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OK Blue Notes

The OFFICIAL weblog for the Oklahoma Democratic Party written by our staff and officers. OK Blue Notes provides a quick look inside party activities at the county, state, and national level and takes a positive approach to our mission of electing Democrat

Updated: 2018-03-02T11:20:23.455-06:00




Oklahoma Democratic Party Calls on House Republican Leadership to Come Clean about Ethics Violations OKLAHOMA CITY – Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, called on Speaker Lance Cargill and House Republicans to do the right thing by coming forward with the truth about allegations of illegal campaign contributions and expenditures. Revelations about tens of thousands of dollars being funneled from the accounts of Republican lawmakers into the Oklahoma County Republican Party to assist Republican House candidates all over Oklahoma come at a time when the GOP has been plagued by scandal after scandal. “Despite lip service about family values and morality, the culture of corruption in the Republican Party goes from the State House to the White House. Time and again they have broken the law and violated ethics rules in pursuit of power for the Republican Party, not for the good of Oklahoma or their constituents,” stated Holmes. “It is time they come clean and place statesmanship ahead of partisanship.” Gary Jones, Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, has confirmed repeated reports that the Oklahoma Ethics Commission is investigating House Republicans for diverting checks written to the Oklahoma State Republican Party to the Oklahoma County Republican Party for use by their targeted House candidates. Sources have named House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, and Rep. Trebor Worthen, R-Oklahoma City, chairman of the House political action committee that raises money for candidates, as the targets of this investigation. Even former Republican Speaker of the House Todd Hiett has called on Speaker Cargill to come forward with the truth, "Cargill obviously felt like he was on solid ground. I honestly hope he would come forward with the legal ground that supports that action." “Not only did Cargill and Worthen mislead the voters of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, but they also misled their own legislative members who believed they were legitimately donating to the State Republican Party,” stated Holmes. “I hope Republican Representative David Dank will join me in calling for his House Republican Leadership to step down as he did for other elected officials who are currently under investigation.” Dank announced he will introduce ethics reform legislation similar to legislation introduced previously by Representative Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa, that had been killed in committee by Republican leaders. [...]



Inhofe Rejects Chance to HelpTroops and their Families, Again OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is risking the health and welfare of America’s soldiers and their families when he rejects bipartisan efforts to ensure a fair deployment rotation policy, State Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today. “Senator Inhofe votes consistently against policies that would benefit American soldiers and their families,” Holmes said. “He supports the war but his voting record makes it hard for him to claim that he supports the troops.” Holmes was referring to an amendment before the U.S. Senate last week that Inhofe helped defeat for the second time this year that would establish rotation policies guaranteeing that most troops spend time at home between deployments equal to the duration of their last deployment. Known as the “dwell-time” amendment, it had support of both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate along with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and several veterans groups. “Our men and women in uniform and their families have been pushed to the breaking point by these unreasonable deployments and redeployments,” Holmes said. “Regardless of his stubborn refusal to change course in Iraq after four and one-half years, Inhofe should at the very least, reconsider the toll on Oklahoma parents, children, and troops that the pace of the war is taking on America’s all-volunteer force.” Holmes said that American ground forces are serving unprecedented periods in combat, which is leading to increased mental health issues among the troops and their families and a falling retention rate of experienced combat veterans. Most Army units today deploy for 15 months with 12 months at home. Most Marines have even less time at home. By contrast, British troops enjoy two years at home for every six months in combat. The amendment’s author, Senator Jim Webb, D-VA, had cooperated with the Secretary of Defense to include a 120-day enactment period so the Pentagon could plan and organize the new rotation policy and he exempted Special Operations Forces because of the erratic nature of their mission. “If Senator Inhofe doesn’t want to listen to me and other Oklahomans, he should listen to the Military Officers Association,” Holmes said in reference to a letter by MOAA President which stated: ”If we are not better stewards of our troops and their families in the future than we have been in the recent past, MOAA believes strongly that we will be putting the all-volunteer force at unacceptable risk.” Holmes also noted that Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress clear authority to “make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.” “Congress has mandated military personnel policies in the past, even during war time,” Holmes said. “It’s too easy for war cheerleaders in Congress to say they’re following the advice of the Pentagon. They also have a responsibility to look out for the welfare of our troops and their families.” [...]



"Everyone, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, is entitled to equal justice under the law. The quotation "All men are created equal" is arguably the best-known phrase in any of America's political documents. Therefore, as stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere," stated Kitti Asberry, Vice Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, speaking on the steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol on September 20, 2007 at the Jena 6 Rally.



