Principle With Policy: OCPAC Legislative Awards
By: John Michener
"What good does it doâ€¦if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions?â€¦ Show me your faith without any actions, and I will show you my faith by my actionsâ€¦ For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead" (James 2:14-26 ISV).
Most of us readily recognize these words from the brother of Jesus. If only our politicians understood them. Elected officials and candidates for office eagerly trumpet their principles. "Faith! Family! Freedom!" they cry, but what policies do they propose? How do they vote? Show me your principle by your policy. For principle without corresponding policy is dead.
The best way to tell how well a legislator's policy corresponds to his espoused principles is to look at the Oklahoma Conservative Index (Index). This comprehensive scorecard rates how well our legislators implement principles of good government. It is created by this newspaper in conjunction with the Oklahoma Conservative PAC (OCPAC). See more about the Index in the center section of this edition.
On July 13 members of OCPAC debated and then voted on which legislators should receive special awards for their principled policy and leadership. These legislators will be formally recognized and presented with their awards at the annual OCPAC Awards Banquet on Friday, February 10, 2017. In most cases the runner-up will also receive an award. Here are the winners of OCPAC's 2016 legislative awards:
Senate Legislator of the Year: Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow). Sen. Dahm scored a perfect 100 on the Index. Beyond simply voting the principled way when given the opportunity, he authored and championed many of the bills on and off the Index which supported conservative values. As Senate Majority Whip, he rallied the other conservatives to each cause and negotiated tirelessly with Senate leadership and less conservative senators to gain support for property rights, States' rights, gun rights, and the right to life. This is our most prestigious award in the Senate.
The runner-up is Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro) who scored 93 on the Index. For two consecutive years his score has been 90 or better, and our members have been pleased with his conservative leadership.
Senate Freshman of the Year: Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow). Sen. Silk scored 90 on the Index. In his second year as a freshman, and without an official leadership position, Sen. Silk made his voice heard on issues such as life, federal tyranny, and parental rights. Leadership is more than a position; it is a character quality, and OCPAC applauds Sen. Silk's leadership.
Senate RINO of the Year: Ervin Yen (R-OKC). Sen. Yen scored 10 on the Index. That is not a typo. One wonders how he got elected and why the State GOP does not revoke his party membership. His Index score is the lowest in the entire Senate. Every Democrat scored higher, by an average of 26 points. Some RINOs (Republican In Name Only) are simply ignorant or gullible. They repeatedly vote the wrong way because they do not know any better and are easily persuaded to go along with liberal leadership. But Yen is neither of these. He is dangerous because of his big-government and collectivist beliefs and his willingness to implement them in policy. In 2016 he fought hard to force parents to vaccinate their children, and he openly admitted in a committee hearing that he would go after religious exemptions. Yen is an enemy of liberty on every front.
The runner-up is Sen. Jack Fry (R-Midwest City) with an Index score of 33. His liberal ideology is evidenced by his votes for more debt, more police surveillance, unlawful seizure of private data, and more regulations on small businesses.
House Legislator of the Year: David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow). Rep. Brumbaugh scored 100 on the Index and earned OCPAC's highest award in the House. Beyond his tough votes under pressure, he also spent many late nights building a coalition committed to closing every abortion mill in our state. This was not a popular project with House and Senate Leadership; without Rep. Brumbaugh's tenacious shepherding of the legislation at every step, it would not have made it to a vote on the House floor.
The runner-up is Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie). Rep. Murphey's steadfast commitment to conservative principles in policy is the standard in the House. After ten years of service, his lifetime average on the Index is still 100.
House Freshman of the Year: Chuck Strohm (R-Jenks). Rep. Strohm scored 93 on the Index and several times this year debated passionately on the House floor in favor of bills to defend property rights and transparency in government. His bill to force internet publication of school district finances was used on this year's Index.
The runner-up is Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville). With an Index score of 80, Rep. Dunlap showed great understanding of conservative principles and how they are manifested or come under attack in policy proposals.
House RINO of the Year: Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang). Rep. Osborn scored 23 on the Index. She actively advanced anti-liberty and anti-free-market policies. Osborn was a vocal advocate of complying with the federal REAL ID Act, an unconstitutional act which violates state sovereignty and grows the police and surveillance state. Right after the primary filing date passed, and after seeing that she had no primary opponent, Osborn came out in favor of the governor's budget plan which featured a whopping 150% tax increase on cigarettes.
