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; J.E. McReynolds, Opinion editor; Owen Canfield III. chief editorial writer; and Ray Carter, editorial writer.

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

  • Fraud issues draining federal program to help injured workers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    ONE of the many problems with an ever-bigger government is that it amplifies the impact of incompetence or corruption. That’s certainly the case with the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, where just 4 percent of administrative law judges may have facilitated $2 billion in bogus payments. The program’s payments are intended for those who can no longer work, but applicants whose disability claims are initially denied can appeal to administrative law judges. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements, U.S. Rep. (soon to be U.S. Sen.) James Lankford has focused on apparent abuses in disability payments.

  • As business booms, Oklahoma casinos, state need to keep looking for ways to help problem gamblers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    TEN years after Oklahoma voters approved a state question to allow Indian tribes to offer faster electronic gaming machines, the state has more than 115 gambling sites and hundreds of millions of dollars more in the treasury. The tribes are flourishing. Oklahoma also has thousands of problem gamblers, a not-unexpected offshoot of expanded gaming. Indeed from the outset in 2004, Oklahoma has directed funding to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to help deal with problem gamblers. Most every state does something similar. In a recent report, noted that of the 23 states that allow casino gambling, all but five have statutes providing services for people who have gambling problems. But some

  • ScissorTales: Oklahoma City woman gives mental illness a face

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    OKLAHOMA could use more people like Augusta Cox. Cox, 39, of Oklahoma City, has schizophrenia and isn’t afraid to let others know it. Why? Because she’s trying to break down the powerful stigma associated with mental illness, which affects roughly one-fifth of the state’s population. For a time about five years ago, Cox began thinking that songs on the radio were being played solely for her, and that TV hosts were talking to her. She then began hearing voices, including some that told her to consume all the pills in her house. She was admitted to a mental hospital where she stayed a month. Then, over a two-year period, she was in and out of the hospital before her schizophrenia was diagnosed. That led to a

  • Obama missing an opportunity with Ferguson, Mo., case

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    THE name “Trayvon” became a symbol for race-based injustice. President Obama embarrassed himself by rushing to judgment in the case of the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin nearly three years ago in Florida. The name “Ferguson” is the latest symbol of race-based injustice. Obama had a chance to redeem himself by working feverishly to cool tensions ahead of a grand jury determination on the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown this summer in Ferguson, Mo. Obama has done little to indicate that he values the rule of law over the law of the streets. What could be a shining moment for his presidency has been tarnished by inaction.

  • President has done an about-face on his ability to act on immigration

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    IF you like your health care plan, you can keep it. President Barack Obama made that promise numerous times in pitching his Affordable Care Act. As millions of Americans have come to learn, what the president said came out of whole cloth. It did not align with the facts. So we should probably have known to take as a yarn the many times in the past few years that Obama told those itching for immigration reform that he can’t simply act unilaterally on their behalf, that he’s not an emperor. Now, of course, he plans to don a new wardrobe and do exactly that. The president plans a prime-time address Thursday to bring out of the closet his executive order providing relief from deportation to millions of undocumented

  • Oklahoma Indian museum funding plan deserves a hearing

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    STATE Sen. Patrick Anderson, an Enid Republican who’s opposed funding the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City, now says he can support the project if the associated state tax dollars are tied to tribal enterprises. That’s a positive development, but Anderson’s shift undermines the arguments he and other museum opponents previously espoused. About $91 million has been spent on the museum so far, but builders ran out of money in July 2012. Simple preservation of the unfinished site now costs the state about $60,000 a month, plus around $5 million annually to repay state bonds previously issued for the museum’s construction.

  • Tactics during Oklahoma campaign undermine education group's mission, message

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    STAND for Children’s mission statement declares that the national group wants “to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, a college education.” That’s a worthy goal and a high standard. The organization’s Oklahoma chapter needs to meet a high standard as well for transparency. In Oklahoma, Stand for Children is primarily known for supporting Common Core academic standards in English and math. The group was among Common Core’s most vocal defenders this year before lawmakers ultimately voted to repeal the standards. Among other things, Stand for Children officials laudably and truthfully warned that repeal could cost Oklahoma its federal waiver

  • Opposition to Obamacare not likely to subside

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Nov 19, 2014

    LAWRENCE R. Jacobs, the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the University of Minnesota, is an expert on federal health care reform. He authored a book on passage of Obamacare. In a recent Oklahoma City appearance, Jacobs predicted there won’t be any major changes to the law in the near future, despite GOP control of Congress. He also suggested citizens would come to embrace the law. Political reality suggests that Jacobs is correct on the first point, but his second prediction is overly reliant on wishful thinking. Polling has consistently showed that Obamacare disapproval significantly exceeds approval, Jacobs noted. Yet individual provisions of the law poll well, and voters generally favor amendment

  • It's time for U.S. to ease drone regulations

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 18, 2014

    IT’S rare when U.S. officials should look to European countries for guidance on less-restrictive industry regulation, but such is the case with commercial drones. Currently, the United States has some of the industrialized world’s most onerous regulations regarding private-sector use of drones. In a nutshell, virtually all commercial use is illegal. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to eventually unveil less-restrictive regulations, but those rules aren’t scheduled to be finalized for several more years. In the meantime, the commercial drone industry is flourishing outside the United States. In September, the FAA authorized six film-making companies to use drones.

