Whatzup Politics (1233)
WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced today that the City of Tulsa – Rogers County Port Authority will be awarded a $6.1 million grant to support the construction and improvement of rail transportation and utility infrastructure in support of a new two million square foot manufacturing and distribution facility at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. In February, Sen. Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary Chao in support of Oklahoma’s grant application.
“The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is an economic driver for our state and supports thousands of jobs,” Mullin said. “This investment will provide for much needed upgrades and continue to bring more economic activity to our area. I am glad the federal government recognizes the importance of this port and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment for years to come.”
“I’m pleased to announce a $6.1 million grant for the Tulsa area to support the Port of Catoosa’s new manufacturing and distribution facility,” Inhofe said. “The Port of Catoosa is vital to our local economy and this grant will help improve and maintain the port’s infrastructure, which so many rely on for their livelihood. With this money, we can work to make the necessary upgrades so goods and services will be able to utilize the port many years into the future.”
“The Tulsa Port’s endeavor to develop its newly acquired 2,000+ acres of land in Inola, Oklahoma into a world class port and industrial location will be greatly enhanced by this INFRA Grant award,” said David Yarbrough, Port Director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. “We would like to thank Senator Inhofe and Congressman Mullin for their support in this grant process, as well as their tireless efforts to champion investment in infrastructure which promotes economic development throughout Oklahoma and the entire United States. Additionally, this grant application would not have been possible without the true public-private partnership and support of Rogers County, The Oklahoma Department of Commerce, The Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Sofidel America, WATCO Companies, and INCOG (Indian Nation Council of Governments).”
The INFRA program is expected to award $906 million to significant projects that support the Trump Administration’s focus on infrastructure improvements. INFRA advances a grant program established in the FAST Act, authored by Sen. Inhofe in 2015, to help rebuild America’s aging infrastructure.
“This Administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding would improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety, and support economic growth,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Paid for and submitted by Paul LaRosa
Elect PAUL LAROSA LeFlore County Commissioner, District#2
First, I would like to commend and thank the people who currently handle Le Flore County (LFC) trash. It is the authentic ‘dirty job’ as Mike Rowe would say. Once our trash is compacted at the County Transfer Station it is transported somewhere else.
Where does all the LFC trash go? Answer: Other cities landfills at an expense of +/- $40,000 a month. Purchasing land in LFC and creating our own landfill is under consideration. My question is, “Is our own LFC landfill the best solution?”
I have looked at communities who deal with this same problem. There are successful trash programs that incorporate diligent recycling programs alongside waste disposal. Large recycling facilities include conveyor belts receive the trash for separating paper, glass, aluminum, plastics, and metal or anything useful. The separated recyclables are then sold to manufacturers who make products from them. The sorting and packaging are done by robots in certain communities and people in others. I also found that there are federal grants available that could possibly help get a program of this scale and complexity up and running.
Our trash can be a resource! We could sell the recyclable part of our trash for income!
You have brought to my attention the issue that our secondary trash collection dumpsters are often overwhelmed. It is not uncommon to see a dumpster filled with one large piece of furniture or tree branch. It is equally common in our area to see vehicles from other states fill up our trash dumpsters. LFC County Commissioners need to review the policy and dumpster locations.
What you throw away and how you do it is ultimately very personal and any meaningful discussion about trash must begin there. Litter, or loose trash, is everywhere in LFC. It is along our historic trails, construction sites, forests, roadways, and highways. Our litter reflects our personal care-less-ness and how we are protecting our natural resources and quality of life for future generation. Sometimes it feels easier to just throw a cup out the car window or drop a soda can in the woods rather than bag it and find a trash receptacle. We can do better.
We can clean up our litter. Teaching our children is a great place to begin forming the habit of environmental cleanliness. We have laws against carrying trash which is not tied down or covered. They need to be enforced and fines posted. The placement of public trash cans needs to be reviewed and the help of business owners engaged to make throwing away your personal trash easier in LFC. Signage such as billboards, use of social media and electronic signs at the Reynolds Center or banks can be asked to help get the message out. The goal being the creation of a habit…a habit to keep the ground clean and preserve our heritage and quality of life.
