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

  • More college grads needed in Oklahoma, but so too are other post-secondary degrees

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    EARLIER this month, The Washington Post breathlessly reminded readers that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had dropped out of college. The headline: “As Scott Walker mulls White House bid, questions linger over college exit.” Pundits predictably used the article as a springboard to discuss whether Walker boasts the necessary credentials for the presidency, to which he presumably aspires. A debate we find more interesting than whether a four-year degree should be a prerequisite for the presidency is whether a four-year degree should be a prerequisite for very many careers at all. As the school-to-success pipeline is currently constructed, four-year degrees are undeniably important — especially if you measure success by

  • A few good bills are being approved by Oklahoma lawmakers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    AMID the noise created by the many bad pieces of legislation filed and considered this session by Oklahoma lawmakers — and there are plenty of those — there also are some thoughtful and potentially beneficial bills that are making their way through the process. They deserve mention because the Legislature really does get it right now and then. The trouble is that members spend far too much time on ideological benders or personal agendas that help give the Capitol a bad name. An example is the attempt to turn on its ear the teaching of Advanced Placement U.S. history in high schools.

  • Oklahoma meter bill would raise costs, reduce benefits

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    IN attempting to appease a small but vocal sliver of the population, state lawmakers may enact laws that actually impose new burdens on the broad majority. This appears to be the case with legislation allowing citizens to opt out of smart meter installation. Smart meters allow utilities to track consumption levels and transmit information without sending a meter reader to every house. The meters allow power companies to offer innovative pricing plans in which consumers may shift usage to low-demand hours in exchange for lower rates. Those plans, in turn, can reduce the need for construction of new power plants, which ultimately raise rates for consumers. Yet smart meters have been controversial in some circles.

  • Keystone veto message by Obama difficult to believe

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Feb 26, 2015

    PERHAPS President Barack Obama took a low-key approach to his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline — issuing a statement instead of making it a photo op at the White House — because he was concerned about being able to keep a straight face. In his veto message Tuesday, Obama said that, “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.” Cuts short thorough consideration? Really? The northern leg of the Keystone pipeline has been debated and vetted and debated some more for the past six years.

  • Plenty of blame-dodging evident in recent Oklahoma child abuse case

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    IT’S not my fault. This is the sentiment that comes through loud and clear from just about everyone involved in the case of a 7-year-old Oklahoma girl who suffered physical and psychological abuse, allegedly at the hands of her witch-costume-wearing grandmother. The grandmother, 49-year-old Geneva Robinson of Oklahoma City, is now accused of abuse and neglect. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s frustration with the Department of Human Services — “They did nothing,” he said last week — is clear and perhaps understandable, although this case should leave Oklahomans angry at more than DHS. The girl’s mother? She called a DHS hotline last summer to report concerns about what she saw on a

  • Walmart should be saluted for raising employee pay

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    IT’S not The Jungle out there. The reference is to Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel about Chicago’s Packingtown, where the working man was underpaid, overworked, cheated and swindled every which way. You wouldn’t think much has changed based on the reaction to Walmart’s announcement that it’s voluntarily raising pay for workers at a time when Obama-era wage stagnation continues apace. Thus it was that the Associated Press initial release on the story carried headlines such as “Walmart raises still leave many near poverty line.” In other words, let’s not salute the retailing giant for raising pay. Let’s denigrate Walmart for not raising pay nearly enough! We choose to salute Walmart.

  • Oklahoma teacher pay plan should address market needs

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    A legislative committee has approved an across-the-board pay raise for Oklahoma teachers even though members admitted they don’t have a way to pay for it. Given the roughly $600 million state budget shortfall, that isn’t going to change any time soon. So the bill’s passage was more empty political gesture than sincere effort. Rather than engage in theatrics, it would be better if lawmakers used this session to actually study the issue and develop a serious, credible pay plan. Oklahoma’s average teacher salary ($44,128) is less than the average salary in surrounding states. But a look at the data shows the gap isn’t always as large as advertised, and that jobs in other states can require skills many Oklahoma teachers

  • Salyer, Stonecipher merit support in OKC council elections

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    A week from today, on March 3, voters in parts of Oklahoma City will choose their representatives to the city council. In all, 10 candidates are seeking election in wards 2, 6 and 8. Incumbent Councilwoman Meg Salyer deserves re-election to a third term representing Ward 6, which includes much of downtown and neighborhoods north and south of the central business district. Salyer has worked to improve her ward while showing a willingness to work together with other council members to benefit the city at large. Salyer, 59, says she wants to ensure the ongoing MAPS 3 projects stay on schedule and “exceed the expectations of voters.

  • Oklahoma's Open Records Act is taking a beating

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    Last week, a Cleveland County judge agreed not to make available to the public a videotape showing University of Oklahoma football player Joe Mixon striking a woman last summer. She suffered four broken bones in her face. Mixon reached a plea deal and was given a one-year deferred sentence. He also was suspended from the team for the season. A recent change to the Open Records Act says facts concerning an arrest must be made public upon request, and also that copies should be allowed too. Norman’s city attorney, police department and the district attorney all refused to make copies of the videotape public. The city argued that what was being sought “does not depict an arrest or the cause of the arrest.” That a judge agreed is

  • Why sue if Bible is just another book?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    AS an organization of atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s members view the Bible as, basically, just another book. Yet their threat to sue some Oklahoma schools that have allowed Bibles to be donated to fifth-graders suggests the foundation’s members believe the Bible is far more powerful than their “freethinker” rhetoric suggests. The foundation is upset that up to 26 Oklahoma schools have allowed officials with Gideons International to donate Bibles to fifth-grade students. A spokesman for the Freedom From Religion Foundation says this violates church-state separation.

