Sand Springs City Council issues continuance on controversial Dollar General location

Possible future site for a Dollar General store.

Possible future site for a Dollar General store.

The Sand Springs City Council took no action on a controversial ordinance to rezone a vacant lot at 2702 North State Highway 97. More than fifty local citizens showed up in opposition to a proposed Dollar General location that they feel is inappropriately located in a residential area.

Council was schedule to vote on rezoning the land from residential to commercial to allow the construction of a Dollar General store by AAB Engineering. Because the Council meeting was moved forward a week from its previously scheduled date, Dollar General representatives were unable to be present for the meeting, and requested a continuance.

Because of the lack of representation from Dollar General, and because of the absence of Vice Mayor Patty Dixon, Council voted 5-1 in favor of delaying the rezoning vote until the July 22nd meeting.

In the rezoning application, AAB Engineering points to the close proximity of a gas station, water tower, mini storage facility, church, and radio station as justification for the commercial zoning. Additionally, a 1981 plat of the land indicated that business or commercial operations would be allowed on the lot.

However, the property sits at the intersection of Pond Drive, which is entirely residential. Approximately 238 local residents signed a petition in opposition of the rezoning, citing their desire for a quiet, rural community, and fear that the construction of a Dollar General would lead to additional future development in the area.

The City of Sand Springs voted to annex the Osage County land on May 20th. The Planning Commission voted 2-2 on the rezoning application at their last week’s meeting, failing to recommend either approval or denial of the request. However, the City staff has recommended approval.

Mayor Jim Spoon remarked that he was impressed with the public turnout for the meeting, and hoped to see as many citizens at the next meeting. One citizen remarked that they would be bringing even more opposition to the next meeting.

Police Chief Mike Carter gave a presentation regarding the 2019 Policing Plan and took public comment on the subject. This is the fourth year the department has adopted a policing plan and last year’s version was awarded the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership in Community Policing Award.

All officers will be issued new business cards with their name, badge number, and a website address to file online compliments or complaints. Following an unscientific Facebook poll with 93% community approval, the department will no longer restrict the hiring of officers with visible tattoos.

The department recently purchased six new police bicycles. They have been used successfully to silently close in on late night burglary suspects, to patrol trails systems and crowded community events, and to teach children how to ride bikes safely.

As part of the department’s Community Policing and Crime Reduction Plan officers took 51 students from Sand Springs Public Schools to a Tulsa ropes course to participate in the Community Trust Champions project.

The 2019 Policing Plan also calls for increased traffic violation warnings in lieu of fines, an improved system of acknowledging community complaints and disciplining officers, increased training and certifications, increased transparency, collaboration with local businesses for economic development, participation in the Hispanic Affairs Commission, Autism Awareness Training, and Critical Incident Inoculation Training.

In Other News:

Council revisited a request by Councilman Brian Jackson to have a Masonic Cornerstone installed at the new Billie A Hall Public Safety Center. The motion was previously defeated at both May Council meetings.

More than a dozen Masonic Lodge members turned out in support of the resolution, and former City Councilman Dean Nichols spoke on their behalf. The measure was approved by unanimous 6-0 vote.

Council unanimously approved the Worker’s Compensation Plan through the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group with a yearly premium of $489,706.

Council unanimously approved a resolution clarifying the City’s rules regarding retention of certain public records. The resolution allows for the immediate destruction of emails, social media posts, text messages, voicemails, and browsing history, leaving their retention up to the sole discretion of the individual employees involved.

Council unanimously approved an agreement with Crawford & Associates in the amount of $50,000 for accounting and consulting services.

Council unanimously approved an agreement with Arledge and Associates in the amount of $35,875 for for financial statement audit services.

Council unanimously approved a continuance regarding a rezoning request at the former K-Mart building. Council will vote July 22nd on whether to rezone 1200 East Charles Page Boulevard from Commercial Shopping to Commercial General.

Council unanimously approved a ratification of a Memorandum of Understanding for participation in the Southwest Area Tactical Team.

Council unanimously voted to declare as surplus two 2007 John Deere backhoes for trade-in.

Council unanimously voted to purchase a Yanmar Vio-80 Compact Excavator from DitchWitch of Tulsa for $102,550, and an Interstate 50TDL Equipment Trailer for $27,750.

Council unanimously approved a resolution setting forth guidelines to assist the City in pursuing legal claims and in responding to legal claims against the City.

Council unanimously approved a resolution affirming a Declaration of Emergency following the May 2019 Flood Event. The declaration authorizes and affirms the execution of contracts, budget amendments, waivers of competitive bidding, and payments to the pursuant contracts to restore City property and equipment that was damaged during the flood. City Staff is currently estimating a budgetary impact of $1,581,600 in flood damages.

Council unanimously approved a Master Service Agreement with Motorola Solutions for recurring services related to Motorola MCC 7500 dispatch consoles.

Council unanimously approved the appointment of the following individuals to various boards and committees:

  • Mike Burdge to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Christine Hamner to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Mike Burdge to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Jim Spoon to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Christine Hamner to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Brian Jackson to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Jim Spoon to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Beau Wilson to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Phil Nollan to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Mike Burdge to the INCOG Board of Directors.

  • Jim Spoon as Alternate to the INCOG Board of Directors.

  • Jim Spoon to the INCOG General Assembly.

  • Elizabeth Gray as Alternate to the INCOG General Assembly.

  • Mike Burdge to the INCOG Legislative Consortium.

  • Jim Spoon as Alternate to the Legislative Consortium.

  • Derek Campbell to the INCOG - Tulsa Metropolitan Area Transportation Policy Committee.

  • TJ Davis as Alternate to the INCOG - Tulsa Metropolitan Area Transportation Policy Committee.

  • Phil Nollan to the Sand Springs Parks Advisory Board.

  • Daniel Comer to the Sand Springs Parks Advisory Board.

  • Harold Neal to the Sand Springs Planning Commission.

  • Keri Fothergill to the Sand Springs Planning Commission.

  • Phil Nollan to the Sand Springs Economic Development Authority.

  • Troy Zickefoose to the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Sales Tax Overview Committee.

  • Leia Anderson to the Pogue Airport Advisory Board.

  • Rick Westcott to the Pogue Airport Advisory Board.

  • Elizabeth Gray to the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board.

  • Derek Campbell to the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board.

In the Municipal Authority meeting following City Council, Trustees unanimously approved a $31,551 Agreement Renewal with the Metropolitan Environmental Trust for administering and operating the Sand Springs Recycling Project.

Trustees unanimously approved a one-year extension to a contract with Talley Golf, who operates the pro shop, grill, golf cart rental, and other services at the Canyons at Blackjack Ridge.

Jim Spoon elected Sand Springs Mayor, Patty Dixon Vice-Mayor

Jim Spoon was elected as Mayor of Sand Springs at Monday evening’s City Council meeting, and Patty Dixon was elected as Vice-Mayor. The mostly ceremonial positions are elected from within the Council ranks, and none of the Council positions are paid.

Prior to the Mayoral elections, Dixon and outgoing Vice Mayor Phil Nollan were administered the Oath of Office for a new three-year term. Dixon won a February election for the Ward 2 seat 64 votes to 8, while Nollan ran unopposed.

Outgoing Mayor Mike Burdge decided to take a break from Mayoral duties. He has been on City Council since 1996, has served thirteen terms as Mayor, and six terms as Vice-Mayor.

The electoral process is a simple “yea” or “nay” vote on a single nominated candidate at a time. Council members aren’t allowed to discuss their potential votes outside of meetings, and aren’t allowed to take any informal polls of their peers.