  • Online voter registration proposal for Oklahoma merits consideration

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 18, 2014

    THE Nov. 4 election results mean the Legislature will be even more dominated by Republicans in 2015 than it has been the past two years. The new Senate minority leader, Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, will have a caucus of eight members — down from 12 previously. This ever-shrinking minority means ever-shrinking clout for Democrats, although Bass appears unfazed. A proposal of his last week provides an example. Bass said he plans to introduce a bill next session that would allow for online voter registration, a move he hopes will translate into more people in Oklahoma going to the polls. The state generally has low voter turnout. That was especially true this month when just 41 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. The state

  • Legacy-building phase under way for Obama presidency

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 17, 2014

    GIVEN his lame duck status and the crushing defeat of Democrats in congressional elections this month, Barack Obama will have to rely even more than usual on his pen and his phone. He’d better lay in some ink cartridges and keep that phone charged because it’s clear that the next Congress is in no mood to give him what he wants on many issues — just as Obama was in no mood to compromise with Republicans on health care reform. The president has entered his legacy-building phase, which all too soon will transition to a “How grandiose will my presidential library be?” phase.

  • Group works through faith community to help Oklahoma's foster care children

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 17, 2014

    THE late Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” These words strike a chord with Benjamin Nockels. “It’s safe to say in many ways, our society is quite sick,” says Nockels. His organization, the 111Project, tries to provide a little healing. The 111Project — one church, one family, one purpose — works with the faith community to increase the number of foster families in Oklahoma. The 111Project has made a difference, but the need remains great. Since its launch in April 2011, the 111Project has been credited by the Department of Human Services with recruiting about 850 foster and adoptive families. That’s

  • OU, state, have benefited from David Boren's vision, leadership

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 16, 2014

    Monday marks 20 years that Boren has served as university president

  • The president's misplaced priorities, outdated solutions

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    Trying to solve a nonproblem

  • ScissorTales: Politics still about the art of persuasion

    The Oklahoman editorials | Published: Sat, Nov 15, 2014

    DEMOCRATS who argue that demography is political destiny often cite the estimate that whites will comprise just 47 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. Whites are currently more likely to vote Republican, while minority groups are more likely to vote Democratic. If voting habits stay unchanged, this means Democrats will easily win future U.S. elections. There’s just one problem with that projection: Voting habits change over time. The distance between today and 2050 is the same as the distance between 2014 and 1978. Oklahoma’s demographics have shifted since that time, but not dramatically and the state is certainly not getting whiter. Yet voting behavior in Oklahoma has done a 180-degree turn since 1978.

  • Far more often than not, officer-involved shootings in Oklahoma are justified

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    JEREMY Sherbon was looking for trouble. Or perhaps he was drunk, or high, or suffered from mental illness. But when an Oklahoma City police officer responding to a robbery call tried to detain him early Saturday, an altercation began that ended with Sherbon lying in a convenience store parking lot, shot dead by another officer. Sherbon became the 22nd person in Oklahoma killed by police gunfire this year, and the seventh in Oklahoma City. The city had six officer-involved fatality shootings in 2013; it’s been a decade since as many as seven occurred in one year in Oklahoma City. The number of police-involved shooting deaths has been climbing in recent years. The Tulsa World reports that since 2009, 109 people in Oklahoma

  • No good reasons to maintain U.S. ban on crude oil exports

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 13, 2014

    THOSE octane numbers on gasoline pumps relate to chemical composition. The higher the number, the higher the price. Motorists know that not all gasoline is the same, but the assumption is that the stuff from which gas is made is the same. But crude varies considerably in its makeup; price differentials are seen in crude as well as in gasoline. In general, U.S. refineries are set up to process the so-called heavy, sour crudes. Thus, the lighter and sweeter crude being produced as part of the shale revolution is available for other markets. But it can’t reach those markets if Washington continues a longstanding ban on crude oil exports. The United States is poised to surpass Saudia Arabia as the leading producer of oil

  • For some, a glimmer of good news from Oklahoma's low voter turnout

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 13, 2014

    LOW turnout in the Nov. 4 Oklahoma elections led to laments about voter apathy. For some political operatives, however, the anemic participation rate offered a glimmer of good news. Only about 41 percent of registered voters turned out in Oklahoma, which is less than normal for a nonpresidential election in which an incumbent governor is on the ballot. The 2014 turnout produced the fewest votes cast in a gubernatorial election since 1978. Votes cast for governor are linked to requirements for getting initiative petitions and third-party presidential nominees on the Oklahoma ballot. The lower the turnout, the lower the burden for future ballot access.

  • No need for Oklahoma 2nd District election do-over

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Nov 12, 2014

    THE 2014 election season ended Nov. 4, but Oklahoma Democrats want a do-over in the 2nd Congressional District. This would be a pointless waste of taxpayer funds. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a Republican, won 70 percent of the vote against his Democratic opponent, retired school teacher Earl E. Everett. Everett’s ballot appearance was posthumous: The 81-year-old candidate was injured in a car wreck on Oct. 31 and died about 48 hours before the polls closed. If a political party’s nominee dies five days or more following a primary runoff election but prior to the general election, state law says a substitute candidate “will be permitted” to have his or her name placed on the general election ballot.

  • Nationwide, education policy measures received voter support on Nov. 4

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Nov 12, 2014

    THE midterm elections reinforced, once again, that voters may be pro-education but they’re also not spendthrifts. Oklahoma lawmakers should take note. In Nevada, voters soundly rejected Question 3, an initiative to create a 2 percent margins tax on businesses with annual revenues of at least $1 million. The proposal would have generated an estimated $800 million annually, purportedly for school funding. Supporters decried Nevada’s per-pupil funding, which ranks 49th in the country (below Oklahoma). But the new tax would have applied to business revenue, not profit, wiping out many low-margin businesses. Research by Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis found the margins tax would be equivalent to a state corporate tax rate of