It’s Game Time!

And, we’re ready! (Helps to have a brother with shoulder pads.)

Go Sooners!

The Big eBay Gift

It would appear that I was not the only one who knew my Senator loves political buttons. His best buddy up in Edmond gave him the Nixon in Yiddish button and the Jesse Jackson classic pictured up above. The over-sized JFK button is the one I nabbed on eBay. When my Senator pulled it out of his stocking on Christmas morning, he initially thought I had it made up like I have a button maker hidden in the closet. Then, as he studied it carefully, I could tell he was wondering where in the heck I found the darn thing. He knows better than anyone that eBay is way out of my comfort zone and that there are no Political Americana stores in the Midwest. Hence, this was one fun Christmas surprise.

So, let’s call this the “2008 Christmas Collection”. These prized possessions are resting peacefully in their very own special case with room for at least a dozen more. They are also perched on a very special shelf simply begging for adoration.

Be very scared for me, please, someone!

Agenda

Hot off the press – what follows are the high priority agenda items for the next legislative session. I heard my Senator speaking about this last night. He hopes that they under promise and over deliver. Translation: it would be wise to pick a few of these key issues and get something accomplished. I think he is right on the money, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

( I am sure there is a version of the Oklahoma Senate Democrat’s high priority agenda items – but I have not been able to locate a copy. Rest assured, that when I get my hands on one, I’ll post it. After all, the Senator’s wife likes to be well versed on all sides of the aisle. )

Oklahoma Senate Republicans
2009 Legislative Agenda
Presented Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Taxes and Fiscal Responsibility
Senate Republicans will make fiscal responsibility a priority in the state budget by opposing irresponsible budgeting practices.
Limit growth of government and reduce the tax burden of Oklahoma families.
Expand the successful back-to-school sales tax holiday by adding school supplies to the list of tax-exempt items.
Eliminate ineffective and obsolete special interest tax breaks, freeing up money for more broad-based tax relief.
Help Oklahomans keep more of their hard-earned dollars by fighting to reduce the income tax rate and curb the growth of property tax assessments as much as fiscally responsible.

Education
Take steps to ensure the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System is fiscally sound for current and future generations of teachers and retirees.
Support giving parents more choices in the education of their children, particularly those who are trapped in low performing schools.
Give local school boards more control, providing these schools a chance to improve student learning by freeing them from the burden of many state mandates.

Health care reform
Support efforts to reduce the uninsured by creating more affordable insurance options.
Support efforts to increase the number physicians in Oklahoma, partially by ensuring the continuity of the OSU Medical School in Tulsa.

Government Reform

Enact meaningful election reform, including:
Voter ID. Republicans believe it is neither unreasonable nor inconvenient to require identification of voters in the polling places to ensure clean, fair elections and assuring one person, one vote.
Make all statewide elected officials, such as the lieutenant governor, attorney general, and corporation commissioners, subject to the same 12-year term limits that apply to state legislators.
Create an Office of Accountability and Innovation to eliminate waste in state government.

Transportation
Republicans are committed to ensuring sufficient funding for roads and bridges.

Energy Policy
Lead the country in actions to develop energy independence through Oklahoma energy sources.

Legal reform and workers’ compensation reform
Reform the judicial nominating process by requiring Senate confirmation of appointments to the Workers Compensation Court and appellate courts.
Protect teachers and school officials from being sued for enforcing discipline and other school policies in the classroom, provided state law and school policies are followed.
Reform Oklahoma’s Workers Compensation system to maximize benefits to employees and reduce costs to Oklahoma employers
Reform Oklahoma’s legal system to ensure fairness, lower the costs, create jobs, attract more physicians and protects the rights of all.

Once I’ve had time to read all of this, ( and ask my Senator a few questions), I’ll weigh in with my thoughts!

Enjoy!

