Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sally Bell now chair of Tulsa County Republicans

Conservative Republican Sally Bell has been elected Chair of the Tulsa County Republican Party. See Tulsa World story.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tulsa World Editorial on Oklahoma Women's Coalition

New Voice: Will group raise status of women?
Editorial from Tulsa World's Editorial Writers
Friday, February 20, 2009
2/20/2009 3:27:25 AM

It's too early to know whether a new advocacy organization, the Oklahoma Women's Coalition, will make a difference on the status of women in this state. One thing's for sure — such a group can't hurt.

A recent study by the Institute of Women's Policy Research found that Oklahoma is the second-worst state for women to reside.

A number of factors, none of them good, go into that discouraging, disturbing and embarrassing ranking. Oklahoma puts more women in jail, per capita, than any other state in the nation. The state ranks No. 4 nationally per capita in the number of women killed by their partners.

Various dedicated groups and leaders are tackling both problems as well as others, but the situation cannot be turned around overnight and needs the full attention of the policymakers and, of course, the public.

Jean Warner, director of Oklahoma Women's Coalition, said she and others interested in the subject had been meeting for years informally. "I was not aware of the dire situation Oklahoma women are in until I saw a study a few years ago that brought all the factors together. It was quite disturbing.

"There's really no organization like this in Oklahoma," Warner said. "We want to fill that void for people who want to know how policies at state agencies and the Legislature impact women and girls."

The group, funded by a $10,000 grant from the Women's Foundation of Oklahoma, came to the Capitol this week to educate new members on the legislative process and to meet state leaders.

Effective advocacy presupposes someone is listening. Members of this group probably heard supportive statements in the corridors of power. The trick will be turning that sympathy into action.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Check out's 2009 Legislative Primer

Need a basic primer on the Oklahoma legislative and budget process?
Check out's "2009 Legislative Overview" at
You can view it as a slideshow presentation or print it as a 41-page PDF document.

More TV coverage of OWC launch

The Oklahoma Women's Coalition official launch also got nice coverage from Tulsa's KTUL HERE, Fox23 HERE, News9 in Oklahoma City HERE, NewsOn6 HERE. Thank you, all. (I promise to stop this soon!)

Thank you KFOR-TV for reporting on the OWC event

Thank you, KFOR television in Oklahoma City for reporting on the Oklahoma Women's Coalition event at the State Capitol yesterday!

The Oklahoman article on Oklahoma Women's Coalition event

Julie Bisbee, Capital Bureau reporter for The Oklahoman, wrote a nice article today on the Oklahoma Women's Coalition event at the State Capitol. But who took that awful picture of me? To read it, click HERE.

The Journal Record's article re Oklahoma Women's Coalition event

Ooops - they locked nonsubscribers out again. Wish they wouldn't do that! Here's the article; I'll try to get the Publisher's permission on Monday! (Sorry, Mary!)

Coalition advocates for women’s advancement
by Janice Francis-Smith
The Journal Record February 19, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Wednesday, another organization added its name to the list of groups formed to advocate for women in Oklahoma – the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition – with the intentions of taking Oklahoma off the top of several lists the state does not want to be on.

“We are No. 1 in incarcerated women and child abuse, No. 4 in the divorce rate and No. 6 in teen births,” said Jean Warner, chairwoman of OWC. Oklahoma is ranked the third worst state in America for women, said Warner, adding that the state ranks fourth in women murdered by men, 41st in women’s employment and earnings, 42nd in women’s overall health and 45th in women in managerial and professional jobs.Warner also writes for the Oklahoma Women’s Network Web site and blog, is a co-founder of Oklahoma’s N.E.W. (National Education for Women) Leadership program, and serves as a member of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women’s Advisory Committee.

Coalition members include the Oklahoma chapters of Business & Professional Women and the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation, YWCA Oklahoma City and YWCA Tulsa, as well as other groups. The group represents more than 75,000 Oklahoma women and girls.
Oklahoma consistently ranks near the bottom of the national Institute for Women’s Policy Research state rankings, scoring poorly in political participation, employment and earnings, social and political autonomy, health and other quality-of-life indicators.

“The state is coming up short when it comes to creating an environment that influences women and girls to achieve their full potential,” Warner said. OWC, which is two months old, now is working to establish relationships with experts in key policy areas and with policymakers.
“We want to be a highly respected resource for legislators and policymakers,” said Warner. OWC, formed as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, will focus this year on building its knowledge regarding education, health care, incarceration, violence, aging and work and families.
Warner was joined by Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy in unveiling the commission’s logo – the letters O, W and C arranged to look like a woman’s face.

Oklahoma Women's Coalition on OETA's Oklahoma News Report

I got to talk about the Oklahoma Women's Coalition on OETA's "Oklahoma News Report" last night. Oklahoma's newspapers are coping with the depressed economy by cutting back on staff -- including Capitol Bureau reporters. So Oklahoma is truly blessed to have a statewide educational television station committed to reporting on what is happening in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Thank you OETA - and especially Lori Rasmussen for sending me a Tweet, Bob Sands for lining me up (don't wear green if you will be sitting in front of a green screen), Dick Pryor for asking great questions, George Tomek and Ross Dixon for making me feel at ease (and for the thumbs up signs)!

