Archives for posts with tag: Andy Fugate

My State Congressional Representative, Andy Fugate https://www.andyfugate.com/about, shared a Tulsa newspaper editorial about our state having the happy condition of a revenue excess in closing out the books for the year. The funds go into the rainy day emergency fund.

The Tulsa paper thought it necessary to deride our “red” legislature and governor, so I decided not to link it. Negativity is to be avoided, and your favored search engine will make it easy to find if you wish, but I’m also irked by their use of intrusive ads and their refusal to allow reading with the ad-blocking software enabled.

Governor Stitt asserted he wants the rainy day fund to stand at more than twice its current level. The Tulsa editors thought it proper to deride the amount and pretend if a little more is good, why not a lot more? Hardly a helpful observation.

There was a ballot initiative recently voted down that was designed to set aside a small percentage of the budget for a few years, allowing the set-aside to accumulate, and with fiscally-conservative investment, the amount would grow beyond the amounts set aside. It would be like an endowment or retirement account, with the notion the State could eventually “retire” at least some of the taxes. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, naysayers decried it, and it failed to pass.

I’m not sure why. It was likely to require 20 to 25 years to become a significant portion of the state government’s revenue, and after that long, tax reductions would be easy conversations. Alarmism and emotional appeals would be hard to make, and fiscal considerations could be made on merit. The taxes might not then go down because the majority might prefer the extra services, but at least the argument would be on merit, not fear. In the meantime, it would have mattered almost nothing. The set-aside was small, and with a year like this one, we’d have looked rather sagacious. Oh well. Maybe it will come up again. Maybe we will be wiser next time. For now, we have editors whining we are not taxed enough.

I’m not a fan of a significant rainy day fund. We need very little sustained surplus for unforeseen shortfalls. We could, however, use excess funds to set up self-sustainment for programs.

Given the nature of politics and other factors influencing state government spending and desires for programs, just having a large endowment for funding the government would just lead to more spending and more waste (and more intrusion into everyday lives of Oklahomans).

I suspect we could set up endowments for programs, though. We could structure the investment restrictions and funding and spending requirements to incentivize the program directors to wisely and frugally run the endowments to the best advantage of their program.

Considering Oklahoma’s highways and toll roads could be instructive. It is a system that has its drawbacks, and plenty of detractors, but overall, the system is relatively efficient, and the toll revenues relieve some burden from the budgets. The tolls are not set up as an endowment but as a supplement to the highways moneys. It isn’t a strong analogy, but we can look at it and how other such things work (and failures, too), and we could lower the tax burden on our children and grandchildren without depriving them of important government services.

In general, I want less government. A set of invested endowments probably would increase government more than I’d like. Government is part of the problem, but taxes are most of the problem. Taxation is theft, and one simply doesn’t get sustainable good moral results from inherently immoral acts like forcing people to relinquish honestly earned income for services they generally don’t want and seldom use.

I’m willing to risk a bit more government if it comes with less taxes.

Regarding wanting a hefty state budget reserve, I must point out that Governor Stitt ran a rather successful business. I think it unwise to dismiss his financial advice. I’m not inclined to accept it this time, but I’ll give reasons for that, not derision.

I live in Oklahoma House District 94.

Our district is fully within Oklahoma County, and Del City is one-third, with Oklahoma City encompassing the remainder. Most of us consider ourselves Mid-Del, I suppose, though folks south of I-240 might think of themselves more as a part of Moore.

Anyway, there are about 37,000 of us in the district in general. That, of course, includes children and others not eligible to vote, but 19,238 of us were registered as of 01 November 2018 (for the general midterm election). Thus, 52% of residents (whom the Congresscritter is to represent), can vote.

I’m guessing, since my half-hearted effort to look it up revealed nothing; if there are 10,000 residents under 18, then our registered percentage is roughly 72%. Seems decent, but I’m not looking up anything to make a comparison.

8,634 D; 6,707 R; 108 L; 3,789 I (registered voters in our district)
44.88%; 34.86%; 0.56%; 19.70% (percentage of registered voters)

It is sad that so many want to identify with the overtly self-serving major parties. It is sad that so few are willing to identify with the party that stands for the liberty of the people and restrictions on the government. It is not surprising many Okies identify as independent. Most of us are, but politics is politics. Tribalism is instinctive, but we rational and educated adults should be able to do better.

ABSENTEE MAIL EARLY VOTING ELECTION DAY TOTAL
JASON SANSONE (REP) 279 118 3458 3855 39.61%
ANDY FUGATE (DEM) 488 317 5072 5877 60.39%
Total 767 435 8530 9732

The table above is cut-paste from the State Election Board’s official results. Roughly 43% of the district registered voters he represents voted for Andy. Less than a third (31%) of all residents he represents voted for him. I suspect most of the Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents, and some minority of Democrats feel unrepresented (at least at the gut level). That is our system. I do hope it helps Andy keep perspective and a sense of humility.