Spoon was nominated to replace Burdge by Councilman Beau Wilson. Spoon has held the At-Large Council position since 2015. He has owned the Spoon Drug pharmaceutical chain for forty years, and is a twenty-year member of the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy, appointed by multiple State Governors. He has previously served on the Sand Springs Board of Education, and was a founding member of the Sand Springs Education Foundation.

Spoon was elected six votes to one, with Nollan casting the sole “no” vote. Nollan later stated he was confused over the electoral process and expressed regret for his vote against Spoon.

Following Spoon’s nomination, Dixon addressed the Council regarding her opinions on the electoral process. Dixon stated she would like to see any Council members interested in being mayor or vice-mayor give a list of credentials and qualifications prior to any nominations in the future. She also gave her own background and expressed her willingness to serve in a more executive position.

Dixon previously held a Council position from 1990 to 1996, and returned to office in 2016. She has experience on the Parks Advisory Board, Museum Association, HEAL Committee, Sertoma Club, and Oklahoma Municipal League. She is retired from the Tulsa County Parks Department and co-owns Dixon Auto Glass with her husband. She is also heavily involved in the Sand Springs Community Theater.

Following Spoon’s election, Councilman Brian Jackson nominated Christine Hamner for Vice-Mayor, but Hamner declined the nomination and Jackson instead nominated Dixon. Dixon was unanimously elected to the position.

In Other News:

Daniel Bradley was presented with the 2019 John M. Hess Municipal Award for Outstanding Citizenship. Click here for more information.

Outgoing Mayor Mike Burdge proclaimed Municipal Clerks Week in appreciation of City Clerk Janice L. Almy and Deputy City Clerk Kristin S. Johnston.

A proposal by Jackson died without a second. Jackson proposed the instillation of a Masonic Cornerstone at the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. The stone would have cost between $500-$1000 to install and would have enshrined the names of various City officials on the front of the building.

Sand Springs voters overwhelmingly approve School Bond Propositions

Voters in the Sand Springs Public School District overwhelmingly voiced their support for a pair of general obligation bond measures Tuesday.

Proposition No. 1, totaling $32.85 million, passed with 92.83% in favor. 1,774 voted yes with only 137 against.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million passed with 91.43% in favor to provide for new school buses. The measure received 1,749 “yes” votes and 164 “no” votes.

The new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off, so the millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase.

Totaling more than $34 million, the two measures will provide funding for a number of projects, most notably the construction of a new freshman wing on the Charles Page High School campus.

The new $14.28 million building will conjoin with the high school through the existing lobby, but will keep the freshmen separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of the day. Currently more than 75% of Central Ninth Grade Center are shuttled from downtown to the high school every day for athletics and other activities.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

Sand Springs to vote on new school bond projects Tuesday, including new Ninth Grade Center

Sandites will take to the polls Tuesday to voice their support or opposition of a nearly $33 million bond proposal.

The Sand Springs Public School District is hoping to pass two General Obligation Bond Propositions that would provide funding for a number of projects, most notably a new Ninth Grade Center and STEM Academy.

The current Ninth Grade Center is located at 14 West 4th Street in downtown Sand Springs. It is the oldest building in the district and is the former site of Sand Springs High School. According to district officials, more than 75% of freshmen are shuttled to the high school campus every day for classes, athletics, and other activities.

The district hopes to spend $14.28 million on a new Ninth Grade Center on the campus of Charles Page High School. The building would be partly connected to the High School through the existing lobby, but would otherwise keep the younger students separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of their day.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Proposition No. 1 will total $32.85 million. Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million will also be on the ballot to provide for new school buses.

If the measures pass, the new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off. The millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase. However, Sand Springs property taxes will drop in the near future if voters choose not to approve the measures.

Senate approves pre-registration for young Oklahoma voters

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to ensure young Oklahomans do not miss their first elections. Sen. Jason Smalley is the author of Senate Bill 496 to allow those who are at least 17.5 to 18 years old to pre-register to vote.

“Currently, Oklahomans can’t register to vote until they’re 18 years old.  This can cause them to miss voting if their birthdays fall after the registration deadline for an upcoming election,” said Smalley, R-Stroud.  “Casting one’s first vote is such an exciting right of passage for a young person.  By allowing them to pre-register, they can actually vote on their 18thbirthday rather than waiting for their registration to be processed.”

Under SB 496, anyone who pre-registers to vote prior to their 18th birthday will be allowed to vote beginning on their birthday. 

The measure now moves to the House for further consideration.

Incumbent Patty Dixon re-elected to fourth term on City Council

Current City Council. (Left to right): Brian Jackson, Beau Wilson, Christine Hamner, Jim Spoon, Mike Burdge, Phil Nollan, Patty Dixon.

Current City Council. (Left to right): Brian Jackson, Beau Wilson, Christine Hamner, Jim Spoon, Mike Burdge, Phil Nollan, Patty Dixon.

Incumbent Sand Springs City Councilwoman Patty Dixon won reelection to the Ward 2 office Tuesday with 88.9% of the vote. Dixon defeated Caleb Nelms 64 votes to 8.

Dixon has served three non-consecutive terms on the council. She served two terms from 1990-1996, and filed unopposed in 2016 to fill a vacant seat.

Dixon’s resume includes stents on the Parks Advisory Board, Museum Association, HEAL Committee, Sertoma Club, and Oklahoma Municipal League. She is a retired employee of the Tulsa County Parks Department and owns Dixon Auto Glass with her husband, Tim. She is also a performer in the local community theater.

Sand Springs City Council approves permits for city's first marijuana dispensaries

Police Chief Mike Carter was recognized for 25 years of service at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Medical Marijuana took center stage at Monday night’s Sand Springs City Council meeting.

Specific Use Permits (SUPs) were approved for a medical marijuana cultivation facility, as well as a dispensary, owned by Dr. Cannabis, LLC at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite B3. An SUP was also granted to Therapeutic Herbal Care, LLC to open a dispensary at 1126 E. Charles Page Blvd.

Council denied an SUP to David Dietrich for the purpose of opening a cultivation facility at 15208 W. Weaver Road. The facility would have been located in a predominately residential area, and numerous neighbors requested that Council deny the permit. At a recent Planning Commission meeting, nearby residents cited concerns about the effect that a cultivation facility would have on the neighborhood’s water pressure.

Nature’s Candy Dispensary was subject of discussion surrounding their name. The organization agreed to legally do business as Nature’s Apothecary at a Planning Commission meeting earlier this month, due to objections to the use of the word “candy” in regards to a medicinal substance. New objections were raised by Councilman Jim Spoon to the use of the word “apothecary.” According to Spoon, businesses dealing in marijuana are banned from using the word “apothecary” by the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy. A motion was approved to award an SUP to the business on conditions that they not use any terms relating to pharmacy or candy. The dispensary will be located at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite A2.

In other news:

Oklahoma Municipal League representative Pam Polk presented a certificate to Police Chief Mike Carter in recognition of 25 years of service. Fleet Technician Michael O’Dell was not present, but will also be receiving the award.

Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution of support for the Sand Springs Public Schools’ General Obligation Bond Propositions 1 & 2. The propositions total $32,850,000 and will provide funding for transportation equipment and the construction of a new Ninth Grade Center and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Academy on the grounds of Charles Page High School. The measures will go to a vote of the people on March 5th.

Council unanimously voted to affirm dilapidation public nuisance hearing findings for a fire-damaged residential building at 405 West 7th Street.