September 19, 2007 Retired OK Col Katherine ScheirmanTravels To Washington DC to PushFor Iraq Mission Worthy ofTroops Sacrifices Oklahoma City, OK —Democratic Senators and Congressmen joined 40 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, including Dr. Katherine Scheirman, USAF (ret.), an Oklahoma City physician, in Washington DC on Tuesday to discuss Democrats’ ongoing efforts toward a strategy that protects our troops, supports our veterans when they return home and keeps America safer while finding a political solution in Iraq. Dr. Scheirman, who retired in October of 2006 after 20 years of active duty, served as Director of Medical Operations at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where casualties from Iraq are evacuated. She stated, “I enjoyed this tremendous opportunity to meet other military veterans who speak for the troops in Iraq. We delivered their message that we need a responsible redeployment of our troops from Iraq in order to rebuild our military and go after the real Al Qaeda, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our national security is damaged by our occupation of Iraq.” Said Jon Soltz, an Iraq veteran and the Chairman and Co-Founder of Vote Vets: “The President and his supporters continue to present no plan for Iraq. What the President has presented will not move Iraqis towards national reconciliation, or allow us to begin our overextended troops home, to refit and rearm and take the fight to al Qaeda. His plan is nothing but politics, trying to run down the clock and offer some political cover to vulnerable members of his party. This is not supporting the troops, and it is certainly not protecting America.” “President Bush has pushed America's military to the limit,” Senator Dick Durbin said. “By forcing current troop levels until he leaves office, the President fails to acknowledge that lengthy deployments in a war without a strategic plan is not only unrealistic but unfair to our soldiers and their families.” Said Senator Charles Schumer: “Despite the President's military surge and the valiant efforts of American soldiers, Iraq’s central government is weaker than ever, undermined by warring factions who have shown little interest in working together to bring a stable and peaceful government to their country. Without political reconciliation between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, peace cannot be brought to the country no matter how many troops there are. We should be doing all we can to change the course in Iraq.” “Our troops are stretched thin, their equipment is deteriorating, and the patience of our nation is waning,” Senator Patty Murray said. “My colleagues and I are committed to changing the mission in Iraq, giving our troops more time at home, and taking care of our troops when they come home. But we need Republicans to join us. Many have begun to talk the talk. Now they have a chance to walk the walk.” Said Senator Bernie Sanders: “All across the country there are veterans and their families who, as a result of their service to the nation, are experiencing health problems or financial problems. As a nation, we owe it to them to provide them the health care and benefits they have earned. The good news is that the Congress is making great strides in the effort to keep faith with our veterans.” On Iraq, he added, “it is not acceptable that the Bush administration still has no exit strategy.” “It’s an outrage that the President and the Secretary of Defense are talking about vetoing what their own generals recommend,” Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher said. “Secretary Gates says this is about ‘force management.’ I think good management is a military that is rested and ready as opposed to over-stretched and strained. My legislation does this by making sure our troops are getting enough time to rest and retrain between deployments.” For more information: Dr. Katherine Scheirman, 405/209-6101 katherin[...]



The revolt of the generals by: GEORGIE ANNE GEYER Universal Press Syndicate 9/13/2007 WASHINGTON -- This is the week of the generals. "Oh," you say, "you mean the generals who have been serving in Iraq and are now testifying before Congress about our troops staying there?" Nope. I mean the growing "revolt of the generals," as some are calling it, against the war and against the entire war policy. They are, of course, almost all retired generals. Anthony Zinni, Barry McCaffrey, Wesley Clark, Paul Eaton, James Jones, John Batiste and others, in addition to some influential colonels like Ralph Peters. One might wonder why those generals and other officers still in service when the war began didn't speak out a little earlier (as some of these did), when it might have spared us what many knew even then was going to go down as the greatest military disaster in American history. Those who did speak out and continue to do so are brave men, with more important messages for Americans today than any that come from Iraqi commanding Gen. David H. Petraeus. From retired Col. Ralph Peters, writing in USA Today: "The generals point out that they don't control the strategic decisions, that all they can do is to follow orders, that then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wouldn't listen to anyone, that Congress undercut the military, that the media's behavior has been pernicious and that Iraq's political leaders have failed their country." "No matter the mitigating circumstances and political restrictions military leaders face, there is no 'gentleman's C' in warfare. The course is pass-fail." From retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on July 31, 2007: "The U.S. armed forces are in a position of strategic peril. Congress must act." "However, the purpose of my testimony is not to talk about the ongoing tactical operations . . . but instead the disastrous state of America's ground combat forces. Congress has been missing-in-action during the past several years while undebated and misguided strategies were implemented by former secretary Rumsfeld and his team of arrogant and inexperienced civilian associates in the Pentagon. The JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) failed to protect the armed forces from bad judgment and illegal orders. "They have gotten us in a terrible strategic position of vulnerability. The Army is starting to crack under the strain of lack of resources, lack of political support and leadership from both the administration and this Congress, and isolation from the American people who have now walked away from the war." Finally, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, speaking on his book, "The Battle for Peace," in a "Meet the Press" appearance, describes the administration's behavior in the war as ranging from "true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility" to "lying, incompetence and corruption." In short: (1) Our military officer corps has become so bureaucratized, and thus is easily cowed by an obnoxiously dominating and humiliating figure like former secretary Rumsfeld, that we can never expect independent thinking from them if it is going to cost them their pensions. (2) The mindset of American officers is so rigidly conventional that they are simply incapable of understanding the Third World mentalities that they blithely -- and ignorantly -- fight. (3) Our military officers can understand only conventional warfare -- tank battles across the belly of Europe -- even though that threat barely exists in today's world. Think about it. Every war we have fought (and too many of them!) since World War II has involved an "irregular" or guerrilla opponent. Especially Vietnam. Yet our military discovered "counterinsurgency" only three years into the Iraq war. The rather obvious thing to learn from this is, if you cannot do som[...]



Thanks from the Troops
for the Care Packages




College Students Get Needed Help,Inhofe One of Twelve to Vote No! OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe should explain why he chose to protect wealthy bankers when he could have voted for a popular bill to increase financial aid for college students, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today. Inhofe was one of only twelve U.S. Senators who voted against a bill that President Bush says he will sign to expand access to college student loans and grant assistance for thousands of low income students. The expanded assistance is paid for by cutting almost $20 billion in excessive fees to banks and other lenders who make student loans. The Senate approved the measure, 79-12, and it passed the House of Representatives, 292-97. “By making the student loan program about college students instead of the banks, the Democratic Congress has made a big difference for parents and students who struggle to put enough money together to pay for college,” Holmes said. The bill that was sent to the President reduces interest rates on federally backed student loans to poor and middle-income students from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over the next four years. It also increases the maximum Pell grant, which goes to the poorest college students, from $4,310 a year to $5,400 by 2012. It also establishes a loan forgiveness program for college graduates who work for ten years in certain public service professions, such as teaching or nursing. The student assistance package also reduces the federal deficit. By cutting generous subsidies to banks and other lenders that were contracted by the Bush Administration to administer the student loan program, the bill offsets costs of the student loan expansion and dedicates approximately $750 million for deficit reduction. “Inhofe continues to paint himself as a ‘true’ conservative and deficit hawk, but his rhetoric doesn’t match his actions and this vote once again proves it. Inhofe could have voted to reduce the deficit and help average families, but instead he sided with the banking industry,” said Holmes. The latest Federal Election Commission report indicates that Inhofe received $10,000 from the American Bankers Association PAC so far in 2007. “More Oklahoma students will have access to a college education in the years ahead no thanks to Jim Inhofe,” Holmes said. “Oklahomans demand to know when Jim Inhofe is going to stop pandering to special interests and start helping working families.”[...]



