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Oklahoma ScissorTales: Horn well-fortified for 2020

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U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn
U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, in office since January, has already amassed a considerable sum to help her try to retain the 5th District congressional seat in 2020.

Horn, D-Oklahoma City, collected $378,000 during the first quarter of this year, which was more than any member of Oklahoma’s seven-person delegation, and she ended the quarter with about $365,000 on hand. Her campaign says she received nearly 2,000 contributions, more than half of those from first-time donors and 62 percent from women.

The 5th District is among 55 seats being targeted in 2020 by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The district, which includes Seminole and Pottawatomie counties and much of Oklahoma County, had been held by the GOP for more than 40 years before Horn upset two-term Rep. Steve Russell in November.

In his latest Sooner Survey, Republican pollster Pat McFerron noted that Oklahoma voters’ dislike of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have a bearing in the 5th District. More voters (58%) have a highly unfavorable view of Pelosi than they do a strongly favorable view of President Trump (44%). In the 5th District, Pelosi’s favorable rating is 30% and her unfavorable is 62%.

McFerron says to expect a “full battle” for the seat. “The more nationalized this contest becomes, the more it will lean Republican,” he said. Horn’s early fundraising shows she should be well-fortified for that challenge.

Bill is a ‘step’ in the right direction

The Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt put patients first with their approval of a bill reforming “step therapy” procedures. Currently, patients may be required to try (and fail) on medications chosen by their insurance companies before coverage is given for drugs prescribed by a doctor or health care provider. This can be highly problematic for patients with serious or chronic illnesses. Changes are included in Senate Bill 509 by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa (Reps. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, and Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City backed a companion bill in the House). The head of the Epilepsy Foundation of Oklahoma, Jenniafer Walters, notes that chronic illnesses are plenty challenging “without having to jump through unnecessary hoops. This bill will eliminate complicated and unnecessary steps that are too often placed in a patient’s path.” Stitt signed SB 509 this week after it was approved 43-0 in the Senate and 94-0 in the House.

Convention & Visitors Bureau is staying busy

A recent article from the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber highlighted the continued increase in the city’s tourism. Hotel revenue increased by 8.6 percent during the last fiscal year, compared with the prior year, and Oklahoma City exceeded $15 million in total hotel room tax for the first time. The Convention & Visitors Bureau brought visitors who tallied 4.1 million hotel room nights and helped provide $13.375 million in sales tax revenue. “National associations and meeting planners have taken notice of Oklahoma City more than ever before, thanks to the many new projects and quality-of-life improvements made,” said Mike Carrier, CVB president. That only figures to continue when the city opens its new convention center and companion 605-room hotel in 2020.

Bill is likely to end up costing state

The House this week sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt a bill aimed at reducing abortions in Oklahoma. The bill would require doctors to tell patients that medically induced abortions may be reversible. Under Senate Bill 614, doctors who prescribe mifepristone (the “abortion pill”) would have to post signage explaining how patients can reverse the abortion, and they would have to tell women at least 72 hours before an appointment about the possibility of reversing a medically induced abortion. If not, they could face felony charges. We share many Oklahoma lawmakers’ strong objections to abortion. However, this bill is like a number of others through the years that were challenged in court and ultimately overturned, with taxpayers picking up the tab.

On policy, Buttigieg like most Democratic hopefuls

Pete Buttigieg, two-term Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is riding high as he begins his run for president. Buttigieg is polling third in New Hampshire and Iowa, and he raised $7 million during the first quarter of this year. After Buttigieg appeared last month on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough tweeted that the only comparable viewer reaction was to an appearance by Barack Obama. Buttigieg has said he wants to do away with the “undemocratic” Electoral College and expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 15. He has backed the Green New Deal and a gradual move to a single-payer health care system. Capitalism is fine, he says, “as long as there’s a strong rule of law around it.” Buttigieg’s youth (he’s 37) sets him apart from most of the crowded Democratic field, as does his sexual orientation (he’s gay). Yet many of his policies are wholly indistinguishable.

Cuomo does right by New York’s charter schools

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policies generally line up with those of his fellow progressive Democrats — see his ban on hydraulic fracturing as just one example. To his credit, however, Cuomo parts company on the issue of charter schools. He is urging the legislature to back a law that would allow more charter schools to open in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio sides with union leaders who oppose charters — even though these schools benefit minority groups that Democrats usually covet. Ray Domanico, director of education policy at the conservative Manhattan Institute, notes that students in the city’s charter schools are 91 percent black or Hispanic and 80 percent low-income. On the latest state tests, Domanico says, those students outperformed the average of all other students in New York state by 13 points in English Language Arts and 16 points in math. Kudos to Cuomo for championing their cause.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›

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