Council unanimously voted to approve a Beautification Wall project at the City’s Water Treatment Plant on the corner of Highway 97 and Morrow Road. The funding for the project was passed by voters as a G.O. Bond measure in November of 2017. Council awarded the construction project to Crossland Construction Company, Inc. in the amount of $1,113,807.60. Council also awarded an administration and inspection contract to Keithline Engineering Group, PLLC in the amount of $98,118.87.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing the City of Sand Springs Police Department to remove individuals from private and public properties, without involving the property owner. The measure gives property owners the ability to inform the department of individuals banned from their property, and authorizes officers to remove that individual without first establishing contact with the property owner. This also includes nonspecific entities, such as bans on loitering or semi truck parking.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing the City Manager to determine individual salaries.

Council approved a $250,000.00 Title Sponsorship agreement with the Sharna and Irvin Frank Foundation, including naming rights and expanded hours with paid staff at the Keystone Ancient Forest visitors’ center. Voters approved funding for construction of a visitors’ center in a 2017 G.O. Bond election, but the sponsorship agreement will provide additional funding for increased visitors hours and a larger facility.

Council approved $100,322.00 for the purchase and instillation of communication equipment for the Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center.

Council approved granting an easement to OmniTrax for railroad property abutting the upcoming Main Street project in downtown. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be bidding the project in February of this year, with construction set to begin soon after. Main Street will be rebuilt from 1st Street south to its current terminus, with a new section of road connecting Main Street west to Highway 97. A new frontage road will also be built to connect Main Street to the Lincoln Avenue On-Ramp onto Highway 412.

OmniTrax operates the Sand Springs Railway, which runs railways across Main Street, Morrow Road, and Highway 97. The easement will allow the railway to continue normal operations throughout the construction project.

Senate votes Greg Treat as president pro tempore

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Members of the Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday voted Senator Greg Treat as president pro tempore, the chamber’s top leadership post.

Treat previously served as the majority floor leader, the Senate’s second-highest leadership office, and was selected by Senate Republicans last year as their choice to lead the Senate. On Tuesday during organizational day, the entire Senate made it official and voted to name Treat as the Senate leader.

“I am humbled and honored to serve as the leader of the Oklahoma Senate. I very much appreciate my colleagues for their trust in my leadership and look forward to the challenge ahead. I also want to thank my wife and children. Without their love and support, I would not be able to serve in the Senate,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

“As leader of the Senate I promise our chamber will work hard, we’ll work together across political parties, and we’ll work toward policies that are good for all Oklahomans. There are certainly challenges facing our state, but there is nothing standing in our way that we can’t overcome together. I am optimistic about the future of our state and feel very blessed to be in a position to help lead Oklahoma to an even better and brighter future.”

Treat lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Maressa and their three children: Mason, Cooper, and Olivia. The Treat family attends Frontline Church. He was elected in a 2011 special election to represent District 47, which encompasses northwest Oklahoma City and portions of Edmond, Deer Creek, and Bethany. Treat serves on the executive committees of both the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Southern Legislative Conference.

The Oklahoma Constitution calls upon the Legislature to meet before the start of each two-year session to formally elect its leaders and certify the previous year’s election results. On Tuesday, the Senate certified the 2018 election results and officially elected Treat and other senators to Senate leadership positions. The Senate GOP leadership includes:

  • Senator Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, President Pro Tempore

  • Senator Kim David, R-Porter, Majority Floor Leader

  • Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, Appropriations chair

  • Senator Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, Majority Caucus chair

  • Senator Rob Standridge, R-Norman, Majority Whip

  • Senator Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, Assistant Floor Leader

  • Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer, Assistant Floor Leader

  • Senator Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, Majority Caucus vice chair

  • Senator Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, Assistant Majority Whip

  • Senator Casey Murdock, R-Felt, Assistant Majority Whip

  • Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, Assistant Majority Whip

  • Senator Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, Rural Caucus chair

Sand Springs schools take steps to prevent future carbon monoxide scares

After a recent carbon monoxide scare at Clyde Boyd Middle School, Sand Springs schools are taking steps to make sure it never happens again anywhere in the district.

Superintendent Sherry Durkee gave updates on the district’s reaction to a half-week school cancellation at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. CBMS and the Sixth Grade Center were closed for several days last week after students began exhibiting signs of carbon monoxide exposure.

An investigation into the school’s HVAC system revealed 8 out of 47 units at CBMS had become compromised, all of which have now been shut down, and replacements have been ordered. Workers are checking units throughout the district now and detectors are being installed in every single classroom throughout the district.

Durkee says she’s never even heard of a problem like this, that many districts do not have detectors, and some of those districts are reaching out to learn from the experience. Sand Springs will be educating all teachers on detecting signs of carbon monoxide poisoning going forward despite it not being a state requirement.

It’s common for HVAC units to develop leaks over time, and the mass failure was due to many of the units being purchased at the same time and aging simultaneously. The district already has quarterly inspections, exceeding those required by State law.

The Board also approved a resolution allowing Durkee to spend up to $75,000 following an emergency declaration without having to seek Board approval.

The middle school already has fifteen more minutes of instruction time than mandatory each day, so the lost days will not need to be made up.

In other news:

Charles Page High School Performing Arts Instructor Andrea Campfield was awarded a Sandite Spirit Award for her work with the CPHS Drama Department. She recently wrote and directed “When Merry Comes Home For Christmas,” which the Sand Springs Community Theater performed this past weekend.

CBMS students Kaitlyn Gurley and Hunter Cathey were given Sandite Spirit Awards for large donations they made to the Shop With a Cop program that helps provide Christmas presents for underprivileged youth in the area.

CBMS Life Applications for Students (LAFS) teachers Coy Caviness and Brad Ehmke were presented with Coins of Excellence.

The Board voted to rescind ballot language passed in the previous monthly meeting in favor of more specific verbiage that includes band equipment, wrestling mats, desks, and other items that will be purchased following a March bond election. None of the bond election plans have changed, Superintendent Sherry Durkee simply wanted to offer more transparency to the public on what the money will be going to specifically.

The Board voted to enter into an agreement with KKT Architects for designs for the new Central Ninth Grade STEM Academy Project.

The Board approved out of state travel for six district employees to attend the Solution Tree Response to Intervention at Work Conference in San Diego in March.

The Board accepted the resignations of Tammy Green and Dawn Jones, paraprofessionals at the Early Childhood Education Center, and Northwoods Fine Arts Academy, respectively.

The Board approved the hiring of a U.S. History teacher for CPHS, a science teacher at CBMS, and a paraprofessional at ECEC.

The Board voted to accept the resignation of Office No. 1 Board Member Krista Polankski. Because Polanski served more than half her term, the Board is able to either appoint a new member or leave the spot vacant till the next regular election.

Jadine Nollan wins re-election for House District 66 and other election results

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Democratic voters hoping for a blue wave were sorely disappointed with Tuesday’s general election, as were Libertarian and Independent candidates, who failed to win any statewide offices. Several State legislative seats changed party ownership, but the changes were even across the aisle.

Republican candidate Kevin Stitt will be the next Governor of Oklahoma after winning 54.34% of the vote. All State executive positions remained in Republican control, as did both legislative bodies for the Republican Party’s eighth consecutive trifecta.

Democrat Kendra Horn upset incumbent Republican Steve Russell for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, winning by only 1.38%. Horn will be the first Democratic representative from Oklahoma since Dan Boren in 2013 and the first from District 5 since John Jarman in 1975.

State Senate District 30 flipped from Republican to Democrat while Districts 32 and 40 switched from red to blue.

