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Sunday, July 5th, 2020Last Update: Thursday, June 25th, 2020 07:51:39 AM

From the General Manager

By: Ron McWhirter

On August 6, I was present at the Oklahoma Capitol to witness the ceremonial signing of bills into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Three of the four legislators who scored a perfect 100 percent on this year’s Oklahoma Conservative Index, published by the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper, were there for the signing of bills they had authored. I was privileged to meet with those legislators. Thanks to Rep. Tom Gann (R-Inola), and Senators Mark Allen (R-Spiro) and Nathan Dahn (R-Broken Arrow), for their work in the Legislature to advance conservatism.

Oklahoma Constitution editor, Steve Byas, and I were honored to receive awards at an appreciation dinner on August 23, recognizing the 40th Anniversary of the newspaper. The newspaper was founded in 1979. Addressing the gathering, we told the story of how the newspaper came into existence and the importance of our mission.

We believe the most important product of this publication is our annual Oklahoma Conservative Index which rates members of the Oklahoma Legislature. We published our first score card in the summer of 1979, and in this year’s summer edition of the newspaper, we presented the 41st edition of the ratings. Prior to initiating the Oklahoma Conservative Index, many legislators could claim to be a conservative, but there was no objective measure to determine if that was true. We base our ratings on ten key bills that were voted on by the legislators in the last legislative session. We explain the bills and publish how each legislator voted on each of the ten bills. You can evaluate how you would have voted, and see if your legislator represented your views. As these legislators run for reelection, or perhaps for a higher office, you can evaluate if they deserve your vote.

The Master of Ceremonies at the event was former State Representative Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie). Rep. Murphey was term-limited last year after serving 12 years in the Oklahoma Legislature, and received a 100 percent score on the Oklahoma Conservative Index for each year he served.

Another former legislator, and a member of our Top Conservative List, was a speaker at the dinner. Bill Graves (R-Oklahoma City) served 24 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he had the highest-ranking score on the Oklahoma Conservative Index more times than any other legislator. He retired from the Legislature in 2004, and was later elected a District Judge and served 12 years in that position. He is also the author of several books. He was already serving in the Legislature when the newspaper was founded, and contributed a column to our first edition of the newspaper.

Another speaker at the event was John Dwyer. The former newspaper publisher and radio host, has authored numerous books on history, including: The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People. He is also a longtime Adjunct Professor of History and Ethics at Southern Nazarene University.

The keynote speaker was Alex Newman, who is an international journalist and author. He currently serves as a foreign correspondent for The New American magazine and is a contributing author for the World News Daily. He has coauthored two books, including Crimes of the Educators. His address, “Rescuing the Children,” centered on the plot to dumb down American children using the government schools.

Steve and I were honored to receive awards for our roles with the newspaper. Other awards were also presented, including one to Don Spencer, president of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A). The most significant accomplishment of OK2A was spearheading the passage and signing by the governor of House Bill 2597, providing for the constitutional carry of firearms without a government license. It was also one of the ten bills included in this year’s Oklahoma Conservative Index.

The Oklahoma Constitution Newspaper 40th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner was sponsored by The Oklahoma Chapters of The John Birch Society. Although the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper is not affiliated with the JBS, we thank them for organizing and hosting the event.

Ron McWhirter is one of the founders of the OKLAHOMA CONSTITUTION newspaper and serves as General Manager. You may contact him at okconsti@aol.com

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