  • In attacking Oklahoma state budget hole, every little bit of savings helps

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 22, 2015

    WHAT does reducing or eliminating state agency “swag” expenditures have to do with filling an Oklahoma budget hole that has grown to a whopping $611.3 million? Some might say not much. After all, the amount identified by state Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger from fiscal year 2014 — $28.5 million — wouldn’t do much to fill the hole that lawmakers face. But to dismiss Doerflinger’s attack on swag is to endorse the status quo, and state government can’t afford to do that any longer. The categories in the budget system that produce the $28.5 million total include promotional expenses and “Exhibitions, Shows and Special Events.” These are ways that state agencies make their services known to wider

  • In fighting obesity in Oklahoma, good practices more important than policy

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Feb 22, 2015

    IN the initial installments of “Obese Oklahoma,” a series to explore the problem of obesity in our state, Oklahoman reporters Jaclyn Cosgrove and Nick Trougakos relay that Oklahoma has not only one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the United States, but also the sixth-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. Surprisingly, though, those troubling statistics aren’t the facts that most impressed us from their reports. That honor goes to these related data: Oklahoma ranks dead last among the 50 states in fruit consumption — and 44th in vegetable consumption. Yikes.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: For The Oklahoman, it's great to be downtown again

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Feb 21, 2015

    THOMAS Wolfe had it wrong. You can go home again. The Oklahoman did so these past two weeks, as we moved into our new office building downtown. After 24 years working at the tower located at Britton Road and the Broadway Extension, we’re now smack dab in the heart of this great city, at 100 W Main. People who return to their childhood homes are always struck by how much smaller the place seems. The opposite is true in this case – downtown Oklahoma City is far bigger and better than it was when we pulled up stakes in 1991. The main entrance to our building is on Robinson Avenue, across the street from the grand Colcord Hotel. The Devon Energy tower is just a little ways west of us.

  • One way to avoid high fees is to follow the law

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    Criminals face ever growing costs

  • For administration, what passes as foreign policy is passing strange

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    WHAT passes for foreign policy in the Obama administration is passing strange. When he’s not leading from behind, Barack Obama is behind in leading. When he’s not declaring al-Qaida to be on the run, he’s on the run from dealing with Islamic terrorists. If ever forceful and consistent leadership was needed, it’s now. Instead, says former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, “The United States is visible by its absence. …” ISIS militants are running roughshod throughout the Middle East, exporting their brand of terrorism from their base in Iraq and Syria to the entire region, including the beheading of 21 Christians in Libya.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should give judges more latitude where possible

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Feb 19, 2015

    A bill under consideration at the Legislature would allow judges in Oklahoma to more frequently do what they’re paid to do — judge — instead of simply handing down sentences prescribed beforehand. This would be a good change and is one lawmakers should support. Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, who chairs the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, notes that there are more than 100 crimes on the books that carry with them a mandatory minimum sentence. “The courts’ hands are often tied because of these mandatory minimums,” Peterson said last week. “Longer sentences do not equate to public safety.

  • Oklahoma not alone in struggling with tax credits, incentive programs

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Feb 19, 2015

    EVERYONE from Gov. Mary Fallin on down has called for a thorough review of Oklahoma’s tax breaks, particularly tax credits and incentive programs intended to encourage business growth. A thorough, competent evaluation is warranted. Even so, that debate will be heated. Any proposed changes will be hard-fought. While this will be of little comfort to legislators, they’re not the only state lawmakers grappling with these issues. Indeed, the first sentence of a recent article in The Detroit News could have easily been lifted from Oklahoma: “Michigan’s taxpayer incentives for job creation are likely to face increased scrutiny from lawmakers in the next few months as state officials wrestle with budget deficits blamed on

  • Larger shortfall enhances need for budget reform in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Feb 18, 2015

    THE state budget shortfall has doubled in size, but that’s no reason for hysterics. Instead, it reinforces the need for lawmakers to engage in thorough, deliberate budget writing and address longstanding structural problems. In that regard, 2015 is no different than most years. In December, officials estimated legislators would have $298.1 million less to spend than last year. Now, that figure has surged to $611.3 million. Yet the state has reserves sufficient to address most of that shortfall. State agencies hold $1.7 billion in revolving funds derived from fees or other dedicated revenue sources. Approximately $900 million is unencumbered, and Gov. Mary Fallin has called for redirecting $300 million to fill budget

  • Changes in Oklahoman Opinion staff announced

    Published: Wed, Feb 18, 2015

    Owen Canfield named Opinion editor

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should shoot down drone bill

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Feb 18, 2015

    “THREE strikes” laws that mandate harsh penalties for repeat criminal offenders are popular with the public. State lawmakers should be glad similar laws aren’t in effect regarding the promotion of strange bills. Consider Senate Bill 492, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. That legislation would allow Oklahomans to shoot down drones flying above their property without facing any civil liability for resulting damages. On its face, this appears to be a bill that never should have been filed. And once it was filed, it never should have been given a committee hearing. And once it was granted a hearing, it never should have passed. Yet the measure has now cleared all three hurdles — that’s three strikes for