House Districts 6, 15, 17, 18, 24, 75, and 86 flipped from Democrat to Republican, while Districts 71, 79, 83, and 95 changed from Republican to Democrat. Incumbent District 66 representative Jadine Nollan won the Sand Springs area with 58.48% of the vote over Democratic challenger Angela Graham.

Incumbent Republican District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler retained control of the Tulsa County office with 58.6% of the vote. All seven D.A. elections went to Republicans.

Judges Caroline Wall, Tracy Priddy, Linda Morrissey, and Martha Rupp Carter won the District 14 offices on the Sand Springs ballot.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, Oklahomans voted to retain every Supreme Court and Appellate Justice on the ballot. Justice James Edmondson was the only judge to receive less than 60% of votes in favor.

State Question 793, regarding optometrists’ and opticians’ right to operate out of retail mercantile establishments, was narrowly defeated with 50.24% of votes in opposition.

78.01% of Oklahomans voted to approve SQ794, also known as Marcey’s Law, granting certain rights to victims of crime.

SQ798 failed to pass the ballot, garnering only 45.91% of votes. The measure would have changed the Oklahoma Constitution so that gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates would run on the same ticket, similar to U.S. Presidential elections.

57.22% of voters opposed SQ800 which would have created a State trust fund.

50.41% of voters rejected SQ801, which would have allowed local Board of Education to use ad valorem tax revenues for the purpose of school operations and personnel pay. Currently bond measures may only be used for district building funds.

The Oklahoma State Election Board placed Statewide Turnout at 56.09% with more than 1.18 million ballots cast.

Other results:

  • Lieutenant Governor

    • Matt Pinnell (Republican) 61.9%

    • Anastasia A. Pittman (Democrat) 34.52%

    • Ivan Holmes (Independent) 3.58%

  • State Auditor

    • Cindy Byrd (Republican) 75.18%

    • John Yeutter (Libertarian) 24.82%

  • Attorney General

    • Mike Hunter (Republican) 64.04%

    • Mark Myles (Democrat) 35.96%

  • State Treasurer

    • Randy McDaniel (Republican) 71.59%

    • Charles de Coune (Independent) 28.41%

  • State Superintendent

    • Joy Hofmeister (Republican) 58.52%

    • John Cox (Democrat) 33.78%

    • Larry Huff (Independent) 7.7%

  • Labor Commissioner

    • Leslie Osborn (Republican) 61.73%

    • Fred Dorrell (Democrat) 33.47%

    • Brandt Dismukes (Independent) 4.8%

  • Insurance Commissioner

    • Glen Mulready (Republican) 61.97%

    • Kimberly Fobbs (Democrat) 38.03%

  • Corporation Commissioner

    • Bob Anthony (Republican) 60.04%

    • Ashley Nicole McCrary (Democrat) 34.29%

    • Jackie Short (Independent) 5.67%

  • U.S. Representative - District 01

    • Kevin Hern (Republican) 59.31%

    • Tim Gilpin (Democrat) 40.69%

  • U.S. Representative - District 02

    • Markwayne Mullin (Republican) 65.02%

    • Jason Nichols (Democrat) 30.1%

    • John Foreman (Independent) 2.96%

    • Richard Castaldo (Libertarian) 1.92%

  • U.S. Representative - District 03

    • Frank D. Lucas (Republican) 73.87%

    • Frankie Robbins (Democrat) 26.13%

  • U.S. Representative - District 04

    • Tom Cole (Republican) 63.07%

    • Mary Brannon (Democrat) 33%

    • Ruby Peters (Independent) 3.94%

  • U.S. Representative - District 05

    • Kendra Horn (Democrat) 50.69%

    • Steve Russell (Republican) 49.31%

  • Tulsa County Associate District Judge

    • Cliff Smith 55%

    • Brian Crain 45%

  • Supreme Court District 2 - Patrick Wyrick

    • YES 61.55%

    • NO 38.35%

  • Supreme Court District 3 - Noma D. Gurich

    • YES 61.57%

    • NO 38.43%

  • Supreme Court District 4 - Yvonne Kauger

    • YES 62.19%

    • NO 37.81%

  • Supreme Court District 7 - James E. Edmondson

    • YES 59.4%

    • NO 40.6%

City Council accepts bids for Case Park parking lots and Keystone Forest visitor center designs

The Sand Springs City Council approved several measures relating to City parks and other capital improvement projects at their Monday evening meeting.

Council unanimously approved a contract with Studio 45 Architects relating to the Keystone Ancient Forest. The City will pay the company $40,000 to design a small visitor center at the forest preserve. The visitor center project was approved by voters as part of a 2017 general obligation bond package. The design phase is expected to be completed by Spring of 2019 and will then go to bid for construction.

Council also voted to approve a bid from R&L Construction in the amount of $473,911.00 for a paved parking lot expansion and new sidewalk at Case Community Park. The project will pave an existing 175-spot gravel parking lot at the Jerry Adair Baseball Park, and will add a 36-space lot at the Rotary Super Splash Pad. The project will also include curbs and guttering.

Council approved a six-year Capital Improvement Plan for Pogue Municipal Airport. The City plans to invest $3,830,000 in drainage improvements and taxiway rehabilitation.

Council approved a payment of $64,045.00 to Tim Mills Fence Company for a large section of white vinyl fencing installed along the Sand Springs Expressway.

Council approved a $30,100.00 expenditure to Mills Truck & Tractor Service Inc. for a storm pipe replacement project at the intersection of 2nd Street and Lincoln Avenue. The project is expected to take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete.

Council approved the purchase of 911 Police/Fire Dispatch Consoles for the Billie A. Hall Public Safety Facility in the amount of $49,166.00.

Council approved a resolution of Notice of Election for City Council Wards 1 & 2. Phil Nollan and Patty Dixon will be up for reelection in 2019. The filing period is set for December 3-5. The primary election, if needed, will be held on February 12, 2019. The general election, if needed, will be held on April 2nd.

Kevin Stitt, Jadine Nollan win Republican nominations in runoff

Four-term incumbent Jadine Nollan won the Republican nomination for House District 66 in a runoff Tuesday evening, defeating Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson.

With all precincts reporting, Nollan defeated Jackson with 59.87% of the 3,125 total ballots cast. Jackson received 1,254 votes. 

Nollan is a Sand Springs native, Charles Page High School and Oklahoma State University alumni, and former Sand Springs Board of Education President. She will meet Democratic nominee Angela Graham in the November election.

Gateway Mortgage executive Kevin Stitt defeated former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett with 54.56% of 302,077 ballots for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Former Party Chair Chris Powell won the Libertarian Party nomination with 59.07% of 926 votes over Rex Lawhorn. They will meet Democratic nominee Drew Edmondson in the general election.

Matt Pinnell defeated Dana Murphy with 58.14% of the vote for the Lieutenant Governor nomination. State Senator Anastasia Pittman secured the Democratic nomination in June and the two will also face Independent Dr. Ivan Holmes, former chair of the State Democratic Party. 

Cindy Byrd defeated Charlie Prater in a close race with 50.17% for the State Auditor and Inspector Republican nomination. She will face Libertarian nominee John Yeutter.

Incumbent Mike Hunter won a close race for the Attorney General nomination with 50.05% over Gentner Drummond. He will face Democratic nominee Mark Myles.

Incumbent Superintendent of Public Education Joy Hofmeister handily fended off Linda Murphy with 56.68% of the vote. She will face Democratic nominee Dr. John Cox and Independent Dr. Larry Huff. 

Leslie Osborn defeated Cathy Costello with 52.35% of votes for the Commissioner of Labor nomination. She will face Democrat Fred Dorrell and Independent Brandt Dismukes. 

