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Capital City: Stitt heads to Lawton ahead of inauguration

Good Thursday morning.

Today: Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt is hosting an inauguration bash tonight in Lawton, complete with a barbecue dinner and country music concert. 

I'll be in Lawton covering the event and recording this week's episode of the Political State podcast, which will post on Friday. Check my Twitter for updates and video from the event. 

The Stitt transition office said holding an event in Lawton is a way to honor rural Oklahoma, which overwhelmingly supported Stitt in the general election.

"People here are really appreciative of that," said state Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton, who was elected to office last year.

GOV SHUTDOWN CONTINUES ... The partial federal government shutdown continues into its 20th day as the president and Democrats remain at odds over a boarder wall. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said on CNN Wednesday that a barrier is needed in some places along the border, but in other areas technology is crucial, not a wall. That's different than the way Trump and his strongest supporters, such as Sen. Jim Inhofe, have discussed border security.

The Oklahoman's Justin Wingerter has a good breakdown of the tone Oklahoma's delegation has taken on the issue, including a breakdown of events in the newsroom's video studio, which is worth a watch

Banking board approves charter for Stitt's company ... The Oklahoma Banking Board, which includes members appointed by the governor, has approved a bank charter application for the Jenks-based mortgage company founded by Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt. The bank charter application is contingent on federal approval and the Banking Board has asked the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to be the lead agency during all examinations of the bank while Stitt is governor.

Rep. Kendra Horn locates office in OKC ...  According to her House website her district office is in downtown Oklahoma City, at 400 N. Walker. Horn also launched her official Twitter @RepKendraHorn. Yesterday she posted her first tweet: "Hello Twitter! I am excited to be representing the people of the 5th District of Oklahoma!"

In addition to tweeting on Wednesday, Horn, a Democrat, voted in favor of allowing the House to join Texas v. United States in defense of the Affordable Care Act. (Oklahoma's four other Republican members voted against it.)

State tax collections show strong growth ... Bolstered by tax increases and a strong economy, the Oklahoma state treasury took in about $1.5 billion more in 2018 than it did the previous calendar year, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced Wednesday.

The state set a new calendar year record by collecting nearly $13 billion in gross receipts in 2018, an increase of $1.52 billion, or 13.2 percent, over the previous calendar year.

“Oklahoma's economy has been performing admirably,” McDaniel said. “Gross receipts have improved significantly, while unemployment remains low. These and other economic indicators point to a favorable outlook for the state, but could be restrained by the downturn in energy prices, global trade uncertainty, and stock market volatility.”

Elections were held in several communities on Tuesday. Voters in Poteau approved a $14.8 million school bond and voters in the City of Duncan approved an extension for a tax used for economic development. Here's a complete list of election results. 

Also on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Oklahoma County Election Board's decision to remove Steve Hunt  from next month's Oklahoma City Council primary election ballot. (The voter registration deadline is Jan. 18 for the Oklahoma City Council primary election on Feb. 12 in Wards 2, 5, 6 and 8.)

Pruitt donations revealed ... A dark-money group supporting Scott Pruitt's confirmation as EPA administrator raised nearly a half-million dollars from at least one oil company and other donors who did not have to identify themselves, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The dark-money group also got involved in Oklahoma politics following Pruitt's confirmation, airing an attack ad targeting Drew Edmondson, the Democratic candidate in last year's election for governor.

More political news ...

-This year, a record number of women lawmakers entered the state capitol: 32 compared to last year's 21, reports KJRH

- Former Rep. Josh Cockroft and political communication specialist Will Gattenby, who most recently worked for Mick Cornett's gubernatorial campaign, are joining the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) as Senior Director of Government Affairs and Senior Director of Membership and Communications, respectively.

-Michael Teague, Oklahoma's outgoing secretary of energy and environment, will start a new job Feb. 1 as an adviser at Denver-based Adamantine Energy.

Thanks for reading. Got questions, suggestions or complaints? Email me at bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Related Photos
Oklahoma Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt talks with Oklahoman political reporter Ben Felder in the studios of NewsOK Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018. Stitt, Tulsa, defeated Democrat Ed Edmondson in Tuesday's general election. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt talks with Oklahoman political reporter Ben Felder in the studios of NewsOK Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018. Stitt, Tulsa, defeated Democrat Ed Edmondson in Tuesday's general election. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e58b44f53e1165567cd1e29c281245a2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt talks with Oklahoman political reporter Ben Felder in the studios of NewsOK Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018. Stitt, Tulsa, defeated Democrat Ed Edmondson in Tuesday's general election. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt talks with Oklahoman political reporter Ben Felder in the studios of NewsOK Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018. Stitt, Tulsa, defeated Democrat Ed Edmondson in Tuesday's general election. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt talks with Oklahoman political reporter Ben Felder in the studios of NewsOK Wednesday morning, Nov. 7, 2018. Stitt, Tulsa, defeated Democrat Ed Edmondson in Tuesday's general election. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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