers, and has always been devoted to the party’s mission and causes. Dave likes to call it ‘Tulsa conservative’, a political and personal philosophy that he says has been strongly influenced by his living in District 39.
It is the core of those conservative values that are motivating Dave to represent District 39 in the Oklahoma State Senate. First and foremost, he believes the most important issue in our culture today is the right our forefathers chose to list first in our Declaration of Independence, “… Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Dave has always been pro-life and will staunchly defend that God-given right as your State Senator.
Dave is a firm believer in the Bill of Rights and is committed to upholding its precious freedoms. Freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and the 10th Amendment limiting the reach of the federal government into matters reserved for states and individuals are foundations of Dave’s political prism
There are many challenges in Oklahoma today, and it will take bold, decisive, and effective leadership to successfully meet them. Dave’s vast and varied experiences have him uniquely qualified to do that. As the head football coach at the University of Tulsa, Dave met and developed constructive relationships with numerous civic and corporate community leaders. He has also held positions in the private sector, gaining valuable expertise in the worlds of information technology, road construction, and energy. Dave also has extensive experience working with non-profit groups such as the John 3:16 Mission, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Heritage Family Services, Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, and First Baptist Church of Tulsa. The sum of those professional and personal opportunities have him well-prepared to proudly and ably represent District 39 in the State Senate.
To learn more about Dave's conservative principles, or to contact him, visit his website at: http://daveforsenate.com/
Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DaveForSenate/
Representative Elise Hall
Residence: Oklahoma City
Experience: Marketing; Small Business Owner
District: House District 100
To learn more about Elise and her conservative principles, or to contact her, visit her website at: http://elisehall.com/
This is Elise’s home! Since birth, Elise has lived in House District 100. Elise grew up in a home that was supported by the success of a local small business. From that experience, Elise understands what it is like to feel the effects of government regulations and tax codes that do not encourage businesses to succeed.
At a young age, Elise served as the Director of Marketing & Advertising for a landscape management company in Oklahoma City and was a key part of the team that increased sales by 20 percent… during a recession. We are living in tough economic times, especially for service-based industries. However, with Elise’s position, she has had to create strict budgets and see successes out of them. It is this time of business experience we need in our State Legislature. During this period of budget and economic challenges, Elise believes we, as Oklahomans, need a strong, conservative business approach to the operation of government. The future of Oklahoma depends on the building up of strong families, business, and education.
Working with TeenPact Leadership Schools in college, Elise taught students in 13 states about how government works and how they can make a difference. Having spent time in other states across our nation, teaching local high school students their state government at their state Capitol, she has seen hands on the condition of other states in our nation. There are a lot of other states in our nation that are worse off economically, socially, and fiscally, but Oklahoma is standing strong. However, we cannot become complacent, it is time to take a stand for conservative, business values in our state. We must make sure that the next generations are able to enjoy the Oklahoma we know and love.
When she ran for the House of Representatives in 2010, Elise led a three-way Republican Primary with 47% of the vote and easily won the runoff, becoming the youngest legislator in Oklahoma history.
Since her election Elise has been interviewed by local and national news outlets, serving as an advocate for conservative policy and reform. In the Legislature, Elise Hall has helped pass more than 20 government modernization bills that will save an estimated $170 million over seven years, and now she’s working to reform the state income tax to spur Oklahoma’s economic growth.
Since being elected in 2010, Elise continues to remain active in her community, across the nation, and graduated with her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in Marketing.
Elise is a member of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene where she also serves on the board.
When the legislature is not in session, Elise and her sister, Molly, own and operate The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, and provides marketing services to individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses.
Elise’s goal is to be of service to her district, the district she has grown up in, her home!
Follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/voteelisehall/
Oklahoma Donald Trump Campaign Information
OKC Campaign Headquarters: 4031 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Hours of Operation: 9:00am-5:00pm
Campaign Phone Number: 405-292-4400
Tulsa Campaign Headquarters: 2816 E. 51st St, Tulsa, OK 74105
Hours of Operation: 10am-2pm, hours will be expanding soon
Campaign Phone Number: 918-992-2900
Donald Trump's Tulsa office is across the hall from the OKGOP office.
Quote of the Week
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them do the same."
-President Ronald Reagan
Political Cartoons of the Week