Bob Anthony attained 53.61% of the vote for the Corporation Commissioner Republican nomination over Brian Bingman. Ashley McCray won the Democratic nomination with 65.08% over Blake Cummings. They will face Independent Jackie Short in November. 

McDonald's franchisee Kevin Hern defeated former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris with 54.92% of the vote in the U.S. Representative Republican runoff for District 1. Tim Gilpin won the Democratic nomination with 59.38% over Amanda Douglas. 

Incumbent Republican District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler defended his nomination against Ben Fu with 56.61% of the vote in District 14. He will face Democrat Jenny Proehl-Day in November. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Powell vows to oppose Federal government on gun restrictions for marijuana patients

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Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chris Powell responded to reports that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation intends to enforce federal laws that would prevent individuals legally using marijuana under state law from possessing a firearm, saying "that's not going to happen on my watch. I'll order the OSBI and all other state agencies to adhere to state law rather than federal law, not just in this instance but also when there is any other appearance of conflict between the two." Powell has been outspoken regarding federal overreach, specifically promising to "protect Oklahoma's state and local law enforcement agencies from being deputized into serving the national government."  

Voters overwhelmingly passed SQ 788, legalizing medical marijuana, on June 26th and medical marijuana cards could become available within weeks. Included in SQ 788 was a provision that no state issued license may be unduly withheld from an individual because they hold a medical marijuana license, concealed carry permits being specifically mentioned. Despite this now being state law, the OSBI has already amended its form to advise medical marijuana license holders to answer "yes" to a question about unlawful use of a controlled substance, with Special Agent Steve Tanner saying “They may be precluded from being issued a firearms permit."  

Don Spencer of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) has stated the organization's official position to be that "No person in legal possession of a prescription drug should be denied their Second Amendment right to the peaceful possession or ownership of a firearm or be denied a license to carry a handgun under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act unless previously arrested for any violation of the Self Defense Act."  Powell applauds OK2A for speaking out in favor of the rights of medical marijuana users in Oklahoma, further suggesting that "most OK2A members would be supportive of all efforts to uphold state prerogatives in the face of federal interference."

Powell has advocated for legalizing cannabis since joining the Libertarian Party in 2000, and has stated that he would have signed SB 1212, the constitutional carry bill vetoed earlier this year by Gov. Fallin. He will be on the run-off ballot on August 28th after finishing first in the Libertarian gubernatorial primary with 49%.

Attorney General Hunter Advises Health Board to Amend Rules on Medical Marijuana

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today advised the State Board of Health to convene a special meeting to amend the rules it passed regulating medical marijuana.

Attorney General Hunter said his advice is faithful to and in accordance with the new law created when Oklahomans voted in favor of State Question 788.

“The current rules contain provisions that are inconsistent with the plain language of State Question 788 and the State Board of Health acted outside of its authority when it voted to implement them,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Although I didn’t support State Question 788, the people of the state have spoken and I have a legal duty to honor the decision made by the electorate. My advice today is made pursuant to that responsibility as attorney general.

“Moving forward, I encourage all stakeholders to engage with the legislative working group looking at medical marijuana to ensure they have their concerns and recommendations heard and addressed by the legislature.”

In a letter sent today to Health Department Interim Director Tom Bates, the attorney general writes, the board’s role in limiting the forms of marijuana products is confined to food and safety standards that are in line with food preparation guidelines, not prohibiting the sale of smokable, vapable, edible or other forms of marijuana.  

Attorney General Hunter also took issue with the board’s action to require dispensaries to hire a pharmacist, writing, “the board has not been given any express or implied statutory authority to impose additional requirements on licensees. Thus, the board rules improperly require every licensed dispensary to have “a current licensed pharmacist” present “on-site at least 40 hours per week.” Nothing in the text of State Question 788 expressly or impliedly authorizes this rule.”  

Other concerns outlined in the letter include:

  • Restricting dispensaries to limited locations;
  • Prohibiting dispensaries from co-locating with other businesses;
  • Requiring medical marijuana be grown, processed and dispensed in enclosed structures;
  • Requiring a surety bond for licensing;
  • Setting hours of operation;
  • Limiting the amount of THC in flower, leaf or concentrate for sale or distribution.

“I have no doubt that the board in good faith sought to regulate marijuana in a manner it believed would best promote the health and safety of Oklahomans,” the letter concludes. “However, in so doing, the board made policy judgments not authorized by statute. Such policy decisions are the exclusive prerogative of the legislature and the people.”

Read the full letter, here: https://bit.ly/2LvVQMO.

OPINION: Gubernatorial candidate Chris Powell calls for Terri White's resignation

After learning that Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Terri White may have been the individual who wrote the proposals to ban smokable cannabis from dispensaries and to require dispensaries to employ pharmacists, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chris Powell said a resignation is in order. 

"If media reports are correct and Commissioner White did instigate these obstructionist measures designed to thwart the will of the people as expressed in the landslide vote in favor of SQ 788 then she ought to resign. No one with such contempt for the voters should be heading a state agency."  

SQ 788 was approved on June 26th with nearly 57% of the vote in an election with exceptionally high turnout, causing Governor Fallin to change her mind about calling a special session and putting responsibility for making rules regarding medical cannabis in the hands of the Board of Health, who added each of the last-minute amendments against the advice of the Health Department's general counsel, Julie Ezell. These were similar to several obstructionist proposals offered by the Oklahoma State Medical Association on Monday.  Lana Ivey, executive director of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, was quoted as saying "Terri (White) pretty much generated the recommendations..."

Powell, who finished first in the Libertarian gubernatorial primary with 49% of the vote but still faces a runoff, believes that voters are fed up with state government officials that forget they work for the people. "The political establishment routinely makes it clear that they don't care what voters think," said Powell. "If Commissioner White was behind these measures to gut SQ 788 then she is part of the problem along with Gov. Fallin who eagerly signed the rules in yet another display of blatant disregard for the wants and needs of the people of Oklahoma."    

Graham wins Democratic nomination, Nollan and Jackson head to runoff

Oklahoma held its statewide primary election Tuesday and while many party nominees won't be decided till the August runoffs, the State did decide to legalize medical marijuana with the passage of State Question 788.

Governor Mary Fallin issued the following statement after a 56.84% majority of voters passed SQ788, which legalizes the licensed use, sale, and growth of marijuana for medicinal purposes: 

“I respect the will of the voters in any question placed before them to determine the direction of our state. It is our responsibility as state leaders to look out for the health and safety of Oklahoma citizens. As I mentioned in previous public comments, I believe, as well as many Oklahomans, this new law is written so loosely that it opens the door for basically recreational marijuana. I will be discussing with legislative leaders and state agencies our options going forward on how best to proceed with adding a medical and proper regulatory framework to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses.

Incumbent House District 66 Representative Jadine Nollan failed to secure the Republican nomination outright, but was the top vote earner with 45.71%. She will advance to the August runoff against Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson who won 36.63%. Angela Graham won the Democratic nomination with 59.02%. 

To learn more about the HD66 candidates, visit the following links:
Sand Springs teacher Angela Graham running for House District 66
Representative Jadine Nollan endorsed by James Lankford for fifth term
Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson running for House District 66

Elections where no candidate garnered 50% will advance the top two candidates to the August runoff. 

Mick Cornett (29.35%), Todd Lamb (23.87%), and Kevin Stitt (24.41%) each drew about a quarter of the votes in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary. Chris Powell (48.92%) and Rex Lawhorn (32.4%) advanced to the runoff for the Libertarian nomination. Drew Edmondson won the Democratic nomination with 61.39%. 