Giuliani Continues to DuckResponsibility for Health of 9/11Firefighters and Recovery Workers OKLAHOMA CITY – While he often evokes 9/11 on the campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani has yet to take responsibility for his role in exposing firefighters and recovery workers to debilitating toxic air at Ground Zero. When he campaigns in Oklahoma today, Giuliani should finally answer questions about this serious health issue, which has led to thousands of firefighters and first responders being treated for serious respiratory problems. “The way Rudy Giuliani has bucked responsibility for this serious health issue speaks volumes about his shabby brand of leadership,” said Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “Giuliani should truthfully answer the concerns of the firefighters and 9/11 families who have sacrificed so much.” Records show that Giuliani’s administration was aware of the toxic levels of asbestos in air samples of Ground Zero but he “sidelined” federal agencies with “extensive disaster response experience”. Giuliani's administration assigned clean-up to an unknown city agency and re-opened sections of Manhattan “despite knowing the air was toxic,” “overruling” the city's Department of Environmental Protection which found high levels of asbestos in 27 of 38 tests conducted before Giuliani refuted concerns about the air quality and said the “air quality is safe and acceptable.” [The New York Times, 5/14/07; UPI, 9/7/06; Giuliani, 9/28/01; New York Post, 9/7/06; Daily News, 9/6/06] Thousands of firefighters have developed illnesses and what has become known as World Trade Center cough. “Beyond all doubt” the deaths of at least four responders were “a direct consequence of their service” at the WTC site according to the Daily News. [New York Times, 2/27/07; 5/14/07; Newsday (New York), 1/31/07; Daily News (New York), 7/25/06] Firefighters and 9/11 family members have been angered by Giuliani's lack of accountability. As they noted in a recent video, Giuliani has not taken responsibility for neglecting the needs of city firefighters or his poor decision to put the emergency command center in the shadow of the World Trade Center. [] After Rudy Giuliani recently claimed that he was at Ground Zero “as often, if not more” than the recovery workers at the site, The New York Times proved that claim to be factually inaccurate. The reality is that for the period of September 17 to December 16, 2001, Rudy logged a total of 29 hours at Ground Zero, while many brave rescue and recovery workers worked 12-hour shifts every day. [...]



Congratulations to

Oklahoma County Commissioner

Willa Johnson!


Governor David Walters, County Commissioner Willa Johnson,

First Lady Rhonda Walters and Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth



Rice to AnnounceCandidacy for U.S. SenatePlease join us to kick off his campaign!State Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, will formally announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Rice has scheduled press conferences in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. “I have listened to folks all across this state about their hopes for the future and their opinions about Washington and one thing has become clear to me,” Rice said. “Oklahomans are ready for a change. “They believe Washington is broken and they deserve a clear choice for U.S. Senate in 2008.” Since announcing that he was considering the race earlier this year, Rice has received an outpouring of support from all over the state, including many Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. TULSA DETAILS Who: Sen. Andrew Rice, introduced by State Sen. Sean Burrage (D-Claremore) What: Sen. Rice’s announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate When: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 10:15 am Media must arrive by 10:00 am Event will conclude by 11:00 am Where: Tulsa Press Club – (918) 583-7737 / 415 S. Boston Ave., Tulsa, Okla.Other info: Sen. Rice will be available for questions or media interviews following his statement. OKLAHOMA CITY DETAILSWho: Sen. Andrew Rice, introduced by his father, Hugh Rice and joined by his mother, Cindy Rice, his wife Dr. Apple Newman Rice, and his two sons Noah and ParkerWhat: Sen. Rice’s announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate When: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm Media must arrive by 4:15 pm Where: Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters – (405) 427-3366 / George Krumme Center, 4100 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, Okla. Other info: Sen. Rice will be available for questions or media interviews following his statement[...]



Oklahoma Democratic PartyEmbraces New Veterans FederationChairman Holmes applauds accomplishment and praises veterans for their service to our country. Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Democratic Party State Central Committee officially accepted the by-laws of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee making ODPVC the first federation of Democratic veterans to be officially recognized in Oklahoma. The meeting, held on Saturday, August 18 in Oklahoma City, was host to numerous veterans who came to show their support for the effort. “As a veteran of Vietnam and a Democrat, I believe it is important to remind the brave men and women of our military that Democrats are the only party fighting for military pay increases, fighting to protect our benefits, and fighting to keep VA hospitals open,” said Calvin Rees, who serves as Secretary of the Fifth Congressional District Democrats and as a member of the ODP State Central Committee. Rees presented the by-laws on behalf of the Veterans Committee, which were unanimously accepted. The ODPVC submitted the necessary State By-Laws amendment to make the group an official federation with a voting representative on the ODP State Central Committee. The amendment will be considered at the February 23, 2008 State Convention in Oklahoma City. In the interim, the State Central Committee unanimously passed a motion to seat a non-voting member on the Committee until the ODP By-Laws are amended by the State Convention. “As a veteran, I am proud of the actions the Oklahoma Democratic Party took to recognize the tremendous sacrifice our military personnel and veterans have made for this country,” said Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “For too long Republicans have tried to convince voters we don’t support the troops, but nothing could be further from the truth”. Following the historic move, the Oklahoma Democratic Party hosted a “Support the Troops” event on August 21 to honor and thank our veterans for their service. The event participants prepared 116 care packages for troops deployed from Oklahoma to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Over $1,500 in miscellaneous items were collected from all over the state and enough money was donated to cover all shipping costs. “Sadly, the Bush Administration has continued to push war, while forgetting our troops and veterans,” declared Ivan Holmes, State Democratic Party Chair. “Democrats will continue to fight for the benefits veterans have earned and ensure they get the respect they deserve”. [...]



