Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – News from an editor’s notebook: Gov. Mary Fallin marks Veterans Day, leaders of the Sooner State’s two major political parties react to the national election, and newly elected members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives will be sworn in next week. And: Two members of the state Senate have organized events at the Capitol to coincide with World Diabetes Day on Monday (November 14).
On Thursday (November 10) Gov. Fallin released the following statement concerning Veterans Day (Friday, November 11):
“We owe our veterans and active-duty military men and women a huge debt for their courage and sacrifice. They protect our freedoms and keep us safe, and they do so at a great cost to themselves and their families.
“I’m asking all Oklahomans to join me in thanking our veterans for everything they have done for this country and for the people of Oklahoma, and to show them our gratitude not just today but every day. We should never forget their dedication and their service.”
Pam Pollard, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, led a joyful celebration at the ??? on election night. In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations after the election results were clear, Pollard said:
“Tuesday night was a great night for Oklahoma Republicans, but an even better night for our state and our nation. While we enjoy this historic victory, we also look forward to working with our President-elect, our Congressional delegation and our strong majorities in the State House and State Senate to Make America Great Again. We congratulate Secretary Clinton and all Oklahoma Democrats on a hard-fought campaign.”
Trump won Oklahoma with 65 percent of the vote, and became the fourth straight GOP presidential nominee to carry all 77 counties in the state. Only Oklahoma and West Virginia were “all-red” on the election night television screens (Hawaii and Massachusetts were the only two “all-blue” states). Trump garnered a 39-point advantage over his opponent.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, won 979,728 votes, the highest raw vote total in state history. Democrat nominee Mike Workman trailed Lankford by 43 percentage points. Additionally, the state’s five Republicans in Congress easily won new terms.
Republican ranks in the state House – where the party was already overwhelmingly in charge – increased to give the GOP caucus a 76-25 advantage over Democrats, a net gain of four. Further, Senate Republicans had a net gain of three seats in the upper chamber.
Mark Hammons, state chairman of the Democratic party, commented on election night, “2016 was a Trump tornado and some very good Democratic candidates were its casualties. This cycle shows that Oklahoma, as well as the nation, is ready for a change. The establishment elite and political power brokers have failed us all.
“What I fear Oklahomans have not yet realized is that in Oklahoma, the establishment and the political power brokers the Republican Party. The question Oklahomans should ask is: Will the Republican Party heed the winds of change and go in a new direction? Will the Republicans stop favoring the elite and start taking care of grassroots people and their needs?
“The Democratic Party has paid attention. We are going to be the voice of change for the people. And that voice will make the 2018 election picture very different.”
The state House of Representatives press office has announced that returning and new House members will take the official oath of office on Wednesday (November 16) at 11 a.m. The event will take place in the state House chamber, on the fourth floor at the Capitol Building
The release sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations noted: “The 56th Legislature convenes for “Organizational Day” on January 3 to formally elect House leadership and certify the members of the House of Representatives. The House reconvenes on February 6 to begin the legislative session.”
In other Capitol news, World Diabetes Day will be recognized the evening of Monday (Nov. 14). Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, and Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, have organized the event to bring increased attention to the needs of Oklahomans afflicted with varied forms of diabetes.
According to a press release from the state Senate staff, “Worldwide, 415 million adults were living with type 2 diabetes in 2014. The number is expected to increase to an estimated 642 million, or one in ten adults, by the year 2040. Diabetes complications include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness, and death. In 2015, diabetes caused the deaths of five million people.”
Thompson is chairman of the Legislature’s Diabetes Caucus, Simpson serves as vice-chairman.
Thompson’s son suffers from diabetes, while Simpson’s granddaughter died from complications associated with the malady.
More complete information on the World Diabetes Day activities can be found at CapitolBeatOK .
The sponsoring legislators welcome calls from our readers: Sen. Roger Thompson at 405-521-5588 or Sen. Simpson at 405-521-5607.