Oklahoma Politics

The State of Oklahoma continues to top nationwide stats regarding the number of people it incarcerates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, our state ranks second in the nation in its rate of incarceration at 700 per every 100,000 people; the national average is 471. Oklahoma also imprisons women at the highest rate in the country -- at a rate that's more than twice the national average. Come early November, voters statewide will consider two initiatives aimed at reversing these shameful and embarrassing trends.

One of the more closely watched electoral races coming up in the June 28th primary is the surprising campaign for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District. In this race, incumbent Congressman Jim Bridenstine seeks what he says is his "final term." But Tulsa oilman Tom Atkinson has challenged the incumbent in a very competitive race. 

On today's installment of StudioTulsa, we offer a discussion with Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who is running for mayor. (Tulsa's mayoral elction will occur on June 28th; we spoke with Mayor Bartlett, who is also running, on yesterday's program.) Bynum was elected to the Tulsa City Council in 2008; he still serves on the Council, representing District 9. As noted at the G.T.

On this edition of ST, we offer a discussion with Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Mayor Bartlett is running for re-election to a third term as our city's mayor; the election will happen on Tuesday, June 28th. (On tomorrow's StudioTulsa -- that is, Friday the 17th -- we will feature an interview with Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who is also running for mayor.) As noted at the Bartlett campaign's website: "Dewey Bartlett has devoted his life to creating jobs, promoting the energy industry, and working on transportation issues.

"An inadequate budget has state continuing to sink to the bottom." "Legislature cuts budgets for all, except the Legislature." Such have been two recent headlines for editorials appearing in the Tulsa World. On this edition of ST, we look back at the recently completed -- and widely criticized -- Oklahoma Legislative Session, a contentious affair that saw lawmakers cutting spending as well as tax credits, and struggling to find new revenue amid an unprecedented $1.3 billion budget shortfall.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we welcome Ann Patton back to our show. Patton is known locally for the many years she spent in Tulsa as an author, journalist, and activist; she now lives in Florida. She stops by our KWGS studios to tell us about her latest book, which is called "Unmasked!

In a budget year with a predicted $1.3 billion shortfall, today is a major day in the Oklahoma Legislature; it's the last day (ostensibly) during which the state legislature can consider revenue bills. So far, very few bills have passed that have narrowed the budget gap...and time, of course, is seriously running out at this point. So, what is going through the minds of state lawmakers today? We put this question to Steve Lewis, who joins us by phone from the State Capitol Building.

There are six waterways in eastern Oklahoma that are considered so environmentally and economically significant they're given special consideration and protection from the state. These so-called Scenic Rivers were profiled in a special half-hour radio doc created by StateImpact reporters Joe Wertz and Logan Layden in 2014. This doc was originally aired as a four-part radio series, and we are pleased to re-broadcast it today on StudioTulsa.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we learn about a fascinating new documentary film depicting the rise and fall of E.W. Marland, the legendary -- and often controversial, and always colorful -- Oklahoma oilman who was also the state's 10th governor. "High Stakes: The Life and Times of E.W. Marland," shot on location in Ponca City, Oklahoma, is the newest creation of co-producers Steve Herrin and Scott Swearingen, who have also made docs about Woody Guthrie, Thomas Gilcrease, and Willard Stone.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Wayne Greene, the editorial pages editor at the Tulsa World. As noted at the World's website, Greene is a "fourth-generation Oklahoman in his third decade with the [newspaper]. As a reporter he covered several bank failures, one prison riot, three executions, and every aspect of state government during four years at the World's state capitol bureau. He became the World's city editor on April 1, 1995, and served in that post for nearly 13 years.

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