Dana Murphy (45.85%) and Matt Pinnell (35.7%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Anastasia Pittman (50.42%) won the Democratic nomination. 

Cindy Byrd (49.45%) and Charlie Prater (42.08%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for State Auditor and Inspector.

Mike Hunter (44.46%) and Gentner Drummond (38.46%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Attorney General nomination.

Incumbent Joy Hofmeister (46.84%) and Linda Murphy (31.05%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction nomination.

Cathy Costello (43.26%) and Leslie Osborn (35.92%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Commissioner of Labor nomination. Fred Dorrell won the Democratic nomination with 73.43%. 

Glen Mulready (54.75%) defeated Donald Chasteen (45.25%) for the Republican nomination for Insurance Commissioner. He will take on Democrat Kimberly Fobbs in November.

Bob Anthony (47.17%) and Brian Bingman (38.42%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for Corporation Commissioner. Ashley McCray (48.79%) and Blake Cummings (22.17%) advanced to the runoff for the Democratic nomination. 

Tim Harris (27.48%) and Kevin Hern (22.67%) advanced to the runoff for the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 1. Tim Gilpin (34.5%) and Amanda Douglas (32.41%) will face off in the Democratic runoff.

Markwayne Mullin (54.15%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 2. Jason Nichols (37.9%) and Clay Padgett (24.21%) will go to a runoff for the Democratic nomination. 

Frankie Robbins (64.85%) won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for District 3 with 65%. He will take on Republican Frank Lucas in November. 

Tom Cole (64.74%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 4. Mary Brannon (34.36%) and Fred Gipson (30.37%) will face off in a Democratic runoff. 

Steve Russell (83.62%) won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative for District 5. Kendra Horn (43.84%) and Tom Guild (17.91%) advanced to the Democratic runoff. 

Incumbent District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler won 42.73% in the Republican primary for District 14 and will take on Ben Fu (29.04%) in August. 

Representative Jadine Nollan endorsed by James Lankford for fifth term

Incumbent Representative Jadine Nollan was recently endorsed by U.S. Senator James Lankford. (SUBMITTED).

Jadine Nollan is a household name in the Sand Springs community. After ten years on the Sand Springs Board of Education followed by eight years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, she’s asking for House District 66 voters to trust her with another term in the State Legislature.

A lifelong Sandite and 1977 Charles Page High School graduate, Jadine Cox met her future husband, now City Councilman Phil Nollan, at Oklahoma State University. The two have been married for 37 years and have three kids, two granddaughters, and a cat. Each of their children attended Sand Springs Public Schools.

“This is a job that will take as much as you will give it,” says Nollan, who is a full time representative with no private sector career. “I try to be really devoted, I do a lot of research. I try to be in the community.”  Before running for State office she was the director at Sand Springs Community Services, assisting the low-income community with clothing, school supplies, and food. She also served multiple terms as the Sand Springs Board of Education President.

Nollan is the chairwoman for the Higher Education and Career Tech committee and also serves on the Appropriations and Budget Education committee, the Children, Youth, and Family Services committee, and the Common Education committee.

“One thing I learned during the teacher walkout after talking to teachers from all over our state is there are still a lot of issues we need to look at and try to improve in their situations. I do think that we need to continue to discuss how we can make our school systems strong,” says Nollan.

“Our school districts are the ones that actually develop a strong workforce. We have to have a strong workforce in order to have strong businesses. We have to have strong businesses in order to have a strong economy.”

Keeping with that mission, Nollan authored House Bill 2155 which passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin in May of 2017. The bill required the State Board of Education to adopt a statewide system of college and career planning tools that would help parents, counselors, and teachers to develop an individualized career-based learning plan for students. 

“One goal I have and would like to see take place is making a very clear pathway for our students to be able to earn an Associate’s degree by the time they finish high school. Our biggest workforce needs right now are Associate’s degrees and career-tech certifications. So I’d really like to see us focus on that.”

She also authored HB3220 which will help streamline the process of approving emergency certifications for teachers during the current statewide teacher shortage. That bill was signed into law in May of 2018.

HB3225 is another bill Nollan is excited about authoring. “When I was elected I found out we had millions of dollars in tax credits that the State was paying, but we weren’t tracking them at all.”

The Legislature created the Incentive Evaluation Commission in 2015, but HB3225 takes it a step further and will put all State incentives online for anyone to view them.

“The State has these blank checks that they’re writing for these incentives, but we don’t understand how they’re growing. I had this idea that kind of snowballed into a real time dashboard concept for tax credits that would measure and monitor the growth of them. What the bill does, is it directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to develop a real-time dashboard and put it on their website. That way, with the constant turnover in the legislative body, it would allow them to have a resource for future legislators to be able to determine how those are growing.”

The bill garnered bipartisan support and passed the Senate unanimously before being signed into law this May. The OTC has until January of 2020 to develop and launch the program.

Nollan says she supports the will of the people regarding State Question 788 legalizing medical marijuana, but says the Legislature will have to work to create a strong framework for the industry. She is concerned with how the state workforce might be affected should voters ever push to legalize recreational marijuana.

Minimum wage should remain at its current level, according to Nollan. “Of course you want people to be able to survive, but I also think that businesses need to be able to determine those rates so it doesn’t put the business in jeopardy.”

Nollan also wants to provide context surrounding a controversial attempt by House Democrats to end the Capital Gains tax deduction during the latest session.

Senate Bill 1086 passed 30 votes to 9, but according to Nollan there was an agreement in the House that Republican leadership would vote to increase the Gross Production Tax on new oil wells if Democrats agreed not to push for Capital Gains. After HB1010xx passed, raising GPT from 2% to 5%, Democrats then attempted to suspend House rules to vote on SB1086.

Nollan says she would be open to considering SB1086, but because House leadership didn’t expect it to go to the floor, the bill never went through the standard process of committee review. “The unintended consequences had not been vetted or researched,” says Nollan. She says the House never takes bills straight from the Senate and votes on them without going through committee first.

Nollan wants to remind voters of all the progress that the Legislature has already made in the past few years, especially HB1023xx which raised Oklahoma teacher pay to second in the region with an average increase of $6,100. The Fiscal Year 2019 education budget, which already passed the legislature, includes a 19% increase in education funding with allocations for textbooks and support staff raises.

She also points to the Energy Stabilization Fund created in 2016, which banks energy revenue during boom years to help stabilize the budget during oil busts.

“67% of our legislative body after this cycle will have less than two years’ experience. There’s some issues with regard to institutional memory. It’s such a huge learning curve whenever you first start: understanding the process and understanding such a wide variety of issues that our state has to deal with.”

“That’s something that I think is noteworthy,” says Nollan. “It does put a lot of power into the hands of the lobbyists, the agency heads, the bureaucrats, when there’s such a large turnover in the legislative body.”

Nollan holds an “A” rating from the Research Institute for Economic Development, a 100% rating from the National Federation of Independent Business, an apple from the Oklahomans for Public Education group, a 100% rating from Oklahomans for Life and the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association and the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. She has endorsements from U.S. Senator James Lankford, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, and the Oklahoma State Chamber.

The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26th. Nollan will face Emily Delozier and Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the votes, then the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on August 28th. The winner will face the Democratic nominee on November 6th.

Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson running for House District 66

Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson is throwing his hat in the ring for the House District 66 election. The Republican candidate is a thrice-elected councilman and has been awarded an apple by the Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education political action group. 

Education is the cornerstone of Jackson's campaign, an issue which he says is "the purest form of economic development." He points to proper education funding as a solution to fixing both the State economy as well as overcrowded prisons. 

