The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord Everest, member at large; Scott Briggs, Vice President of Administration, OPUBCO Communications Group; Owen Canfield, Opinion editor; and Ray Carter, chief editorial writer.

To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email

  • Expert's critique of OK education standards is worth noting

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 9, 2016

    IN 2014, the Legislature repealed Common Core academic standards in Oklahoma. State officials have since worked to develop a replacement set of standards for English language arts and math, which received approval from the state Board of Education. Now the Legislature has to sign off on them. But the new standards aren't dramatically different than the repealed Common Core standards, according to one expert. It will be interesting to see if legislators who previously decried Common Core as an apocalyptic federal takeover now embrace what they previously claimed to abhor. Of greater concern is that the proposed standards may fall short of officials' promise to produce something that would make Oklahoma a national education leader.

  • New Hampshire could be end of road for some in GOP field

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 9, 2016

    DONALD Trump underperformed in the Iowa Republican caucus. If he does so again in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, it may well mean the longtime front-runner's bid for the GOP presidential nomination is in trouble. For a number of other Republican candidates, New Hampshire likely will mark the end of the road, and should. Losing one state where you once held a comfortable lead, as Trump did in Iowa, isn't necessarily cause for alarm. Any number of candidates through the years have recovered after losing the campaign's first big test, and gone on to become their party's nominee. But if Trump were to somehow lose in New Hampshire, where last week he held a 20-point edge over Ted Cruz in the Real Clear Politics

  • $10-per-barrel plan is latest swipe at oil-gas industry

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    PRESIDENT Barack Obama has spent seven years in the White House doing everything he can to hammer the U.S. oil and gas industry. No use stopping now, right? The budget Obama will send to Congress on Tuesday includes a $10-per-barrel “fee” on domestic oil, in order to fill the hole in the federal highway fund, but also pay for some of his green dreams like high-speed rail and charging stations for electric vehicles. This tax — let's call it what it is, even if the president won't — would be phased in over five years and be paid by oil companies. Although ultimately, of course, it would be paid by motorists because the energy companies will pass it along to consumers.

  • Tax incentive reform won't be easy sell to Oklahoma lawmakers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    WOW. That was fast! The first tax credit reduction horse out of the starting gate at the Legislature has already been scratched. On just the second day of the 2016 session, a Senate committee killed a bill that would have eliminated double dipping on state incentive programs. It happened a day after Gov. Mary Fallin appealed in her State of the State address for tax credit and incentive reform to help close a massive budget hole. This seems like a no-brainer in these times, but clearly it isn't. “When we're already seeing our major economy in oil and gas get its rear end handed to it by an economic depression in oil prices,” said Sen.

  • Dependent district proposal merits Oklahoma lawmakers' support

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    THIS year, Gov. Mary Fallin and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman have called for administrative consolidation in Oklahoma dependent school districts, sites that serve students from kindergarten to the sixth or eighth grades. Opponents immediately shifted to fear-mongering, insisting that two schools sharing a superintendent was the equivalent of closing an entire school. In reality, those schools will continue operating just fine even if they share an administrator with another school. And the proposal could free up money for other needs, such as hiring teachers or giving current teachers a pay raise. Oklahoma has more than 500 school districts. Of that total, 97 are dependent districts that do not provide students

  • Clinton-Sanders battle may be splitting Democratic Party's base

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    FOR months, political prognosticators have warned that Republican voters who support Donald Trump may sit out the general election if he isn't the GOP nominee because they view the other candidates as sell-outs. Now it seems Democrats could face the same problem. This became apparent during the Iowa caucuses, which Hillary Clinton won by the narrowest of margins. When her victory speech was played on live TV at the watch party of her opponent, avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, his supporters' disdain was undeniable. As Clinton declared, “I am a progressive,” the Sanders crowd erupted in booing and began to chant, “She's a liar.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Feed the Children in good hands with J.C. Watts

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    J.C. Watts is the ideal person to lead Oklahoma City-based Feed the Children — he's a man with a high public profile and a shining reputation and, as a former Baptist youth minister, understands the concept of doing the Lord's work. That's what Feed the Children has done since 1979, providing food and care to people across the country and around the world. Yet the charity has struggled to recover from the poor publicity that accompanied the ousting of founder Larry Jones in 2009. Several leaders have followed. Watts, 58, provides potential long-term stability at the top as president and CEO, which is highly important to any organization.