Oklahoma Democratic Party and Veterans CommitteePrepare to Ship 116 Care Packages to TroopsSuccessful event raises items and money for shipping of boxes to troops deployed from Oklahoma to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Democratic Party and Veterans Committee are proud to announce that Tuesday night’s “Support the Troops” event was a tremendous success. The Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters was host to a standing room only crowd, which included Oklahoma elected officials and many veterans who were honored and thanked for their service. Speakers included Ivan Holmes, Oklahoma Democratic Party State Chair, Representative Richard Morrissette, Vietnam Marine Corps veteran Ron Wasson, Dr. Katherine Scheirman, retired Air Force Colonel and Mike Waggoner, an Iraq veteran and candidate for House District 95. The event was hosted by Wasson and Scheirman, who are the co-chairs of the Oklahoma Democratic Veterans’ Committee. “The Democratic Party is devoted to political and social justice issues that affect our country’s veterans, because it is critical we stand by the brave men and women of our military,” said Dr. Scheirman. “Democrats believe we must keep our promises to veterans by providing them with the benefits they have earned,” declared Ivan Holmes, State Democratic Party Chair. Holmes went on to ask, "what is moral about sending our soldiers into a war based on lies with no plan to bring them home?” State Representative Richard Morrissette also discussed our obligation to provide adequate healthcare, including mental heath, to our military and veterans. “The event was organized to let members of our armed forces know we salute their patriotism and courage” said Dr. Scheirman. “Over $1,500 in miscellaneous items were collected from all over the state and enough money was donated to cover all shipping costs. “ Mike Waggoner, a veteran of the Iraq war, who has been back from deployment for less than two months, told the audience how much these gifts lift the morale of troops by providing a little touch of home to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Volunteers helped create 116 care packages that included prepaid phone cards and comfort items, such as snacks, toiletries, magazines, socks, books and puzzles. Thank you cards expressing gratitude and respect for the troops were included from all those that participated and Democrats across the state. [...]



Oklahoma Democratic Party & Veterans Committee to Host “Support the Troops” EventOklahomans Deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to Receive Care Packages Oklahoma City - The Oklahoma Democratic Party is sponsoring a ‘Support the Troops’ campaign by gathering items from the ‘most wanted’ list that have been requested by our Oklahoma Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who: Democratic Veterans, family members, elected official and Oklahomans who support our military What: Event to pack care boxes for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan Where: George Krumme Center, Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters, 4100 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105 When: Tuesday, August 21st from 6:30p.m. to 8:00p.m. Ron Wasson, Vietnam Marine Corps veteran and Dr. Katherine Scheirman, retired Air Force Colonel, are co-chairs of the Oklahoma Democratic Veteran's Committee, which is devoted to political and social justice issues that affect our country's veterans. They have organized the event to let members of our armed forces know we salute their patriotism and courage. The Oklahoma Democratic Veteran’s Committee will be collecting these items at the Democratic Party Headquarters until August 21st when they will be boxed up and shipped to troops deployed from Oklahoma serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Checks will also be accepted, made out to Oklahoma Democratic Party and earmarked for ‘Support the Troops’ to pay for the cost of shipping. "Many of these troops are living in very severe conditions, often in tents, with temperatures well over 100 degrees. Our gifts will let them know we recognize and appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our nation," said Scheirman. Items on the most wanted list include toiletries, magazines, prepaid phone cards, socks and razors. A complete list can be found on the Oklahoma Democratic Party website at The event will include speakers from the Veterans Committee along with State Rep Richard Morrissette, Iraq war veteran Mike Waggoner and State Party Chair Ivan Holmes. Refreshments will be served and everyone is invited to participate in this important event. [...]



Inhofe, Coburn Oppose Toughest, Most Sweeping Ethics Reform in a Generation Oklahomans Deserve Better from their Elected Officials OKLAHOMA CITY: Oklahoma’s two Republican U.S. Senators joined a tiny fringe minority in opposing a sweeping Congressional ethics reform bill recently, proving once again they are among the most obstructionist Senators in Congress, Oklahoma State Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today. “Experts call this the strongest ethics reform in Congressional history for tightening lobbying rules, imposing regulations on earmarks, banning gifts to Members of Congress and slowing the revolving door to lobbying,” Holmes said. “Of the 535 members of both Houses, Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn were among only 22 to oppose it. It doesn’t matter what their excuses are. The bottom line is they now stand on the side of corruption and cronyism.” Forty-two percent of voters listed corruption in Washington as the most important factor in determining who they voted for in the last election after shocking revelations, such as the Abramoff scandal, criminal indictments, resignations, and the K Street project that rocked the American people’s faith in government. Holmes went on to question Inhofe’s “twisted logic” which blamed Democrats for his no vote. “Jim Inhofe is one of the most partisan Members of Congress,” Holmes said. “Even though these broad ethics reforms had significant bipartisan support, he refused to support them and found a way to blame Democrats in the process.” Holmes noted that Republican Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; Charles Grassley of Iowa; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia all voted for the bill. Even Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted yes, he said. The bill that passed the Senate, 83-14, and the House of Representatives, 411-8, will tighten restrictions on gifts, lobbying and travel for Members of Congress and their staffs. It also imposes new regulations on earmarking funds in legislation and extends the amount of time a Senator has to wait before becoming a lobbyist after leaving office from one to two years. The bill has been sent to the President for his signature. [...]



