Oklahoma Voices

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Oklahoma newsmakers talking about the issues that affect the Sooner state and beyond.

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U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) says the United States shouldn't "accommodate" Iran in ongoing nuclear talks.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Steve Russell’s new career is a lot different than his previous one. 

The first term Congressman from Oklahoma’s fifth district is settling into his new job after spending 21 years in the Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He served all over the globe, including in Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. His unit played a key role in the search for Saddam Hussein. Russell wrote a book about it, We Got Him! A Memoir of The Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.

KGOU’s Jacob McCleland spoke to Russell, a Republican, following a town hall meeting at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond on April 2, 2015.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Two lawmakers with a history of filing open records-friendly legislation gathered with supporters of government transparency to discuss recent legislative measures they said ran counter to the spirit of the state’s Open Records Act.

Fan of Retail / Flickr Creative Commons

The United States is a divided nation and Americans need to figure out how to live together, according to Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Notre Dame. Muñoz spoke at a recent lecture entitled "Hobby Lobby, Obamacare & the Future of Religious Freedom" at the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Auditorium.


While many tax experts and state officials acknowledge Oklahoma’s tax breaks and incentives need reform, the state legislature has taken little action to do so. A group of state officials and policy experts discussed why they believe action is necessary during a “Tax Credit Reform – From Talk To Action?” panel - part of the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s 2nd Annual State Budget Summit


Unresolved issues tied to education, incarceration and mental health services will hamstring Oklahoma’s ability to remain among the nation’s top 5 fastest growing economies, a panel of government officials and economists concluded during the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s 2nd Annual State Budget Summit.

On January 29, OPI Director of Policy Gene Perry led the panel through “An Economic Check-Up” of the state’s current economic conditions and fiscal policies. 

Organized citizens of large cities can be a greater force of innovation in leadership than state or federal governments, according to the vice president of the Brookings Institution.

Bruce Katz discussed the premise of his book The Metropolitan Revolution during a January 28 event at the University of Central Oklahoma. He emphasized the country’s economic growth model needs to “get back to the fundamentals” without relying on state and federal governments to lead the way.

Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

For more than two decades, Oklahoma has increasingly turned to fines and fees from court cases to pay for the court system itself. An investigation between KGOU and Oklahoma Watch called Prisoners of Debt reveals that as many inmates regain their freedom, they’re still imprisoned by mountains of debt.

Lack of funding and access to services and lack of political will have prevented many Oklahomans with mental illness and addiction problems from getting the help they need, leaders in the field told an Oklahoma City audience Tuesday night.

Education policy is among the top concerns facing lawmakers as they begin a new legislative session at the state capitol. Recent policy debates over the A-F system of grading public schools, Common Core, and third grade reading sufficiency testing have prompted educators to speak out more in hopes of shaping state education policy. 

Stateline: Cowboys Of Color

Jan 26, 2015

The cowboy is an American icon. The Hollywood image of the cowboys is lone, rugged and white, but in reality the old west was very diverse, and many of the cowboys were African-American or Hispanic.

Every year, culturally diverse cowboys from all over the country come to the Cowboys of Color Rodeo in Oklahoma City.