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Political notebook: TU President Carson 'bearish' on politics

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University of Tulsa President Brad Carson, a two-term Democratic congressman from Oklahoma’s 2nd District and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate in 2004, said he was “bearish” on the state of the country’s politics during a Thursday appearance at the Tulsa Press Club.

Growly: University of Tulsa President Brad Carson, a two-term Democratic congressman from Oklahoma’s 2nd District and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate in 2004, offered a gloomy assessment of the country’s politics during a Thursday appearance at the Tulsa Press Club.

“I’m pretty bearish about it,” Carson said. “My disenchantment … comes from the fact that I maybe don’t share what my parents taught me anymore, which is that politics is the most important way to change the world.

“Our culture today, the norms, higher education, these are actually — I tell my own son, ‘Pursue those. You can change the world, still.’ That’s important. Those are better avenues than politics,” he said.

“What’s happening in American politics or even state politics — across the country, not just in Oklahoma — I’m not sure is the way to make a difference much anymore.”

Stashed cash: The books closed on fiscal year 2022 with the state boasting $2.8 billion in reserves, including a record $500 million in the so-called 1017 education fund.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said the surplus leaves the state “in a definitive position to deliver real relief” — read: tax cuts — “to Oklahomans.”

Campaigns and elections: The Libertarian Party doesn’t win many elections in Oklahoma, but it did win the drawing for the top spot on the Nov. 8 general election ballots.

Republicans will be listed second, Democrats third.

New state Republican Party Chairman A.J. Ferate hasn’t been bashful about rapping the knuckles of GOP candidates he believes are out of line.

Ferate, a longtime political operative, publicly scolded U.S. Senate candidates Markwayne Mullin and T.W. Shannon for perpetuating the notion that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump, and he did the same with 2nd Congressional District candidate Avery Frix, who has made loyalty to Trump the basis of his campaign.

Former Congresswoman Kendra Horn, the Democratic nominee in the election to succeed U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, issued a new video after last week’s television debate that again plays on the idea that Mullin is an “extremist” out of step with the average Oklahoman.

This ad highlights a May interview Mullin did with New Tang Dynasty Television, an outlet that mainly caters to Chinese exiles and devotees of Epoch Times, an organization favored by election deniers and Trump enthusiasts.

During the interview, Mullin said companies that don’t like Oklahoma’s laws on abortion should leave.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Bollinger announced a series of campaign rallies leading up to the Aug. 23 runoff election. Dates, times and locations for Tulsa-area rallies are yet to be determined.

Employment: The number of unemployed in the state grew by about 11,400 during June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey, while the workforce shrank by about 1,200.

Tulsa added about 3,200 unemployed, which seems in line with seasonal trends. Both the state and the city remain well below unemployment totals of a year ago.

The survey, based on data collected from employers, put statewide employment at 1.69 million, up about 2,500 from the previous month and almost 43,000 from the same month a year ago.

Tulsa’s employment was unchanged from May at 458,800 and up about 15,000 from June 2021.

Meetings and events: The Tulsa Press Club, 415 S. Boston Ave., in the first-floor arcade of the Atlas Life Building, hosts two public candidate forums this week.

Republican state superintendent candidate April Grace will speak at 5:30 p.m. Monday, and Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Jason Bollinger at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Both are free and open to non-members.

Bottom lines: Yes. every kid., an advocacy group associated with the Koch political organization, has hired former state Rep. Tom Newell as its vice president of government affairs. … Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said the state is joining a national Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force.

— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

Featured video:

In this week's podcast, Ginnie Graham and Bob Doucette discuss the targeting of Tulsa Public Schools by state officials and the majority of the Oklahoma State School Board. The accreditation vote is a warning to other districts, as one state board member even said “we need to send a message.”

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