VOTE PAUL LAROSA LEFLORE COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT #2, JUNE 30th
These Election are an investment in our future!
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, today released the following statement about the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision, which found that federal employment law that protects workers from being fired based on their identity applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Today, the Supreme Court affirmed a truth we already know: discrimination against the LGBTQ community is wrong, and it should be illegal,” Dunnington said. “All Oklahomans deserve the opportunity to build a better life regardless of who they are or who they love. That’s why I’ve filed legislation with similar protections every year I’ve been in office.
“House Bill 2455, introduced in the 57th Oklahoma Legislature, expanded employment and housing protections for Oklahomans, including gender and sexuality. House Bill 1816, introduced in the 56th Legislature, did the same.
“Today was a step in the right direction. Our elected leaders must continue working toward an Oklahoma that is safe and equitable for all our citizens. Until that goal is reached, we will have work to do.”
WASHINGTON—As co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) introduced a resolution today to recognize this week as National Men’s Health Week.
“With the demands of daily life, staying active and being healthy can get moved to the backburner pretty quickly,” said Mullin. “Living a healthy lifestyle should be on the forefront of our minds. As co-chair of the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, I am proud to join Congressman Payne, Jr. to introduce this resolution recognizing the week of June 14th as National Men’s Health Week. I hope this week will motivate men to take an active role in their wellbeing, as well as bring awareness to health issues affecting men every day.”
“Too many men are suffering and dying needlessly because they don’t take their health and wellness seriously,” said Payne, Jr. “It is common for men to put off regular physicals and health screenings because they feel healthy. That is why the lifespan for men is five years less than women. Also, men die from heart disease, cancer and other leading causes of death at far greater rates than women. I am proud to introduce this resolution with Rep. Mullin this year and every year because we have to get more men screened for health issues and save lives.”
Full text of the resolution can be found here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2020
Press Release #20-014
As the 2020 election season shifts into high gear approaching the summer, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is reminding political candidates and volunteers to not jeopardize safety and to do their part in saving taxpayer money and keeping Oklahoma’s highways and interstates free of unsightly litter.
Placing yard signs to help promote candidates may be a long-standing tradition in Oklahoma politics, but the areas along highways or on bridges are off-limits. State law actually prohibits such signs from being placed in state rights-of-way due to safety concerns. In addition to potentially blocking drivers’ views at intersections or ramps, illegal sign placement endangers volunteers who try to post them along high-speed roadways or on bridges. Generally, the public right-of-way includes the area of grass between a highway and the nearest fence.
The best strategy for safe and legal politicking is for candidates to place signs on private property with the landowner’s permission. Inside city limits, candidates should check local ordinances for questions regarding municipal streets and rights-of-way. However, even within city limits, signs are prohibited on state-maintained highways, overpasses and bridges.
When signs are illegally placed, ODOT crews spend time away from other highway maintenance operations to pull them out of the ground, which can be time-consuming and hazardous. Removal of litter, including illegal signs, also delays highway mowing since the signs and posts could potentially damage state equipment.
Each year, nearly $6 million is spent by the department to pick up trash along Oklahoma highways, including illegally placed signs. This money comes out of ODOT’s maintenance budget, the same source of funds for patching potholes, repairing guardrail, mowing and clearing snow and ice. This expense is in addition to the untold amounts of time and money volunteer groups and local governments spend removing litter.
WASHINGTON— On Tuesday, during the Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts minority communities, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) highlighted the benefits Opportunity Zones can bring to rural areas, especially when it comes to rural broadband and jobs.
“We all have unique challenges in our districts and my district is no different,” Mullin said during the hearing. “One thing that has been exposed in my district is broadband. I have a very rural district. In fact, just recently and the only reason I’m able to be on this hearing is because I got internet at my house. When we start talking about opportunity zones, we need to pay attention to that.”
“In opportunity zones, we talk about jobs too because with technology also comes job opportunities,” Mullin continued.
Video of Mullin’s remarks can be found here.
In Oklahoma’s Second District, less than half of the residents have access to broadband internet, something most people across the country have enjoyed for years. More than 45 percent of individuals living on tribal land in Oklahoma don’t have access to high-speed internet.