I’ve friended Andy on Facebook. I have higher hopes for him than our prior representative. We shall see. Still, I honestly suspect that even if Andy treats nearly all his representees with respect and reasonable attention, he is still going to be voicing positions that most of us do not agree with, at least on most subjects. (The situation is similar or reversed in most districts.) Again, that is our system.

How does this situation qualify as a representative democracy?

Our system is broken. It isn’t working. Leaving our system as-is proves we are lobotomized sheep, willing to be fleeced by the political bosses.

By the way, I’d register Libertarian, but I just can’t accept the party system in general. I cannot condone the party system by registering in one of the parties. Thus, I have my registration as an independent.

That causes restrictions for votes. The party system restricts voters in primaries and other “party” elections. Not being an active member in good standing of one of the parties results in one being shut out from most of the political process. Again, a broken part of our system. It is broken and unjustifiable. It needs to be fixed.

The parties get to set their own voting rules for the “party” elections, and they change often. Generally, they won’t let voters registered with a different party to vote on their ballot, but sometimes they allow those registered as independents.

Ideally, our representatives study the legislative issues that arise in the legislature, and, hopefully, they consider our suggestions, weigh alternatives and arguments for and against, and they raise these issues in the legislature for us. Ideally, they spend most of their time improving existing laws, repealing bad laws, and improving the liberty of the citizenry while reining in and restricting the long arm of the law to infringe on the liberty of the citizenry.

Party politics and rules encumber the process and restrict our representatives, especially when in the minority party, but the idea is they take our input, add in all they can learn, and make the best decision they are capable of. If Andy does that, I’ll be satisfied. I’ll feel I’m represented.

Party politics stand in the way, especially for aspiring pols. Scott Inman is a good example. I supported his opponent each of the seven elections he ran for. (Eight if you count his abortive run for OK Governor.) Despite opposing him, I found him to be a great guy, and I liked him. There was even an off-year when I got so annoyed at the OKGOP that I told Scott I was going to support him. Apparently, I had bad timing. That is when Scott stopped listening to me. He became a grandstander, continuously beating the drum for the Democratic Party, continuously denigrating, deriding, and accusing all who weren’t in line with his stances (which seemed fully aligned with DNC policy). Scott went so far as to unfriend me, and block me, on Facebook, deleting many of my comments on his page. (I am (and was) a legal and voting resident of his district. I had known him (as a politician) since 2003, actively (generally cordially) engaging him often.)

It didn’t take me long to realize Scott was first a politician. It truly disappointed me as he more and more routinely threw his constituents under the bus in order to advance his standing in Democratic Party politics. He had his sights set on the highest ranks of Democratic politics and office. His whole strategy of campaigning his last four years in office (and make no mistake, it was a 24/7 campaign from just after the 2014 elections) were aimed at the Oklahoma Governorship, followed by a jump to national politics in the course of time.

Perhaps my opinion is colored by his treatment of me and so much of what I try to stand for. Regardless, I see him as a quintessential example of what is wrong with US politics and what our representative democracy has degenerated to. Scott seemed to represent the district honestly his first four years. He grew more vocal and more confrontational as he became more prominent in the Democratic Party, both in Oklahoma and nationally. He proved to be corrupted by his power. He ruined his life and family because of it. He failed to represent his professed Catholic faith. He did not represent the people of District 94 in any reasonable and honest way his last four years in office, especially for those who are not staunchly aligned with the DNC.

Following up, on 06 November, shortly after the polls closed, I walked over to our precinct to review the vote-tally that is always posted in the window by the door. Two fellows were eagerly helping the pole official complete the task. (I mean that complementarily; they were being appropriately helpful.) They quickly took a couple of notes and snapped a couple of photos, and they were hurrying on (obviously collecting information for a campaign or party). And, I recognized the voice of Scott Inman. As he hurried off, I queried. His associate heard me and responded in the affirmative. That caught Scott’s attention, and he waved and shouted, “Good to see you,” as he hurried to their vehicle. I asked how life was going, and he replied, “Quite well, thank you, but we must hurry to the next precinct.” Fair enough, but no, his life isn’t going well at all by any standard I hold. Oh well. Not my business. Not my call. Regardless, it shocked me that I would see him in our district. After his fall from grace, Scott reportedly moved to Tulsa as a banking executive. (Tulsa World) I still cannot fathom why he was collecting poll results in his old district so far from Tulsa. I assume his disgrace has been forgotten by the Democratic Party. I won’t be surprised if I start seeing his name in the news again.

I’ve waxed too verbose. I’ve vented, but I mean it. I’ll never succeed in politics if I unwisely decide to try, because I’m too open, too transparent. I have no intention of changing that. I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut (face to face), but when asked, I’m going to be as clear, and honest, and open as I can be.

Here is looking forward to representation by someone more focused on representing us than on headlines and securing votes for higher office. Andy Fugate, we are counting on you.

 

State Totals 781,091 D; 1,003,182 R; 8,675 L; 327,895 I; Total 2,120,843
Oklahoma’s 2017 estimated populate was 3,930,864. (Approximately 54% of residents are registered to vote.)

 

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