Political Notebook: Oklahoma’s poverty level higher than national average (Tulsa World)

By Randy Krehbiel

Hard work, low pay: Oklahoma’s poverty rate remained higher than the nation’s as a whole despite continuing low unemployment, the Oklahoma Policy Institute said last week.

Citing new census data, OK Policy said 16.6 percent of Oklahomans live below the official poverty line, which is $24,000 a year for a family of four.

Nationally, the rate fell to 15.5 percent.

More than one in five Oklahoma children live in poverty, according to the federal data.

Candidates: Republican Kevin McDugle announced his candidacy for House District 12, which includes Coweta, Wagoner and most of Wagoner County.

McDugle is trying to win a seat being vacated by term-limited Democrat Wade Rousselot, and that Republicans have high hopes of picking it up in 2016.

First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine has endorsed McDugle, a former Bridenstine aide and an unsuccessful candidate for Senate District 39 in 2012. McDugle has also been endorsed by several area legislators, including Chuck Strohm of Jenks and David Brumbaugh of Broken Arrow.

Texhoma: The two legislators who represent the site of the former Texhoma State Lodge sounded less than enthusiastic last week about the deal worked out between the state and the erstwhile developers of the property.

“As area representatives, we learned about the settlement … and the specifics of the new deal only moments before the press release went out,” Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, said in a press release.

“There are aspects of the negotiated settlement that are promising and some that are concerning,” they said. “Without a vote, our only course of action at this point is to closely monitor the progress of the (Commissioners of the Land Office) and Tourism to ensure that they are progressing as rapidly as possible on their areas. We will at a minimum be requesting quarterly updates on their progress.”

Still, the pair said, they were relieved to avoid a protracted lawsuit.

“After years spent in the negative, we hope to turn the page and concentrate on the positive,” they said.



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