In The Know: Fact-checking the governor’s debate | Domestic violence in Oklahoma | New OK Policy Executive Director named

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

OK Policy Names Shiloh Kantz as Executive Director: OK Policy’s Board of Directors has named Shiloh Kantz — the organization’s longest tenured staff member — as its executive director to lead the organization. Kantz has served the organization since 2010 after being the first employee hired by longtime Executive Director David Blatt. She began her role at OK Policy as office manager and later was promoted to Director of Operations and Development in 2015. In 2018, she was named Deputy Director and has served as Interim Executive Director since June. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

The Frontier fact-checked the Oklahoma governor’s debate between Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister: Gov. Kevin Stitt and Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister debated on Wednesday at an event hosted by NonDoc and News 9. We used public records, government data and other sources to fact-check some of the candidates’ claims from the debate. [The Frontier]

  • Watch the “Executive Session” Debate [NonDoc / YouTube]
  • Post-Debate Panel Discussion [Together Oklahoma / YouTube]
  • Debate: Stitt, Hofmeister tussle over state performance, McGirt and abortion [NonDoc]
  • Takeaways from the Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate debate [Tulsa World]
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt, Democrat Joy Hofmeister spar in only scheduled debate for governor candidates [The Oklahoman]
  • Okla. governor mocks Democratic challenger for accurately noting state’s crime rate [Washington Post]
  • Oklahoma gubernatorial debate sparks discussion on spending, scandals [KTUL]
  • Hofmeister, Stitt Argue Key Points at Governor’s Debate [KSWO]
  • FACT CHECK: Does OK have a higher violent crime rate then NY and CA?: [Fox 25]

Domestic violence ‘viewed as low-level crime,’ Oklahoma experts lament as stats show high abuse rates: Oklahoma statutes that outline the punishment for people convicted of cruelty to animals and domestic abuse look surprisingly similar. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma executes diagnosed schizophrenic Benjamin Cole over attorneys’ protests: Cole is the sixth man Oklahoma has put to death since resuming executions in 2021. Three more executions are scheduled before the end of the year. [The Frontier]

  • At execution, victim’s family compares baby’s murder to the punishment [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma representative hosting interim study on criminal justice reform: Six years ago, Oklahoma voters voted in favor of State Question 780, which reclassifies crimes like drug possession and some thefts from a felony to a misdemeanor. [KTUL]

  • Voters still waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health, substance use disorders [OK Policy Archive]

Tribal Nations News

Feud with tribes threatens Oklahoma governor’s reelection: This year, in their most forceful political move yet, tribes are wielding their considerable influence to oppose a second term for Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, himself a Cherokee citizen, who is facing a tough reelection challenge after feuding with the tribes for nearly his entire first term. With the election just weeks away, five of the state’s most powerful tribes jointly endorsed Stitt’s Democratic opponent, Joy Hofmeister, the state’s public schools superintendent who has promised a more cooperative relationship with the tribal nations. It’s the first time in modern history that the tribes, which often have unique or competing interests, have weighed in on a governor’s race in such a public way. [AP News]

Voting and Election News

‘It’s Very Secure’: Five Oklahomans Share Why They Work the Polls: State election officials have long warned of a looming crisis if more people don’t sign up to become poll workers. In some counties, already challenging recruitment efforts have been complicated by longtime precinct officials leaving the job due to increasing fear of harassment or intimidation. [Oklahoma Watch]

A fact check of the Oklahoma County DA debate: Oklahoma County district attorney candidates Kevin Calvey and Vicki Behenna debated on Oct. 11 in Oklahoma City at an event hosted by NonDoc and News 9. Calvey, a Republican, and Behenna, a Democrat, will compete to replace outgoing Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater in the Nov. 8 general election. [NonDoc]

Column: Hamilton: Stitt rolls marijuana vote into next year: After all, the debate came just a day after Stitt set a March 7, 2023, statewide special election on State Question 820 that will give voters an opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana. [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Tulsa World Opinion podcast: Why endorsements? It’s about the bottom of the ballot (audio): How often do you get to talk to district judges? Who can name your county assessor or commissioner? Ginnie Graham and Bob Doucette give their endorsement of the idea of opinion section endorsement. Voters will become more aware of candidates at the bottom of the ballot. [Tulsa World Opinion]

Podcast: When Oklahoma voters choose a governor in November, they’ll be voting on the future of SoonerCare (audio): The contentious governor’s race includes plenty of hyper-partisan issues. But StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney reports, one of the candidates’ major disagreements doesn’t fall along party lines. The winner will decide what health care looks like for more than one million Oklahomans. Catherine talks with StateImpact editor Logan Layden. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Criminal Justice News

Doctor admits taking kickbacks from pharmacy, will pay restitution: A doctor licensed in Oklahoma and Texas has been ordered to pay potentially more than $1.5 million in restitution after admitting that he took illegal kickbacks from a compound pharmacy in a scheme to take advantage of insurance providers. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

First-time jobless claims increase; continued claims decline slightly: State unemployment claims totals were a mixed bag last week with first-time claims increasing 12% over the prior week while continued claims declined slightly, according to a government report. [Tulsa World]

Norman mayor hopes to revive downtown BID effort: Organizers have dropped their push for a business improvement district in downtown Norman, citing lack of support, but Norman Mayor Larry Heikkila says he plans to revive the initiative early next year. [Journal Record]

General News

Tulsa to continue with excavations in search for massacre victims: As part of a continuing investigation of deaths associated with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the city will begin another excavation soon at Oaklawn Cemetery, officials said. [Journal Record]

Groundbreaking On New Child Care Center In Broken Arrow: A new pre-school center under construction was praised by local officials for helping meet the demand for early childcare. [News on 6]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Broken Arrow to improve storm warning system, add sirens with new technology [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Our goal is to get people registered, and more importantly, the Native voters within our state. Once we get Native voters to show up to the polls, we can get a lot of things done.”

-19-year-old Devon Rain Potter, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation who was helping run a voter registration booth. [AP News]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s rate of violent crime offenses per 100,000 residents in 2020. The national rate was 398.5 per 100,000 residents. [FBI, Crime Data Explorer

Policy Note

A Benefits-Cost Analysis of Tulsa Pre-K, Based on Effects on High School Graduation and College Attendance: Research has estimated that the benefits of Tulsa’s universal pre-K program exceed the costs by 2.65 to 1. Researchers used high school graduation data and college enrollment data, extrapolated to adult earnings, to calculate the benefits. [Georgetown Center For Research on Children in the United States]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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