An Editorial from the Claremore Daily Progress

Published August 07, 2007

Chairman Holmes

For decades Ivan Holmes was a legendary journalism professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. In that capacity, he turned out some of our state’s brightest journalists and taught them to think, challenge authority and seek the truth.

Holmes is now chairman of the Democratic party and is trying to do the same thing in that position. He recently challenged United States Senator Tom Coburn to be consistent. When Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the telephone books of a Washington, D.C., prostitute after Vitter had previously confessed to a similar situation in Louisiana, Coburn was quick to defend him. Coburn took the position that Vitter had made a mistake and should be forgiven.

He may be right in that respect. It depends upon the facts and exactly how often Vitter has engaged in this form of a “mistake.” What Holmes, however, challenged Coburn to do was be consistent. Coburn, who offers himself up as a moral authority, has on a regular basis bashed Democrats for their shortcomings, moral or otherwise. Holmes points out that Coburn ought to do the same thing with Vitter, but Coburn obviously is taking a different approach.

If Coburn wants to show Holmes, he’ll be consistent in the future and offer that same forgiveness when members of either party have their shortcomings. Otherwise, he’ll prove that his time in Washington is showing him to become as partisan as he once said he would never become.



Republicans should listen to their own rhetoric.Ivan Holmes – Chairman, Oklahoma Democratic Party In last Sunday’s editorial, “In the mirror”, the Oklahoman once again dusted off the old argument that Democrats do a poor job of defining themselves, but it just isn’t true. The Oklahoma Democratic Party is a diverse party with many answers to the problems facing America. We believe a free discussion of ideas breeds good public policy and bipartisan governing. It is unfortunate that right-wingers label free discussion as a lack of direction when they should join Democrats in searching for solutions to the problems facing families. Democrats are focused on solving the monumental problems that have piled up under seven years of the Bush administration, while Republicans are struggling with an identity crisis in the midst of the largest national deficit ever, a failing Iraq war policy, skyrocketing healthcare costs, crumbling schools and infrastructure, and a stagnant economy. Republican operatives have been successful in the past by convincing voters that Democrats don’t care about family values or morality, but nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats support policies that lift up the poor and middle class, while Republicans support tax cuts for the rich. Democrats fight for decent wages so working people can provide for their families with dignity, while Republicans seek to guarantee corporations and CEOs rake in record profits. Republicans say they stand for morality, but the rhetoric simply doesn’t match their actions… What is moral about sending our soldiers into a war based on lies with no plan to bring them home?What is moral about making senior citizens choose between life-saving medicine and basic necessities?What is moral about cutting funds from the schools most in need of assistance?What is moral about robbing programs that help families survive to give the rich huge tax cuts?What is moral about neglecting our veterans by closing VA hospitals and slashing benefits in time of war?What is moral about allowing corrupt lobbyist to buy their way into the legislative process? In contrast, Democrats believe we have a moral obligation to provide real solutions to the problems that face families… Democrats believe we must find a reasonable plan to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.Democrats believe everyone, regardless of income, deserves access to health care.Democrats believe every child should have a quality education.Democrats believe everyone is entitled to a living wage and tax cuts should benefit working people.Democrats believe we must support veterans by providing them with the benefits they deserve.Democrats believe in government guided by personal responsibility and accountability. It is time for Democrats to be proud. We must speak these truths to our friends and neighbors. The Democratic Party does have a clear vision for a safer, stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma. Democrats are ready to restore honor and dignity to the White House and put America back on track. [...]



Inhofe, Coburn ChooseTobacco Lobby over Oklahoma's KidsSenators continue to ignore their ownRepublican rhetoric on family values. OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Oklahoma's U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn sided with the tobacco lobby over Oklahoma's children Thursday night when they were among only 31 Senators to oppose an expansion of health insurance coverage to 3 million American kids, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today. "More and more Oklahoma families are struggling to find affordable health care and it should be our moral obligation to see that their children receive quality care," Holmes said. "When it comes to the needs of Oklahoma families and the 140,000 uninsured Oklahoma children, our two Republican Senators sided with big business and special interests." The bipartisan proposal to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) passed the Senate with 68 votes and includes an additional $35 billion over five years. This will preserve coverage for the 6.6 million children currently enrolled and expand coverage to an additional 3.2 million uninsured, low-income American children. The additional cost of the program will be paid for by an increase in the tobacco tax. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has threatened a veto. "If the Senate is called on to override a Presidential veto, I will call on Senators Inhofe and Coburn to reconsider their position and vote next time for Oklahoma's children," Holmes said. The CHIP funding bill is a classic example of how bipartisan cooperation can get results. In order to gain passage, both sides were forced to compromise before a final agreement was reached. A similar bill was passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature earlier this year. The All Kids Act, authored by Senator Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa) and Sen. Brian Crain, (R-Tulsa), increased the investment in our state's health care system which will be matched by increased federal Medicaid dollars. Oklahoma currently ranks 44th among the 50 states in children's access to health care and is tied at 50th with Mississippi for our overall healthcare system according to the Commonwealth Fund, a non-partisan private foundation dedicated to increasing access to healthcare.[...]