"From the womb to the classroom, that's how I describe my philosophy," says Jackson. "Education gives you options...Incarceration breaks up families, continues the cycle of poverty, and creates a reliance on government."

He says the teacher pay raise included in House Bill 1023xx is just a start and that school funding and salaries need to continue to go up. He is opposed to forced consolidation of school districts.

"I'm a Republican that's not afraid to reinvest in our Oklahoma," says Jackson. "We do that by these taxes. You've done tax breaks here and there with businesses and income tax."

Jackson praises the revenue package passed with House Bill 1010xx and says that he would go a step further by raising gross production tax to 7% on new oil wells. The GPT was raised from 2% to 5% during the latest session. He also wants to look at raising income tax and ending the capital gains tax deduction. 

Jackson is a Charles Page High School graduate from the Class of 2002. His wife, Barbie, is a fifteen year veteran teacher in the Sand Springs Public School District. The two have a daughter, Bella, in the second grade.  He earned his Associate's Degree through the Tulsa Community College West Campus in Sand Springs and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. He has spent the last ten years as Development Manager for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma and has spent nine years on the Sand Springs City Council. 

One of the most important things Jackson wants voters to know is that he plans to be an "open-door legislator." In fact, he plans to remove his office door altogether so that constituents can always access him. 

Jackson plans to vote "Yes" on State Question 788, legalizing medical marijuana. "If there is something out there like marijuana that can change someone's life - I'm for that. I don't want to be hindering anyone. I think it's a moral issue if you're standing in the way of something that could be beneficial."

Regarding tax incentives, Jackson says they're "the nature of the game nowadays." He points to the City of Sand Springs's recruitment of Reasor's and Wal-Mart as evidence of the success of tax incentives. "You have to do your research to make sure on each individual case, if it makes business sense. We really need to evaluate each one to make sure it's providing fruit."

Jackson is hesitant to raise the minimum wage saying that the current rate provides an individual incentive for employees. "You show your employer that you've got drive and skill and passion for that job, you're not going to stay at the minimum. When the government starts intervening in that, that goes directly to the consumer."

Jackson would have voted "No" for the Constitutional Carry bill that was passed by the legislature and vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin. He says that Oklahomans already have the ability to get an open or concealed carry license, and that removing the screening process would create a "Wild West scenario" that could escalate potentially dangerous situations.

He opposes Senate Bill 1140 which allowed for religious adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBTQ couples. "I'm a person that believes not to discriminate against people. That bill discriminates. We have thousands of children in Oklahoma that are waiting for a loving family."

Jackson previously ran for a House seat in 2006 and for Senate District 37 in 2016 and 2017. Should he win the primary and November general election, he would have to surrender his City Council seat. Jackson just began a three-year term in May of 2018 and the City of Sand Springs would have to have a special election to replace him. 

The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26th. Jackson will face incumbent Jadine Nollan and Emily Delozier. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the votes, then the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on August 28th. The winner will face the Democratic nominee on November 6th. 

Emily Delozier endorsed by former Congressman Tom Coburn in House District 66 election

House District 66 candidate Emily Delozier shakes hands with former U.S. Congressman Dr. Tom Coburn after receiving an endorsement from the conservative activist. (SUBMITTED).

After back to back revenue failures in 2016 and 2017, the Oklahoma Legislature made a big push in their latest sessions to increase their tax base and diversify State income. House Bill 1010xx created a historic $447 million revenue package to help fund public school teacher pay raises and to try and prevent future budget crises.

Of the five candidates running for House District 66, only one opposes that package. Emily Delozier is running with the most conservative platform of the three Republican candidates, and points to the latest newsletter from the State Treasurer as justification.

“At $970.9 million, May Gross Receipts to the Treasury are a record high for May collections,” announced State Treasurer Ken Miller. “As has been the case each month for more than a year, Oklahoma’s economy is showing signs of ongoing expansion.” According to the May newsletter, gross revenue for the past twelve months is up $1.2 billion over the prior year.

The HB1010xx tax increases have yet to begin, leaving some conservative leaders calling for a complete veto of what they see as an unnecessary package. Delozier, together with conservative advocates including former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, helped found the group Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite with the goal of undoing that legislation.

“The corporations don’t pay the tax,” says Delozier. “They pass it on to somebody else.” She says the taxes on cigarettes, gas, and diesel will only negatively affect the average Oklahoman.

The OTU does not oppose the teacher pay raises themselves, passed in HB1023xx, but simply the funding mechanism behind those raises. The group is currently circulating a veto referendum petition to place State Question 799 on the ballot this November. SQ799 would put HB1010xx to a popular vote, but would leave the pay raises intact.

Despite the positive economic upturn, Denise Northrup, Office of Management and Enterprise Services director, told the Oklahoma Board of Equalization Monday that another revenue failure could be expected if SQ799 passes.

All four competitors for HD66 have declined to sign the OTE petition, while Delozier has a copy and welcomes signatures. Her work to oppose the largest tax hike in Oklahoma history has drawn endorsements from Dr. Tom Coburn, the Osage County Republican Party, and the Oklahoma Republican Assemblies over the incumbent Republican, Jadine Nollan.

"Poor leadership in Oklahoma has allowed legislators the easy way out, by throwing new taxes at old problems, instead of doing the hard work of implementing tax reform," said Coburn. "Abortion, Second Amendment rights, tax reform, jobs and educational funding are too important for business as usual, which has not worked. Emily DeLozier will serve well the Taxpayers of HD 66."

SUBMITTED.

Delozier, 70, is a lifelong fourth-generation Sandite with kids and grandkids in the Sand Springs area. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Tulsa and three Associates Degrees from Tulsa Community College. She attends First Baptist Church and is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“Our mom has always told us, if you didn’t like the way something was being done, just do it yourself,” says Delozier, who has been dissatisfied with Nollan’s tenure in office.

“Right now they’re telling us nationwide that they don’t have enough employees to fill the job market…it’s not hit Oklahoma yet.” According to the May Treasurer’s Report, unemployment stands at 4.0% with more than 74,000 Oklahomans seeking jobs.

Delozier is critical of the HB1010xx tax increase on cigarettes and cigars, which she claims will have adverse effects on the State’s lower income communities. “Oftentimes people smoke because they use it as a coping mechanism…they’re unemployed or underemployed and don’t make enough money.”

“My stance on the revenue problem is that there isn’t really a revenue problem.” Delozier points to government mismanagement as responsible for much of the State’s problems, pointing to high profile cases in the Health Department and Department of Transportation (ODOT).

ODOT recently drew allegations of mismanagement when it appeared that $230 million was missing from the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges account. State Auditor Gary Jones later found that the missing funds were appropriated by the Legislature to deal with the 2017 State Budget crisis.

In May a grand jury found that the Health Department hid more than $30 million of State funding in Federal and County accounts while also claiming a $30 million budget gap and laying off nearly 200 employees.

Delozier calls for forensic audits of all State agencies, consolidation of public school districts and eliminating superintendent positions, and ending tax incentives as ways to improve State services without raising the budget.

“In theory (tax incentives) sound nice, but the truth is it kind of discriminates…Some of these really big guys are getting it at our (small businesses') expense. People want to do business in Oklahoma anyways. If we would fix our infrastructure that would attract more business here. They have to be able to deliver our goods without falling in a giant pothole. I don’t think tax incentives are fair to other businesses or to the taxpayers.”

Delozier is open to raising the minimum wage, but is critical of the Fight for Fifteen campaign, saying that much of an increase will lead to automation and elimination of jobs.

