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The Archivist: Groundhog Day date a momentous topic in 1919 for Oklahoma politician

Mary Phillips reports on stories from The Oklahoman's archives.
BY MARY PHILLIPS Published: February 18, 2013

Political candidates often make promises to their constituents in hopes of being elected, but changing the date of Groundhog Day to Valentine's Day seems a bit of a stretch.

In 1918, Dr. M.W. Romine was elected to the state House of Representatives by the citizens of Le Flore County

According to a story in the Jan. 20, 1919, edition of The Oklahoman, Romine was going to try to make good on one of his promises.

“In the good old days gone by, Oklahoma legislatures have been called up to wrestle with many weighty problems of statecraft — stategraft, also.

Regulatory measures without number, ranging from suggestions to require women to wear their skirts long enough to drag the ground, on up the line to declaring the piercing of ears to be barbarous and unnecessary voluntary punishment and placing it under ban, have in times received great and serious consideration.

John Barleycorn has lost many a memorable battle within the walls of Oklahoma legislative assemblies.

Only recently both houses decided within the brief space of a few hours that a league of nations ... is a good thing for this old world and ought to be established.

But all of these momentous problems, which received the best thought and effort of some of the most distinguished men who have ever signed a legislative payroll in Oklahoma, are soon to be relegated from memory, which is the only place they remain, and a newer, more weighty and far reaching problem — it reaches all the way to Arkansas — is to receive the closest attention of the best legislative talent.

It is the question of establishing once and for all that date which is to be observed as ground hog day in Oklahoma.”

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