Oklahoma Democrats Announce Unprecedented Election Protection Program Oklahoma City, OK -- Democratic Party Chair Ivan Holmes today announced that state Democrats would participate in an unprecedented 50-state election protection program to prepare for the 2008 election. Through the Democratic National Committee’s 50 State Strategy, the DNC Voting Rights Institute and the National Lawyers Council, Democrats across America are conducting an in-depth nationwide survey to collect critical data on the often confusing and complex sets of administrative practices and decisions governing our nation’s elections. With the help of DNC-funded staffers hired through the DNC’s State Party Partnership program, Oklahoma Democrats will work with election officials throughout the State to help identify potential issues so they can be resolved well in advance of the 2008 election. “As America prepares to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I am honored to announce this unparalleled effort to bring the ideals of that landmark law closer to reality,” said Holmes. “When President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, he called right to vote the ‘basic right without which all others are meaningless.’ But 42 years after the signing of this legislation, the right to vote is still under assault. Oklahoma Democrats will not rest until every single eligible Oklahoman can register to vote, cast their ballot without fear of intimidation or harassment, and have confidence that their vote will be counted fairly and accurately.” While election laws are written on the federal and state level, they are administered and interpreted by local officials. This decentralized process can result in variations in how elections are administered supervised and how Americans register to vote, cast their ballots and have their votes counted. The fact that there will be at least 13,000 elections run by localities in 2008 leaves the potential for inconsistencies that could threaten voting rights. Oklahoma Democrats will work with local election officials to answer very specific questions about voter registration, centralized voter databases, voting systems and absentee voting, provisional balloting, polling place procedures and Election Day preparation. Data collected from the survey will be analyzed to determine the needs of each election locality and next steps for strengthening the election process in that locality. “Nothing like this has ever been done before, and could never have been possible without the DNC's 50 State Strategy,” said Holmes. “For the first time, we have staff on the ground who can work intensively with our local election officials to make sure our elections run as smoothly and fairly as possible and that every single Oklahoman who wants to can vote and have their vote counted.” The Democratic Party’s commitment to protecting every American's right to vote stands in stark contrast to what we have seen from Republicans across the country. From restrictive voter ID laws and voter purging to voter intimidation tactics, Republicans have placed a variety of roadblocks that keep countless Americans from exercising their right to vote. Nothing underscores this more than the recent revelations that the Bush Administration has manipulated the mission of the Department of Justice by firing US Attorneys who were unwilling to pursue phony "voter fraud" cases and politicizing the Civil Rights Division. [...]



From Daily Kos:

Rice Prepares Campaign Against Inhofe

Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:37:33 AM PDT


After a few weeks on the road in Oklahoma and a whirlwind of meetings in Washington, D.C., it now seems likely State Senator Andrew Rice will soon be filing papers to challenge U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election.

Since winning election to the State Senate from a diverse, inner-OKC district, Rice has already proven to be a skilled consensus builder who gets results. He offers a stark contrast to the right-wing curmudgeon, Jim Inhofe.

Rice still says he will make a formal announcement after Labor Day, but fundraising prospects have surpassed his expectations and sources close to him say he may be "all in" within the next 10 days. He has received encouragement on a draft Rice site and in meetings throughout the state. We also hear the DSCC now views Rice as a potential upset challenger in the style of a Jim Webb or a Jon Tester.

Rice lost a brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and believes that Bush and Inhofe took their eye off the ball by waging war in Iraq while Al Quaeda rebuilt its global terror network. Inhofe, who once called global warming a "hoax," boasts of being "one of the last true conservatives left in the Senate".

Go to to sign the online petition urging Rice to run.

Visit Doc Hoc's Diary for more on Inhofe.



Oklahoma Democratic Party Calls on Senator Coburn toDenounce Hypocrisy of Republican Senator VitterBlind Allegiance to Republican ColleaguesMust End for the Good of the Nation Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Republican United States Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who recently admitted his phone number appeared in the telephone records of the alleged “D.C. Madam”, Deborah Jeane Palfrey and who has been accused by the New Orleans Times-Picayune of being a client of prostitutes when he was a state legislator in the late 1990s, has found tremendous support from his Republican colleagues over the last two weeks. Even Oklahoma’s own junior Republican, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, who is well-known as one of the most zealous and vocal social conservatives in the U.S. Senate, has been quick to defend Vitter, despite his fondness to champion the importance of so-called Republican ‘family values’. “Have you ever done anything wrong? So have I.” said Senator Coburn, who was seen walking Vitter to and from a Republican Senate luncheon where Vitter first addressed his colleagues on the matter. Coburn went on to add, “I’m happy he’s back at work”. Senator Inhofe has continued his silence on what proves to be another Republican scandal. “It is time for Republicans, like U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, to denounce this immorality and stop blindly supporting Vitter because he is a fellow Republican. Republicans have fooled the American people into believing they care about family values and the sanctity of marriage, yet one after another are identified as the hypocrites they truly are,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Ivan Holmes. What is truly ironic is that disgraced former Republican Congressman Bob Livingston of Louisiana, who was in line to be the next Speaker of the House in 1998, resigned from office after his own sex scandal, which allowed Vitter to become his successor. At the time, Vitter said that Livingston’s resignation was a “very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Prostitution is clearly an illegal act in both Louisiana and the District of Columbia. As a result of Senator Vitter’s disregard for the law and morality, the Oklahoma Democrat Party joins with the Louisiana Democratic Party calling for the end of this hypocrisy by asking Senator Vitter to do the right thing and resign immediately. “We cannot allow our elected officials to break the law and continue to represent the American people. Senator Vitter is not above the law and should not remain in office,” said Holmes. Senator Vitter is not the only Republican elected official to recently face moral controversy. In September 2006, Republican Congressman Mark Foley was caught sending inappropriate emails and instant messages to under-age male congressional pages from 1995-2006. This scandal eventually led to Congressman Foley’s resignation from his congressional seat. To add to the hypocrisy, Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and had previously proposed legislation targeting sexual predators against children. “Here is yet another example of ongoing Republican immorality, corruption and hypocrisy. America cannot afford the scandals of the Bush Administration, along with Republicans in Congress, like Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay, Mark Foley and David Vitter,” declared Holmes. “The recent actions of Republican politicians are una[...]