Last year, Mullin introduced H.R. 2929, the Rural Broadband Network Advancement (RBNA) Act, which would invest in expanding broadband access in rural areas.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) introduced legislation yesterday to improve access to disposable negative pressure wound therapy for homebound Medicare beneficiaries. This legislation simplifies the structure of the disposable negative pressure wound therapy benefit and streamlines billing practices for home health agencies.
“Disposable negative pressure wound therapy has helped homebound Medicare beneficiaries access treatment from the safety of their own home. Due to administrative burdens, many home health agencies have not been able to use this technology,” said Mullin. “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to reduce the number of hospital visits for vulnerable patients. I am proud to work with Congressman Butterfield to cut red tape and help Medicare recipients receive the care they need at home.”
“We in America have made great strides in developing technology to more efficiently address the needs of some of the nation’s most vulnerable. It is imperative that we ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the latest innovations by removing any unnecessary barriers to quality care,” said Butterfield. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, homebound Medicare beneficiaries need access to disposable negative pressure wound therapy now more than ever. This negative pressure wound therapy not only prevents unnecessary complications and hospitalizations due to preventable chronic wound infections, but it also reduces the number of visits necessary from home health aides. This will reduce the threat of COVID-19 transmission and the unnecessary use of personal protective equipment that results from multiple home visits. Unfortunately, many home health agencies have been discouraged to make use of this technology because of undue administrative burdens. This is why I am glad to join Congressman Mullin in introducing this commonsense legislation to make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to receive high quality care at home.”
In 2015, Congress acted on a bipartisan basis to provide homebound Medicare beneficiaries access to disposable negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). This cost-effective, clinically proven, and patient-friendly technology can substitute for heavier, durable medical equipment versions of NPWT in the vast majority of cases.
CMS’s implementation of the law, however, created an administrative burden that is discouraging the use of this technology by home health agencies (HHAs). By making it easier for HHAs to treat chronic wounds, Congress can help keep homebound patients—including those with diabetes—out of hospitals and physicians’ offices, where they may risk a greater exposure to COVID-19.
Legislative Action to Preserve Transportation Funding Allows ODOT Projects to Continue to Move Forward
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OKLAHOMA CITY – Action taken by the Legislature last month to protect Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) funding for the next fiscal year, which begins in July, has allowed ODOT to proceed with plans to repair or replace structurally deficient roads and bridges throughout the state. Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, chair of the House Appropriations & Budget Committee for Transportation, said transportation is ultimately receiving about $4 million additional for Fiscal Year 2021 than for FY20, once all bonding and debt structures and transportation funds are taken into account.
“The Legislature for years now has made a commitment to improving our roads and bridges, knowing that keeping our families safe and our commerce running smoothly is one of the top services of government,” Russ said. “I was glad we were able to find the right balance of appropriations and bonds to keep our eight-year roads projects on track and our County Improvements for Roads and Bridges fund intact.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting budget shortfall, state agencies saw an average of 4% cuts to their Fiscal Year 2021 budgets, a significantly lower cut than had originally been anticipated.
The Legislature approved the FY21 state budget via veto override. ODOT received a $180 million reduction to ODOT’s highway construction program, with authorization for the agency to issue $200 million in bonds to help keep projects on track and to make bond payments for the first year. “It was gratifying to hear from the state transportation secretary that the Legislature’s Fiscal Year 21 budget appropriation and our allowance of some bonds for roads projects will help preserve the department’s projects list,” said Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee. Frix is chair of the House Transportation Committee.
“Transportation is a main economic driver, and we want Oklahoma to be known as a state where people can do business by easily and safely moving their people and their products.” In their Monday, June 1 meeting, ODOT commission members approved contracts for two major interstate projects that will greatly affect traffic in the Oklahoma City metro area, with work on both expected to begin in late summer. The first is a nearly $80 million project to replace six bridges on I-40 in Del City, all of which are in poor condition and require constant maintenance and repairs.