The runner-up, another big spender on immoral and unlawful projects, is Rep. Mike Christian (R-OKC) who scored only 21 on the Index.
Wilberforce Champion of Life: Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow). William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was a member of the British Parliament and is famous for his life-long campaign to abolish the slave trade. Year after year he introduced legislation to abolish slavery, even when he knew it was not popular and would not help his political career.
Freshman Senator Joseph Silk took a similar stance this year when he authored Senate Bill 1118 which would have put the practice of abortion back under the state's murder statutes. Sen. Silk knew that in so doing he would likely be forfeiting future positions of power. By taking the morally and constitutionally correct position that the federal government and U.S. Supreme Court are wrong on abortion, Sen. Silk has created enemies in the Oklahoma Senate. We praise Sen. Silk for matching policy to principle, regardless of the opposition or personal risk.
Braveheart Champion of Liberty: Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate). William Wallace is famous for his leadership in the Wars of Scottish Independence. His willingness to sacrifice everything for liberty was portrayed in the film Braveheart.
Senator Josh Brecheen holds the view that Washington is an oppressive overlord. At every turn he is looking for a way to fight against federal tyranny and restore Oklahoma sovereignty. He fought to put his principles into policy when it came to federal education standards and federal trans-gender bathroom mandates. At the local level, he fought the tyranny of our own overlord, Gov. Mary Fallin. Fallin vetoed legislation protecting parental rights regarding vaccination; she vetoed legislation allowing farmers to hunt destructive wild hogs on their own property; and she vetoed legislation which would have torn down all Oklahoma altars of child sacrifice. Sen. Brecheen was a key leader in the coalition which attempted to override the governor and her liberal lackeys in the Senate.
Davy Crockett Champion of Property: Kyle Loveless (R-OKC, Mustang). Davy Crockett was a member of the Tennessee Legislature and the U.S. Congress. He became famous for defending property from the money-hungry hands of government-see his speech "Not Yours to Give." He died in defense of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution.
Senator Kyle Loveless has realized that government at every level has means and methods of stealing private property. He has worked tirelessly over the last year to educate the public about the abuses of civil asset forfeiture, and he proposed legislation to protect private property from seizure by law enforcement without due process. His efforts appear to have been thwarted by law enforcement unions and lobbyists who exerted pressure on Senate leadership, but, Sen. Loveless remained vocal and his efforts led to some moderate reforms being heard in the Legislature. We appreciate Sen. Loveless's Crockett-like tenacity to defend our property.
Korczak Defender of Individual Rights: Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond), Rep. Mike Ritz (R-Broken Arrow), Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman), Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow). Janusz Korczak was an author of children's stories, a pediatrician, and the headmaster of an orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland. When the Nazis moved the orphans to the Treblinka extermination camp, Korczak had been offered sanctuary, but he turned it down repeatedly, saying that he could not abandon his children. Attempting to provide comfort and protection from the state until the very end, Korczak boarded the train with about two hundred of his children and was never seen again.
Statists and collectivists are working at every level to take away parental rights, destroy local sovereignty, and control populations in every meaningful way. One of the greatest manifestations of these efforts is the move toward mandatory vaccination. Although Sen. Yen's vaccine mandate was defeated, grassroots activists wanted to go on offense by attempting to secure in Oklahoma law parental rights to informed consent.
Rep. Grau agreed to carry the Parental Rights Immunization Act for the Oklahomans for Vaccine and Health Choice PAC. Rep. Ritz (an OBGYN doctor) made sure the bill was heard in his House committee. Sen. Standridge (a pharmacist who had already refused to hear Yen's tyrannical bill), readily agreed to hear the Parental Rights bill in his Senate committee. Sen. Dahm co-authored the bill in the Senate and secured the votes necessary for passage. These legislators fought to empower parents to defend (like Korczak) their children from the deadly overreach of state power.
Charlie's Overall Conservative award: Every legislator who has completed at least two years of service and has a lifetime average of 90 or better on the Index receives the Charlie's Overall Conservative award. This award recognizes the hard work it takes to be consistently conservative, and it is named in honor of OCPAC founder Charlie Meadows who always wears overalls.
Congratulations to Senators Anthony Sykes (R-Moore) and Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow). Congratulations to Representatives Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), Dan Fisher (R-El Reno), Sally Kern (R-OKC), David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow), Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore), Chuck Strohm (R-Jenks), and Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville.
John Michener is the Director of Oklahomans United for Life (OUL) and the President of Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC).
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