BY JOE DORMAN
As I write this column on Election Day, I hope that each of you who is able to vote cast your ballot for the candidates and state questions you feel were best. I mailed in my ballot this year because of the predictions of long lines at the polls and I was helping some of my friends with their Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts all day. I know this can be annoying sometimes to voters, but it is important to get correct information out so they can make an informed decision. Too often there is misinformation or the truth, but not the entire truth, is pushed by one side.
I have heard many complaints this year about the independent expenditures which often attack candidates. I have seen too many of these go out over the years and it is not just one political party that pushes the envelope with these attack ads. I tried a couple of years ago to require reporting of these donations, but that amendment was killed in the State Senate. I am hoping this year there will be enough interest to see more openness and transparency of political donations. Right now, there is a $5,000 cap on donations to candidates and a $50 threshold which requires the donor’s name be reported if gone over that limit. On these other accounts that are independent, anyone can give pretty much any limit and the names are not listed as the money is shuffled from one account to another. We used to lock up people for money laundering, but this is just as bad in my book.
I want to thank all the men and women who put their names on the ballot this year, both in the Primary Elections and the General Election. We often see good people decide to make personal sacrifices to dedicate themselves to public service and those who lose are often forgotten. The money they raised and the time they took away from friends and family to campaign for an office should not be dismissed or forgotten. I have volunteered for many candidates over the years who I was convinced would make excellent elected officials, but the majority of the voters had a different opinion. That is the beauty of our system: majority rules. I hope that the decision was always an informed one and not made due to the aforementioned negative campaigning done solely to win an office for the wrong reasons.
We also do not see the hours that go into the work that public servants do to represent their constituencies. I have had some great mentors over the years; from former-representative Clay Pope all the way back to our student government days at Oklahoma State University, to former Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins and the work ethic I learned from watching her in 1995 as she served as a first-term legislator. I have seen many more good people serve than the alternative, but we must be careful to send the best to serve in office.
I have said it many times, but I want to again thank those in House District 65 for allowing me the opportunity to serve them at the State Capitol over these past ten years. I have had an amazing experience fulfilling a passion I first developed when I was a page for Senator Ray Giles back in high school, continuing through my years of participating in the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature (OIL) during college. I hope I have passed along some of that same interest to the current students in OIL and the YMCA Youth in Government program, along with the other student political programs in which I volunteer. In the words of a former politician with an analogy that I take to heart, I hope that when I am done with my final legislative term in 2014 that I have left the woodpile just a little bit higher.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me to discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305 . My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking the time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.