Heading into the 2014 elections, Gov. Mary Fallin is the second-best positioned governor facing re-election in the nation, according to the FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times. Based on the three most recent polls, the blog places Fallin's job approval rating at 65 percent and disapproval at only 23 percent. Only one governor potentially running for re-election has a better net job approval. That may surprise some Democrats who hoped Fallin's rejection of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide them leverage with voters. If anything, that decision may have helped Fallin. Even if her numbers dip, it may not mean much given Oklahoma's Republican leanings. Proof of that conclusion can be seen in Illinois, where Gov. Pat Quinn is the second-most unpopular governor up for re-election in 2014, yet FiveThirtyEight notes he “is still considered a favorite to win re-election” because of that state's heavy Democratic tilt.
700 and counting
Every dedication of a Habitat for Humanity home is special, because they offer hope and promise to the occupants. Some are milestone events, as was the case Wednesday when Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 700th house. The new owner of the home in Yukon is Lisa Sumner, who moved in with her two sons. “A few years ago I was put in a position to make a decision for my family, and it left me with two small children and no place to go that I could afford,” Sumner said. “Habitat has just been such a blessing.” An ecumenical Christian ministry, Habitat for Humanity partners with donors and homeowners (they help provide the labor) to be sold to low-income people at no profit with zero-interest loans. The central Oklahoma affiliate began in Oklahoma City in 1986, and CEO Ann Felton Gilliland expects the organization to reach 1,000 homes “in the twinkling of an eye.” Amen to that.
Nancy Zorn, 79, of Warr Acres used a bicycle lock to attach herself this week to a piece of equipment being used to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Hughes County. Zorn was jailed when she refused to leave. A group that opposes the pipeline quoted the woman as saying she couldn't sit still while “toxic tar sands are pumped down from Canada into our communities.” Zorn's hope was that she might inspire others to join the fight. She shouldn't hold her breath. Oklahomans strongly favor construction of the Keystone pipeline. They understand that building the pipeline means jobs, and that worries about pipeline safety are red herrings offered by anti-fossil fuel zealots. Zorn is left with a story to tell her grandchildren, but not much else. The pipeline is coming, and it should.