New Sheriff in Town

There’s a new sheriff in town, or rather down at the marble palace. Today, like in 49 minutes, the sheriff and his deputies (the Republican leadership team) will be rolling out their agenda with a press conference. I will have those details along with some Senate trivia later this afternoon.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the Senator’s wife is flying by the seat of her pants. Is it possible to use an entire tank of gas in one day? Yes, of course, if you are on a road trip, but doing errands and carpools? I think I’m going to be car sick.

Organized

Just a little FYI happening down at our state’s Capitol today. The legislative members will officially “organize” to elect their leaders. Yes, I know, their leaders were officially elected and selected in November, this is just the official part of the program. However, what I didn’t know before becoming a Senator’s wife, is that this is mandated in our state’s constitution that they convene today and “officially” conduct this little piece of business.

Here is the schedule for today’s events:

Beginning at 9:00 am, the legislators will all gather to caucus. Caucus? What, you ask is a Caucus? That would be our vocab word of the week: to caucus, where members of a like-minded group meet together.

I have been told that there is a rural caucus meeting, a republican caucus and a democrat caucus meeting today. Oh, but wait, there are plenty more caucuses. There is the black caucus, a native American caucus and a cancer caucus. I asked my Senator if there was a angry, white male caucus but he did not respond. I am sure there is not a female legislative caucus because you could count them all on one hand…well, maybe two. That makes me want to run for office, so I will quickly get back to today’s events.

After the “caucusing” takes place, they will re-convene in the chamber to formally elect the Senate Pro Tempore and the Minority Leader. Because there are more Republicans than Democrats, the Pro Temp will be an “R” and the Minority Leader a “D”… majority rules! In theory, the Pro Temp is the head honcho, large and in charge of all that goes on in the Chamber. The fact that this position is now held by a Republican is historic in that it has never happened before in Oklahoma history, where the “R” is in the top Senate leadership spot. There will be a few congratulatory speeches, after all, this is a noteworthy occasion, and then they will adjourn.

Next, they head across the hall to the House of Representatives. Probably to congratulate the Speaker and exchange more pleasantries. Then, they will adjourn again, ( hopefully to have lunch, a bathroom break, or fly to Miami), only to re-convene in the Senate Chamber to discuss the rules.

I anticipate this particular portion of today’s events will produce a nice fireworks display. The passing of the torch is always complex, but when the rules change, so does the way the game is played. If you would like to watch this live on your computer, go to http://www.oksenate.gov. It should be a good show. Like, way better than reality t.v. because you might actually know some of the people.

If I were a guessing girl, I would bet the new majority of members are planning to change a lot of rules. I would. After serving in the minority since statehood, I am confident they plan to offer up an entirely new perspective on how to play the game. Stay tuned.

House Divided


It is game day around this joint, or as we used to say at USC: “the Rose Bowl t-shirts mean more money.”

Yeah, I know.

I have taken lots of heat for that little cheer in the past, especially from my Senator, the OU grad. We live in a conflicted residence, a house divided.

So, today, as we watch the granddaddy of all bowl games, the Rose Bowl, those who cheer for USC ( me and the Senator’s son) will be dining on tenderloin chili and gourmet root beer. Those who refuse to root for the Pac 10 champs, will be dining on left overs. Just kidding. Sort of.

See that guy hiding in the back of the photo posted below? He is trying to remain neutral about this college football conflict. But, I know better. I really do.

Go Trojans!

Yipee!

After spending most of the day cleaning up from Christmas, my daughter enticed me to install the Wii Fit she received from Santa. I love Santa. I love Wii Fit. I could not be any more in love with this fine piece of machinery. Who else will tell me my Wii Fit age is 35? I mean, are you kidding me? No wonder these things are sold out everywhere. Back to the board!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive…

Feeling very guilty right now about bashing eBay yesterday. No sooner did I publicly complain about not receiving my purchase than what should arrive at my front door? Yep, you guessed it, my infamous button. I am considering posting a photo of it because I am fairly confident my Senator will not be reading this unless I show him – and that is not going to happen. I’ll give you a hint though. This button is older than I am.

