Tahlequah Daily Press


January 24, 2014

Race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn will be interesting to watch

TAHLEQUAH — Tom Coburn’s announcement that he would be retiring from the U.S. Senate before the end of his term set off a flurry of speculation about his eventual replacement. A few names are already being bandied about, but so far, the field isn’t that impressive.

We can only hope for a good field from which to choose in both primaries – and that partisan politics won’t play as much a role in the ultimate selection as a commitment to what’s best for Oklahoma. Interestingly, that’s a sentiment shared by the Cherokee County residents with whom we’ve discussed the issue – including Dana Rogers and Shannon Grimes, the respective chairs of the local Democratic and Republican parties.

Both Grimes and Rogers wonder about the “ripple effect” if someone already holding an office should decide to try moving up the ladder, but neither is displaying the “my-party-or-nothing” attitude we’ve seen causing gridlock in the current Congress. Fair and accurate representation – and a willingness to go the distance for the home state – are prime concerns. Of course, progressives and conservatives may disagree on what’s “best,” but in general, growing the Oklahoma economy will always be a top concern for both groups. Okies want and need jobs, and we’d like to have jobs that pay a living wage.

The shoes typically associated with that Senate seat are some big ones to fill, as State Rep. Mike Brown pointed out. He wasn’t just talking about Coburn, but rather the distinguished list of Oklahomans from both parties who have held U.S. Senate seats – only 18 total, to date. He wants Coburn’s replacement to be a similarly dynamic character who can get things done for Oklahoma.

Coburn’s track record may be debated along partisan lines, but although he’s generally seen as conservative, he has often crossed into progressive turf. Known as a “maverick” by the media well before the rather fatuous Sarah Palin co-opted the term, Coburn has always been aggressive in his pursuit of government waste. But he didn’t just aim at the traditional Republican entitlement targets like welfare, Medicare and others seen as “robbing the rich to give to the poor.” Indeed, Coburn recognized “corporate welfare” when he saw it, and for the most part, was every bit as critical of those handouts.

In the Daily Press’ website poll, many folks said would like to see someone more “liberal” than Coburn take the seat. But as Grimes pointed out, the labels of “liberal” and “conservative” aren’t nuanced enough to describe today’s mixture of philosophies. Younger voters, ages 18 to 35, tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative – a more libertarian view. Those were likely key respondents to the Press’ website poll, since the younger set seems to be more internet-savvy than their older peers. In the poll, 47 percent wanted someone more liberal than Coburn; 37 percent someone about like him; and only 13 percent wanted someone more conservative.

It will be interesting to watch this race develop. In light of the current Congress, we can be forgiven for being skeptical, but we also must – as we Okies have always done – persevere, and hold out hope.

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    April 18, 2014

  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

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    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

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    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

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    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

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    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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