  • For Democrats, Fallin budget doesn't raise the correct tax

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    FOR months, Oklahoma Democrats have touted tax increases to deal with the state's $900 million shortfall. This week, Gov. Mary Fallin unveiled a budget that cuts spending but also includes some tax increases to offset cuts. We can understand Republican resistance to those tax proposals, but one would expect Democrats to cheer. Instead, some Democrats immediately condemned Fallin for meeting them halfway. Fallin's budget calls for increasing the tobacco tax by $1.50 per cigarette pack and applying the sales tax to some currently untaxed services. (She indicated the sales tax rate could be reduced even as the base of taxed items is increased.) Democrats quickly decried Fallin's proposals, insisting only income tax

  • New report underscores need for federal spending reductions

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    THE national debt has exploded under President Barack Obama, and is set to grow even more unless spending is brought under control. A new report from the Campaign to Fix the Debt and the Concord Coalition indicates Republican presidential candidates are facing that reality far more than their Democratic counterparts. The most recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office show that annual federal deficits will begin rising again this year, reaching more than $1 trillion by 2022 and almost $1.4 trillion by 2026. The debt held by the public is $13.6 trillion, around $110,000 per American family. It's on pace to increase by another $10 trillion over the next decade.

  • Community efforts are vital in addressing suicide

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Feb 4, 2016

    RESIDENTS in Anadarko are living through dark and frustrating times, trying to understand why four young people — one of them an 11-year-old boy — killed themselves in the span of two months. Mental health officials in Edmond have some idea what they're going through. In 2012, 13 people died by suicide in Edmond, one of the largest totals in the city's recorded history. Three of those deaths occurred within a few weeks of each other in January that year. All three teenage boys died of gunshot wounds to the head. The youngest victim was an eighth-grader. That spate of suicides led to two community summits that year to discuss the issue of suicide, and to the creation of a suicide prevention task force.

  • Front-runners got knocked down a peg in Iowa

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    THE Iowa caucuses provided a fascinating start to the process of choosing the Republican and Democratic nominees for president, although Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton might not agree. Trump and Clinton, the front-runners since entering their respective races, came out of Iowa limping after poor performances. Trump was bested by Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican race, with Sen. Marco Rubio finishing a strong third. Cruz and Rubio outperformed what polling data had shown; Trump underperformed, despite turning out the vote — more than 180,000, a GOP record. On the Democratic side, the Iowa Democratic Party didn't announce until early Tuesday that Clinton had defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in the closest balloting in the

  • Getting executions right is focus for Oklahoma AG's office

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    FIVE executions are now pending in Oklahoma, after the state Court of Criminal Appeals agreed last week to hold off on setting execution dates for two more death row inmates. The move by the court was proper and not surprising. That's because the next time Oklahoma executes an inmate, everything about the procedure must be beyond reproach. That didn't happen in recent examples, leading Attorney General Scott Pruitt to investigate via a multicounty grand jury. That work is ongoing. Meantime, Pruitt says he would like to see the state Department of Corrections work to obtain a license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and for the state to consider establishing a compounding pharmacy. They are ideas that have merit.

  • Oklahoma Gov. Fallin deserves credit for ambitious budget proposals

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    IN the days prior to her State of the State speech, Gov. Mary Fallin promised a bold approach to dealing with Oklahoma's significant fiscal challenges. She wasn't kidding. The budget Fallin submitted to lawmakers Monday, the first day of the 2016 session, includes a plan to fund $3,000 across-the-board teacher pay raises, along with proposals to add money to the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services, and fill the pending $900 million funding gap without touching the state's Rainy Day Fund or using any one-time revenue. “We can do it,” she said more than once. Crafting a budget that reflects her desires “will require hard work and important votes,” Fallin said. “But it will be the right thing

