Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oklahoma's Governor Makes an Excellent Call

Note: Rarely do I just post an entire editorial as I'm doing today, but this one is special - it was published today in The Oklahoman a daily newspaper published in Oklahoma City, OK. A few years ago, The Oklahoman was named the worst daily newspaper in the country by the Columbia Journalism Review. This editorial is significant because it praises the appointment of Jim Roth to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, an appointment that makes Mr. Roth the only openly gay person currently serving in statewide elective office in the U.S. Although the following piece makes no mention of Mr. Roth's sexual orientation, I think it is a triumphant op-ed from The Oklahoman, and I wanted to share this moment of pride that is rare, to say the least, here in very red Oklahoma.

Wed., May 16, 2007

Good call: Roth great choice for vacancy

The Oklahoma Editorial

Cliche it may be, but we have to say it anyway: Oklahoma County's loss is Oklahoma's gain with the selection of Jim Roth to succeed Denise Bode on the state Corporation Commission.

Bode is leaving to run a foundation. She had nearly four years to go on a six-year term, but Roth — appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to replace Bode — must stand for the office next year if he wants to keep it.

Roth has been an outstanding public servant as District 1 county commissioner. He handily won a second term last year, wowing voters with his professional approach — in stark contrast to the norm on county commissions across the state.

Roth is just 38. His departure creates the need for a special election to fill the rest of his county commission term. Roth was the only Democrat on the three-member commission and will be the only Democrat on the three-member Corporation Commission.

Voters can't blame him for forcing a special election — the opportunity was too good to pass up. Henry, a champion of bipartisanship who doesn't always practice it, praised Roth for his fairness, integrity and bipartisanship.

The corporation commission is in good hands as Roth joins Jeff Cloud and Bob Anthony. Oklahoma County District 1 also is in good hands because Roth's chief deputy will be interim commissioner and is quite capable of taking care of constituents.

So both commissions are in good shape because of these changes, but it will be difficult to find a permanent replacement for Roth who can fill his shoes. A return to a traditional style of governance on the county commission is unacceptable. With one of the other three commissioners mired in legal problems, we have reason for concern about the direction the commission will go unless the right man or woman seeks the job.

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