Oklahoma Democratic Party Praises Democratic Legislators for Standing Up for Consumer and Patient Safety Challenges Republicans to End the False ‘Family Values’ Rhetoric Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – A recent report from the Oklahoma Center for Consumer and Patient Safety, a Tulsa-based non-profit consumer and patient advocacy organization, gave three Democratic lawmakers a perfect rating on their latest legislative report. The scores were based on legislative votes dealing with issues including extending health coverage to uninsured children, assisted living, identity theft, additional safety requirements for children, and legislation that waived liability for volunteer doctors at free health clinics. All votes were tracked during the 2007 legislative session, which ended at the end of May. “We are proud of Senator Mike Morgan from Stillwater, Senator Judy Eason-McIntyre from Tulsa and Representative Jabar Shumate from Tulsa who all received a perfect rating in defense of Oklahoma consumers and patients,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Ivan Holmes, “and we congratulate them for working to protect Oklahoma families.” In addition to the three perfect ratings, the report shows that Senate Democrats had a combined score of 89% compared to the Senate Republicans combined score of 75%. The House Democrats had a combined scored of 88%, compared to the House Republicans combined score of 72%. In the State Senate, nine Democrats scored over 90% and in the House of Representatives, fourteen Democrats scored over 90%, while no Republicans scored over 90% in either chamber. Holmes went on to add, “it is disheartening, yet not surprising, that the highest score of any Republican is still lower than the Democratic average in either house. It just highlights the fact that there are no Republicans in the legislature championing these issues, which are so critical to the future wellbeing of Oklahoma families.” “Oklahomans are tired of the false Republican rhetoric about ‘family values’ when Republican votes prove they don’t care about protecting children or the elderly when it might inconvenience their friends in big business. It is clear that the Democratic Party is the only party that will work to make Oklahoma a safer place for our families,” added Holmes. Democrats in the Senate who voted over 90% of the time to protect consumers and patients were Tom Adelson, Sean Burrage, Mary Easley, Connie Johnson, Debbe Leftwich, Judy Eason McIntyre, Mike Morgan, Jeff Rabon and Andrew Rice. Democrats in the House who voted over 90% of the time to protect consumers and patients were Wallace Collins, Darrell Gilbert, Rebecca Hamilton, Wes Hilliard, Scott Inman, Ryan Kiesel, Al Lindley, Jeannie McDaniel, Richard Morrissette, Bill Nations, Eric Proctor, Paul Roan, Ben Sherrer, and Jabar Shumate. Senator Glenn Coffee, leader of the Senate Republicans, along with five other Republican Senators, received a ‘D’ rating. Republican House Speaker Lance Cargill also received a ‘D’ rating, along with twenty-three other House Republicans. In addition, Republican House member Mike Reynolds received the only ‘F’ grade in the entire legislature. “The Democratic Party will continue to challenge Republicans on these issues, because the citizens of Oklahoma deserve more than lip service from their elected officials. Oklahomans deserve real reform that will make their lives better each day and the Democrats are the only ones working [...]



Oklahoma Democratic Party Challenges Inhofe to Denounce BushWhat about the “moral health of our Nation” now, Senator Inhofe?Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – “I think the final truth is that this President should be held to the very highest of standards,” stated Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who went on to say, “[I] get many, many letters from young children, parents, teachers, and others who are deeply distressed about the President’s behavior and its impact on the moral health of the Nation.” These words from Senator Inhofe would be a fitting response to the July 2, 2007 get out of jail free card given convicted top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, by Republican President George W. Bush, but they are not. Unfortunately, these words were spoken in the closed-door perjury trial of former President Bill Clinton and released into the Congressional Record on February 12, 1999. Libby recently received his conviction and prison sentence after lying about national security matters to a grand jury. Inhofe, Oklahoma’s Senior Republican Senator has remained shockingly silent on the commutation of convicted perjurer Scooter Libby, despite his four page diatribe about the importance of telling the truth, where he added, “I have a hard time reconciling the idea that there might be certain permissible exceptions to telling the truth under oath”.Today, Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, called on Senator Inhofe to take the same stand on the Libby commutation and denounce President Bush for his actions. “Where is your outrage now about the moral health of our nation, Mr. Inhofe? It is time for Senator Inhofe and the other twenty-four Republican Senators who voted to impeach Clinton to stand behind their past rhetoric and denounce this Republican President, who has basically told the American people that his political cronies are above the law, even when it comes to obstructing justice, perjury and endangering the life of former C.I.A. agent.”The Oklahoma Democratic Party has received an outpouring of calls, letter and emails from outraged citizens demanding that Senator Inhofe do the right thing by taking a stand against this corrupt Republican Administration. Senator Inhofe, who is up for re-election in 2008, will be facing a stiff challenge from any of a number of prominent Democrats eyeing the race.According to the Southern Political Report from June 6, 2007, Inhofe could be vulnerable due to several factors, including, “The Democrats re-elected Gov. Brad Henry with ease in 2006, despite this state’s pro-Republican history. And although Inhofe has spent ten years in the Senate, he had a tepid approval rating in SurveyUSA’s last poll in November, 2006, with 46% approving of his performance to 41% who disapproved; he ranked a poor 86th among the 100 senators. Since then, national political trends have not favored the GOP -- indeed, they have gotten worse.”“It is a sad day for Oklahoma when we are stuck with one of the worst U.S. Senators in the nation, especially considering Oklahoma has produced such greats as Robert S. Kerr, David Boren, Mike Monroney, and Fred Harris, which all just happened to be Democrats!”, Holmes concluded.For more information please visit or[...]