  • Administration's push for more biofuels adds up to a lot of green

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    IF Oklahoma had the first-in-the-nation voting in presidential races, then perhaps wheat subsidies would be a central issue. As it is, Iowa votes first and the ethanol subsidy is a key issue. In the Obama administration, no state seems to need much help promoting fuels made with organic material. Indeed, the passion for biofuels is so intense that Uncle Sam will pay almost anything for a gallon of the stuff. Which is to say that you will pay almost anything. Consider that in 2012 the Department of Defense paid $424 per gallon for fuel derived from sea algae. That's a lot of green for a little green stuff. The Pentagon is intent on proving that its fleets of ships, trucks and aircraft don't have to rely entirely on

  • Iowa vote will provide first referendum on Trump

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    IOWA will occupy the center of the U.S. political universe Monday, as caucus-goers make their choices for president. This is the first step in a long selection process that ultimately will produce a nominee for the Democratic and Republican parties. Democrats will choose among three candidates (yes, Martin O'Malley is still in the race). Meantime the Republican field has a dozen candidates (if you include Jim Gilmore, who's been an afterthought since entering the race) who are hoping to use a strong showing in Iowa to propel their campaigns. The Republican race is the most compelling because of the Donald Trump factor. Trump has been a tour de force since launching his campaign in August by promising to get Mexico to pay for

  • Dodd-Frank's real-world impacts continue to harm consumers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    THE Dodd-Frank financial reform law was enacted in 2010 to, supposedly, keep the mistakes of large financial institutions from producing a recession. Five-plus years later, “too big to fail” institutions are doing fine, but smaller banks and consumers are not. That's not a new observation, but it was again reinforced by new research released by the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. AAF concluded that Dodd-Frank has led to a 14.5 percent drop in consumer revolving credit (such as credit cards) since 2010. “Dodd-Frank's $30 billion in final regulatory costs and 72 million hours of paperwork must be borne by someone and will likely have effects throughout the economy,” the AAF report states.

  • Business as usual not an option in 2016 Oklahoma legislative session

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jan 31, 2016

    LAWMAKERS convene Monday facing a state budget shortfall of at least $900 million. As a result, any legislation considered this year must fall into one of two categories: serious policy measures that provide a meaningful benefit to Oklahomans, and those that increase government efficiency. There's no way to avoid budget cuts. And there's no need for every government practice and program to be perpetuated in its current form. Some programs tolerated during financially flush years may need to be eliminated now to provide more money to true core needs, while others must be streamlined. As Gov. Mary Fallin told The Oklahoman editorial board last week: “It's a time for us to be bold, to do things that we talk about doing,

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Coalition's sentencing reform effort is worthwhile

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Jan 30, 2016

    A newly formed organization plans to ask Oklahoma voters to help reduce the state's crowded prisons. This week, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform announced a ballot initiative that would reclassify certain low-level offenses, such as drug possession and low-level property crimes, as misdemeanors instead of felonies. Money saved from having fewer of these offenders locked up would help fund programs that treat drug addiction and mental health conditions, which are at the root of much Oklahoma crime, and help pay for education and job training programs. The chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform is Kris Steele, who pushed for corrections reform while Republican speaker of the Oklahoma House of

  • Despite concerns with building, gains evident in Oklahoma ME's office

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    MOST of the editorials we've written in recent years about the state medical examiner's office have highlighted the many problems the agency has faced due to its cramped and outdated headquarters. Not all the news is bad, however. Under the leadership of Dr. Eric Pfeifer, who was hired as chief medical examiner in March 2011, the agency has been able to essentially wipe out a backlog of cases that had been the norm for years. The Tulsa World reports that the ME's office expects the 645 pending cases will be processed by March, which would allow the agency to meet the national standard of completing postmortem reports within 90 days of autopsy. Amy Elliott, the agency's chief administrative officer, credits Pfeifer's

  • This year, most candidates for president inspiring hostility

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    THIS year's presidential race has drawn one of the largest fields of serious Republican contenders in recent memory. Yet polling by the Pew Research Center suggests this group is proving a disappointment to many voters. There is one upside for Republicans: Voters aren't exactly blown away by the Democrat contenders, either. Donald Trump may be the front-runner for the GOP nomination, but he's not winning the broader public's affection. Pew found 31 percent of voters think Trump would be either a good or great president. But 52 percent think he would be a poor or terrible president. The good news, if one can call it that, is that more voters than not also think Hillary Clinton would be a lousy president.