Delozier would like to end privatized prisons in Oklahoma, saying that the for-profit system has created a pressure to fill the penitentiaries and has catapulted Oklahoma to first in the nation in per capita incarceration.

State Question 788, which will put medical marijuana on the ballot along with the HD66 election, is a no-go for Delozier. “We already have legalized CBD oil, which is nonpsychotropic, and it can help veterans with PTSD and children that have seizures. But they’re wanting the THC in the plant, which is psychotropic.”

Delozier opposed HB3375, known as the “Ball and Dice Bill” which legalized games such as craps and roulette at tribal casinos. “I don’t think we need any additional gambling in Oklahoma.”

Delozier supported the Constitutional Carry bill that would have authorized citizens age 21 and older, as well as military personnel 18 and older, to carry a handgun either openly or concealed, without a state-issued license or permit. Senate Bill 1212 passed both chambers but was vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin.

“There’s a lot of cleanup that needs to be done,” summarized Delozier. “Abortion is strong on my mind. If I could do something to bring that to an end, I would feel like I had completed my life’s mission.”

Ultimately Delozier sums up her positions as being for less government, less taxes, and more tax reform. She previously ran against Nollan in 2016 and received 25.7% of the vote.

The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26th. Delozier will face incumbent Jadine Nollan, as well as Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the votes, then the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on August 28th. The winner will face the Democratic nominee on November 6th. 

Sand Springs teacher Angela Graham running for House District 66

In the midst of a statewide teacher walkout, thousands of public educators rallied outside the State Capitol building to lobby for increased education funding. While many construction workers refused to cross the picket line to work on the Capitol remodel, one group of individuals was eagerly encouraged to enter the building: legislative candidates.

382 candidates filed to run for the House of Representatives, many with a goal of affecting major change in what some perceive as a stagnant legislature with no dedication to fighting for everyday Oklahomans. Among them was Angela Graham, who hopes to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination on June 26th for House District 66, representing Sand Springs and Northwest Tulsa.

Sandite Pride News sat down with Graham for an interview this past week at Napoli’s Italian Restaurant in downtown Sand Springs. Graham, a native Sandite, likes to keep her tax dollars as local as possible to support the small town economy. Graham currently resides in Sand Springs and both of her children attend public schools.

Graham graduated Charles Page High School in 1999, earned an Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education, and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s in Human Services and Mental Health. She currently teaches Pre-K at Deborah Brown Community School in downtown Tulsa.

Now she wants to teach the State Legislature a lesson on how to treat its citizens.  

Foremost on Graham’s mind is creating a diverse and sustainable tax base to fully fund education, infrastructure, and social services.

“When we are in a revenue failure, we should be looking at every option to get sustainable revenue for schools and roads and bridges,” says Graham.

Graham wants to end the Capital Gains tax deduction, which allows Oklahomans to avoid paying taxes on income from the sale of Oklahoma real estate or stock in Oklahoma-based firms.

She also wants to take another look at increasing the gross production tax on new oil wells. Oklahoma oil wells are taxed at 7% after their first 36 months, but were previously only taxed at 2% for the first three years. House Bill 1010xx, passed in the latest legislative session, raised that rate to 5%.

“The oil is here. They’re going to pay 7% or 9%, they’re going to stay in Oklahoma.”

Graham is a strong critic of the Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite! organization, which is circulating a veto referendum petition to undo HB1010xx.

“They’re not really concerned about everyday Oklahomans and regressive taxes…they are concerned about protecting special interests and big oil in Oklahoma. They’re not really fighting for everyday Oklahomans.”

She also feels like HB1010xx contained many regressive taxes, and sympathizes with legislators who didn’t feel comfortable voting in favor of that package.  

“I absolutely understand legislators that refused to sign that because they didn’t want poor folks being taxed more. And I also understand legislators that listened to their constituents and signed that because it was a place to start. Sometimes the vehicle for change isn’t perfect.”

Specifically Graham wasn’t fond of what she calls “moral taxes” on cigarettes and cigars.

She is also opposed to consolidating administration or looking for wasteful spending in public school districts. “I think that’s already been done. We’ve cut everything that we can, we’ve combined everything we can combine. Schools in West Tulsa that affect our district have been shut down. It’s always okay to look at wasteful spending, but there’s nothing left to cut.”

“We’re not in the mess because there’s fraud and abuse at such a rampant level that it’s caused a revenue failure for ten years. We’re in this mess because we don’t have sustainable revenue.”

She was against the “David Boren” one-cent sales tax that was defeated as a State Question in 2016, saying it was a regressive tax that disproportionately affects low income and impoverished Oklahomans.

On the workforce, Graham wants to see labor unions strengthened, wants to undo Oklahoma’s right to work laws, and wants to avoid offering tax incentives to large companies that don’t provide high-paying full-time jobs for their employees. She also supports raising the minimum wage to $15.

“There’s a problem in Oklahoma with stagnant wages with a minimum wage that keeps people poor, and those are large corporations that then also reap the benefits of their employees spending food stamp money in those same businesses.”

“When we pay living wages to everyday Oklahomans, they invest it back in the economy. Every penny that low income middle class workers make – they spend it. They’re not accruing more wealth. It’s good economics to pay them more money because it helps the sales tax, it invests in property tax, it’s just good business and it’s also moral to pay a fair and living wage.”

Graham wants to see a major overhaul of the criminal justice and foster care systems in Oklahoma.

“We are spending an insane amount of money criminalizing everyday folks in Oklahoma. When we are spending more to incarcerate grown adults than we are on per pupil spending – that’s a problem.”

She also wants to eliminate the cash bail system and wants to help ex-cons expunge their criminal records.

Graham opposed the passage of SB1140 which allows private adoption agencies not receiving tax dollars to refuse to adopt to couples whose lifestyles are in conflict with the moral or religious beliefs of the agency, specifically LGBTQIA families. That bill also drew condemnation from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who responded by banning State-funded travel to Oklahoma.

“We have a broken foster care system in Oklahoma. We have thousands of children in Oklahoma that are in desperate need of loving families. We should never make it harder for loving families to adopt children in need. It’s discriminatory, it shouldn’t have been introduced. It’s an attack on a vital part of our community.”

Graham would also like to see the foster care system expanded to provide services for young adults who “age out” of the system when they turn eighteen.  

Low voter turnout is a big point of concern for Graham, who would like to see Election Day become a national holiday. As a state she would like to see automatic voter registration with an opt-out available.

Graham personally opposed the recent Constitutional Carry bill passed by the legislature and vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin. Despite coming from a family that hunts and partakes in recreational shooting, she still believes that gun owners should go through State licensing to carry sidearms in public.

“I would have personally been opposed to (Constitutional Carry), however I understand that the polling from most of the folks in House District 66 were for it. And so when I’m elected there will come a time when I might be personally opposed to something, but if my district is telling me to vote that way, even if it goes against my party, I’m going to be required to represent their needs. And if I ever do have to draw a line in the sand, I would be transparent and make sure they understand my reasoning.”

Graham has never before run for public office, but has served in a number of volunteer capacities, including as Precinct Chair for the Democratic Party. She is an anti-racist worker with Aware Tulsa, the local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. She has also volunteered with the Parent-Child Center of Tulsa, working with their anti-bullying coalition.

Of the 125 legislative seats up for election this year, nineteen candidates filed completely unopposed and 99 filed unopposed within their party. Three Republicans filed for the District 66 seat, including incumbent Jadine Nollan.

Graham will take on former restaurant owner Rusty Rowe in the Democratic Primary on June 26th.

SEE RELATED: Tulsa restaurateur Rusty Rowe campaigns for Oklahoma House District 66