And very special thanks to the nice young man I flagged down in the KOCO-TV parking lot at 6:12pm in desperation (yes - in spite of Bob's great directions I managed to get hopelessly lost). He just smiled and said, "Follow me" and drove to the OETA studios! God is good.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oklahoma Women's Coalition Officially Launched Today at State Capitol

Most Oklahomans are not aware of the sobering statistics regarding Oklahoma women and girls:

Oklahoma ranks

# 1 in incarcerated women and 2/3rds are single mothers
# 1 in child abuse
# 4 in the divorce rate
# 4 in females murdered by their partners
# 6 in teen births
Nearly one in five Oklahoma girls never graduates high school.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked Oklahoma 48th in the nation on the status of women. That puts us third from the bottom.

I think you will agree with me . . . these statistics are NOT OKAY.

The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition is a new statewide bipartisan organization that wants to change these statistics.

Today the Coalition went to the Oklahoma State Capitol to put the spotlight on women across the state who struggle every day just to provide basic needs for their families. These are Oklahoma women and girls who are overlooked, who fall through the safety net and
who do not achieve their full potential.

The Coalition will gather and disseminate information on programs and issues important to women and girls. It is also looking at bills in the Oklahoma Legislature that would help women and girls succeed. They are focusing on a range of issues -- as they relate to women and girls -- including aging, education, families, health care, incarceration, violence, and work.
Images: US Congresswoman Mary Fallin offers suggestions and encouragement. Center: Legislative leaders of the house and Senate brief participants on the "Hot Topics" in the 2009 Legislature. Bottom: Lt Governor Jari Askins, Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy and Coalition Chair Jean Warner unveil the Coalitions official logo in the blue Room during press conference.

A special thanks to Oklahoma City TV channel KFOR and Dick Pryor at OETA's Oklahoma News report for covering the event on their news broadcasts this evening. :-)

And here is the AP story on the event:

Coalition to advocate for women, girls
2/18/09, 11:47 a.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A new coalition will advocate for policies to help women in Oklahoma reach their full potential. Oklahoma Women's Coalition chairwoman Jean Warner says Oklahoma is the third worst state in the nation for women and girls. Warner says Oklahoma is No. 1 among the states in incarcerating women, No. 4 in the divorce rate and No. 6 in teenage births.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy took part in a news conference on Wednesday to formally launching the coalition. Warner says Oklahoma is coming up short when it comes to creating an environment favorable to women. She says the coalition will advocate and disseminate information on women's issues to lawmakers, state agencies and other organizations.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Edith Kinney Gaylord

Has anyone written a biography of Oklahoman Edith Kinney Gaylord? She had a fascinating professional career and left a major legacy for Oklahoma and the United States in the Inasmuch Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

The daughter of Inez and E.K. Gaylord, she was the first female employee on the Associated Press general news staff. She worked in New York but was soon assigned to their Washington, D.C. bureau. When First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt insisted that the AP provide a female reporter, they sent Edith Gaylord. She served as president of the National Women's Press Club.
Today there are professorships and libraries and school of journalism buildings across the nation named for her. She deserves a well written biography. If there is one out there already, someone please let me know!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oklahoma Vocalist Molly Bee Dies at 69

You may not remember the name of this Oklahoman who achieved fame at age 13. But you might recall the song she recorded: "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus." Bee (n. Molly Gene Beachwood) was born in Oklahoma City on August 18, 1939. Read more about Molly Bee HERE.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mary Melon says, "Oklahoma lacking in number of women legislators"

Mary Melon, publisher of The Journal Record, has a wonderful opinion piece on the need for more women in the Oklahoma Legislature. She references the Oklahoma Women's Coalition, Oklahoma's N.E.W. Leadership program, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women and more. Her best line perhaps is this:
At the end of the day, there is a strong correlation between the lack of women in our state Legislature and key indicators of economic health and well-being of families.
Go, Mary! Check it out at by clicking HERE.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Teresa Miller's New Website is Great Resource for Book Lovers

Teresa Miller's OETA television program "Writing Out Loud" on Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. has brought us excellent interviews with top writers including Ken Burns, Pat Conroy, Shelby Foote, Janis Ian, Sue Monk Kidd, Lynn Redgrave, Alexander McCall Smith, Amy Tan, Shirley Jones.

Teresa now has a new web site called Write TV where episodes of her shows are archived. Before the end of the year, there will be 50 episodes on line. Her interviews with world-famous authors are extremely well done.

Click here to watch her interview with Tulsa's own Putlizer Prize winner, Tracy Letts, that was aired in September 2008 about his wonderful play, August: Osage County.

More shows will be added soon, including an interview with Tracy's mom, Billie Letts, author of Where the Heart Is and Made in America. Billie's segment will be aired on Channel 11 on Monday, February 16th, and later it will be added to the web site.

Thanks, Barbara Santee, for calling this to our attention.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Rep Ann Coody to represent Oklahoma on the Education Commission of the States

State Representative Ann Coody (R-Lawton) has been appointed by House Speaker Chris Benge as the Oklahoma Legislature’s representative on the Education Commission of the States. The Education Commission of the States is part of the Compact for Education that meets in Denver, Colo. It provides a forum for all branches of government in the compact states to discuss educational policies. “The House leadership is committed to providing greater accountability and standards to Oklahoma schools,” Coody said. “As chair of the Oklahoma Common Education Committee, I will already have a role to play in crafting educational policy here. Being on this commission will provide a view of policy in other states.”