OK, that felt good… saying that something is older than I am.

I’ll give you another hint. This button is from one of my Senator’s favorite presidential campaigns.

Now, that should narrow the field down quite a bit.

Just kidding! If you know my Senator, then I have just opened up the field -not narrowed it down. My Senator loves campaigns, and that is a good thing…considering.

Oh, I simply love Christmas and surprises.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

The Senator’s Wife

Back to the Buttons!

I stumbled upon this photo while working on my computer. I liked it so much I am going to use it as a screen saver someday. Just kidding. But, it did remind me that I recently bought my Senator a very rare and special button for Christmas on eBay. And….that button has not yet arrived.

Bummer. I knew I was going to be skeptical of eBay. I don’t like buying things from people I can’t see or places I can’t touch. Don’t get me wrong, I have been a major Internet shopper this year. Just from places I know. Not some seller I couldn’t pick out of a line-up from some place I have never heard of before. I am just weird like that.

But, this button was cool. I mean way cool. So much so that I ventured out of my comfort zone.

However, I am still holding out hope. Isn’t that the theme for our country these days. Hope and change. Yeah, well that seller has my change and I want my button!

I also want more pictures like this!

Love, the Senator’s Wife

Hurry, Quick!

If you have any legislation you would like filed for next year’s legislative session- today is your last chance! Sound the alarm, quick, call your Senator or Representative. This is your last day to be heard….OK, not really. But, the Bill filing deadline is today, roughly at noon. At least I think that was what my Senator told me, however, there is most assuredly a little flexibility with the time frame.

Anyway, your average Joe has no idea that this is the deadline for legislation, but most everyone involved in politics, members, lobbyists, people who work at the Capitol and those that are married to members, we all know. Hurry, let your voice be heard!

The Turkey Bowl

While I am trying to figure out how November turned into December so quickly, I am posting a few more photos from Thanksgiving. Does it count that I still have left overs in my fridge?

These are from the Turkey Bowl, one of the most fun traditions…ever. Every Thanksgiving morning around 9:00 ish, many families and friends, who have all known each other for multiple generations, gather at a local park to play kick ball. This tradition started out with soccer, but in keeping with the times and the varying age span of participants, kick ball is a much safer format to blow off some of that competitive family energy. My family is very competitive. And so are their friends. It is also a great way to burn off some of those unavoidable extra Thanksgiving calories.

Here are some of the highlights from the Turkey Bowl.

Prior to kick-off, it is an unwritten rule that massive amounts of sugar be consumed.

Here is my boot camp instructor cousin, ordering everyone to divide themselves into two teams. She is good like that.

I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that ball.

There are no rules regarding team colors or uniforms. All super hero costumes are welcome.

Obviously, adults can pitch hit for their children. We have no rules.

These two got a hall pass. They are newlyweds. They watched from the sidelines and drank their Starbucks. Oh, by the way, they got married three weeks ago and didn’t tell anybody. Yeah, for real.

I don’t know how my little cousin managed to fall asleep standing up, but he did. Probably coming down off the sugar high from Cousins and Chaos the night before and those donuts with the orange icing ( see photo #1). Life is hard when you are two.

I think I will go clean out my fridge now.

Love, the Senator’s wife

Cousins and Chaos, Part II

Just a few photos from cousins and chaos. I did not take them, but discovered them on my camera the following morning. Thank goodness for that because I was too busy trying to control the chaos and have zero pictures to show for it…zero…zilch…de nada.

This first photo was taken at a nice angle and from down low. Just about my daughter’s eye level. Thank you sweet girl for grabbing my camera. You are an Annie Leibovitz in training.

Assume that all cousins and friends were having this much fun…

This one was on a mission for chocolate.

This one was the defender of all things containing chocolate…

This cousin had already consumed a lot of chocolate…

When you look like this…who needs chocolate!

Next up – photos from the Turkey Bowl… another family Thanksgiving tradition.