Five of the structures are rated structurally deficient. The second project is a nearly $28 million project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement and nine bridges on I-44 between I-40 and just south of I-240 on the city’s southwest side. The commission also learned that the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act loan for the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa was approved by the federal government in May. The project is being built by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and includes ODOT as a partner along with other local entities.
Commissioners also voted to award 35 contracts totaling more than $157 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 28 counties across the state. The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission oversees the state’s transportation development and awards contracts for road and bridge construction monthly. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2020
CONTACT: Sharon Steele, 918-647-3701
Voters in Leflore County who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the June 30
Primary Election should apply now, County Election Board Secretary Sharon Steele said today.
Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. on
Tuesday, June 23, Steele urged voters who want to vote by absentee ballot to apply early.
Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at
103 N. Church St., Poteau. An online version of the form can be filled out and submitted
electronically at: www.elections.ok.gov. A print form can also be downloaded at that address.
Ballots must be in the hands of County Election Board officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day to
Steele said any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he/she is
eligible to vote. However, a voter must be registered and reside at an address within the geographical
boundaries of a school district or a municipality to be eligible to vote in school district or municipal
elections. It is not necessary to give a reason for voting absentee.
"While anyone can vote absentee without giving a reason, the law still provides several
advantages to absentee voters in some categories," Steele said.
By stating one of the following reasons on their applications, absentee voters can activate
special conditions that make it easier for them to use absentee ballots. The reasons are:
- Voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically
incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may vote absentee. They may
apply only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of
age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or
affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
- Voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may vote absentee. An
Absentee Voting Board actually goes to the nursing home a few days before the
election, sets up a small polling place and allows these persons to vote under
circumstances similar to those at a regular precinct polling place. They may apply
only by mail, by fax, by email, online or via an agent who is at least 16 years of age
and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or
affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot.
- Military personnel and residents of the county living overseas and the spouses and
dependents of each group are eligible receive absentee ballots. These voters may
apply only by mail, fax, or by email. Military personnel should contact the Voting
Service Officers in their units for application forms and additional information or visit
the Federal Voting Assistance Program website (www.fvap.gov/oklahoma) for more
information and instructions. Residents of Oklahoma living overseas can obtain the
same materials from any United States military installation and from United States
Embassies and Consulates as well as on the FV AP website.
News Release submitted by Vera Nelson, Talihina Chamber of Commerce
In order to get the candidate in office that you feel will do the best job in the office they are vying for you need to get out and vote. By attending The Talihina Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Candidate Speaking, June 19, at 6:30 pm at the Talihina Grade School Gym Parking Lot. (If it is raining we will move into the gym) you will have a chance to visit with the candidates for our area and also hear what they plan to do if elected; Be sure and bring your Lawn Chairs.
There will also be a Pancake Supper, Auction and Drawings for $200.00 in food. AJ Butcher Block in Buffalo Valley has donated a $100.00 meat package that includes two 12oz Ribeye Steaks, two 16 oz. Sirloin Steaks, one 2lb Pork Chops, one 2lb ham Steaks, one 5lb French Fries, one 1lb Smoked Sausage and two pounds of Bacon. Need to call ahead so that they can have it ready for you when you come to pick it up. While you are there welcome this new business into the area. Rhonda Sears with Treats and Treasures has donated a $25.00 gift certificate for produce. Rhonda has been bringing in quality produce after our grocery store burned. Frances Williams, Owner of TaliMena Mercantile has donated a $25.00 Gift Certificate for this event. You can use it on any purchase in her store including meat and produce. Frances has been bringing meat into her store after the grocery store burned. Both Frances and Rhonda have made sacrifices for the area to see that we get the meat and produce we need to stay healthy and well fed. We also have a $25.00 Gift Card from Walmart. Walmart is very supportive by donating to the chambers events. All these are included in the drawings.
Candidates that have agreed to come include: Randy Coleman, Jimmy Westbrook, Jerry Donathan, Warren Hamilton, Jim Grego, Shannon Rowell, Dwayne Frizzell, John Ford, Roy Duggan, and Adman Woodruff. If you would like to donate an auction item or if you are a candidate and would like to attend and speak please contact the Talihina Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.
For more information on this event contact the Talihina Chamber of Commerce at 918-567-3434 or e-mail .