Democratic Party Chairman PraisesVictory for Oklahoma Workers Republican Plot to Strip Away the Rightsof Injured Workers is Found Unconstitutional Oklahoma City, Oklahoma -- Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, commended the Oklahoma Supreme Court for striking down a portion of the Republican’s 2005 Workers’ Compensation Law as unconstitutional. The provision stripped away the right of an injured worker to choose their own doctor and left it in the hands of the employer. “The Oklahoma legislature has no right to take away an injured worker’s right to present evidence from their own medical expert regarding the extent of their injuries, so this was the only logical decision the Oklahoma Supreme Court could have made,” said Dr. Holmes. Holmes, who was recently elected to the Democratic Party post, campaigned extensively on the issue of restoring the rights of Oklahoma workers in regard to doctor choice. “Thankfully Oklahoma workers did not have to wait on the Republican legislature to restore their rights, because Republican Speaker Lance Cargill and Republican Senate President Glenn Coffee are far too busy pandering to big corporations and wealthy donors at high-dollar fundraisers.” “When speaking to the Senate Committee about this workers’ compensation bill I asked how many Senators would be willing to give up their right to select their own doctor and not one hand went up. Yet every Republican Senator voted to take away that right for injured workers,” explained Holmes. “It is simply incredible that these Republican legislators would so blatantly ignore the will of Oklahomans, despite polls that show a majority of our citizens believe an injured worker should have the right to select their own doctor if injured on the job. What is also amazing is that the Republican legislators passed the bill knowing it was unconstitutional, because they would rather play partisan games with our legal system than do the real work of helping Oklahomans.” Chairman Holmes expects Republicans to launch another assault on the rights of workers in the coming 2008 legislative session, but warned that he will visit the district of every legislator that sided with the corporations at the detriment of Oklahoma workers. “I will stand in every town square holding press conferences to remind the voters of Oklahoma that Republicans refuse to provide answers to the daily struggles of Oklahomans, like providing affordable healthcare, finding good-paying jobs and building a strong educational system,”concluded Holmes.-- For more information please visit or -- [...]



Oklahoma Democratic PartyAnnounces New Focuson Veterans IssuesAll Democratic Veterans Invited to Attend Meeting Oklahoma City, OK -- Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, is proud to announce the revitalization of the State Party’s Veterans Affairs Committee. Ron Wasson and Dr. Katherine Scheirman, Co-Chairs of the Committee, invite all Democratic Veterans to attend the first planning meeting on Saturday, July 21. The meeting will be held at the Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters in the George Krumme Center, 4100 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City at 10:00 a.m. “With the erosion of military and veteran’s benefits and the loss of life in Iraq under Bush’s Republican Presidency we believe it is now more important than ever to support our military personnel, who have fought so bravely for our country,” said Wasson.Dr. Scheirman went on to add, “We will focus on addressing the needs of our military members and veterans who have been forgotten by the Republicans. In addition, the Veteran’s Committee will be active in helping Democrats get elected in 2008 to restore the promised benefits and ensure the troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan wars get the medical and psychological care they need and have earned”.The Veteran’s Committee is also planning a “Support the Troops” event, which will be held on Tuesday, August 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters. Leading up to the event the ODP will be collecting donations that will be packed and shipped to our troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please drop off your donations at the ODP or contact (405) 427-3366 for more information. You can also visit the ODP’s blog,, for a complete list of requested donations. Dr. Holmes is also proud to announce that Dr. Katherine Scheirman has been named one of eight Senior Advisors for the national organization, The mission of is to elect Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to public office; hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America’s 21st century service members; and fully support our men and women in uniform. “Dr. Scheirman’s appointment gives Oklahoma Democrats a great opportunity to take the lead on desperately needed support for our troops at both the National and State level,” concluded Holmes. -- Please visit for more information. --____________________________________________________________________ Oklahoma Democratic Veterans Affairs CommitteeSupport the Troops Event – 21 August 2007Item List Food items: Drink mix (Kool-Aid, individual packets) Cookies Non-perishable snack foods Brown sugar Hygiene items: Toothbrushes Toothpaste Dental floss Soap/bath gel Shampoo/conditioner Deodorant Baby wipes Feminine hygiene products Towels Emery boards Combs Nail clippers Q-tips Disposable razors and wash cloths Lip balm Miscellaneous: Magazines (sports, hunting, fishing, gaming, news, science, fashion, cooking) Small puzzle books (sudoku, etc) Pre-paid phone cards Socks (white and black) Spray and Wash solid Blank greeting cards Envelopes Stationery, pens Ziploc baggies (Large and small) [...]



“Bush’s Arrogance is a Slap in the Faceof the American People!” Dr. Ivan Holmes, State Democratic Party Chair, Commentson the Commutation of Libby’s Prison Sentence Oklahoma City, OK – Today, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes criticized President Bush for commuting the prison sentence of convicted top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr. “President Bush’s decision to commute the 30-month sentence for Libby illustrates that the President has no respect for the law,” stated Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Ivan Holmes. “President Bush is telling the American people that his political cronies are above the law, even when it comes to obstructing justice, perjury and endangering the life of former C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame. This is the wrong message to send to the country and the world.” After Bush cited his concern for the suffering of the Libby family for his reason to commute the sentence, Holmes commented, “The President’s concern for Libby’s family does not consider the pain, distress and injustice experienced by Valerie Plame and her family. Nor does he consider that Mr. Libby’s actions put many other lives in danger by outing a C.I.A. agent. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect America, yet they can’t even count on their own Commander in Chief.” “Sadly, this action is consistent with a Presidential Administration that will accept no blame for their misdeeds, like starting the war in Iraq based on false information and not being willing to withdraw our troops who are truly paying the price for Bush’s arrogance.” “America can no longer afford the corruption that has riddled this presidency over the last seven years. Thankfully the Democrats have a strong field of candidates ready to restore honor and dignity to the White House and put America back on track.” “By the time Bush leaves office he will have cemented his place in history as one of the worst presidents ever,” Holmes concluded. -- ODP -- [...]