Oklahoma Voices from KGOU

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Oklahoma Voices is a long-form news program that broadcasts interviews, speeches and forums featuring Oklahomans and their unique points of view on topics of interest.More from Oklahoma Voices from KGOU »

Most Recent Episodes

Contested Races And Educators Highlight Oklahoma's Statewide Primary

Oklahomans go the polls on Tuesday for a statewide primary. All of Oklahoma's U.S. Congressmen face challengers from within their own party, and it's the first test for many of the educators running for state House and Senate seats. The Journal Record's Dale Denwalt and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley joined KGOU's Jacob McCleland in the Oklahoma Senate press gallery to talk about the upcoming primary. U.S. House primaries All five members of Oklahoma's House delegation face a primary opponent on Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, will face Frank Volpe in Oklahoma 5th Congressional District. Both men are retired from the military, and Volpe voted for Russell two years ago. Denwalt said the challenger is criticizing Russell for his vote on the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill last December. "There were some things in that bill that people on the far right really hate," Denwalt said. "You had Planned Parenthood in there, you had funding for the Affordable Care Act in there."

From Selma To Shelby County, The Rise And Fall Of The Voting Rights Act

Next week marks the third anniversary of an incredibly consequential U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key provisions of landmark civil rights legislation. The high court's 5-4 ruling in Shelby County vs. Holder meant that Alabama and many other southern states no longer had to seek federal approval to change their election laws under the Voting Rights Act. But what happened, and how we got there, is so much more complicated. To really understand the narrative arc of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, you have to go back 100 years to the end of the Civil War and the three so-called "Reconstruction Amendments" to the U.S. Constitution. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments outlawed slavery, established citizenship for blacks, and gave them the right to vote.

ENCORE: Before 'Brown V. Board,' Oklahoma's Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Helped Desegregate Education

Seventy years ago, a 21-year-old woman named Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher walked into the University of Oklahoma's admissions office to apply for law school. She was immediately turned down because of the color of her skin. He didn't agree with the decision, but OU president George Lynn Cross had no choice but to deny the request, since state law mandated the segregation of public educational institutions. There were no surprises on that January day in 1946, and the ensuing legal battle made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court two years later, almost to the day. A 27-year-old law clerk sitting in a cane chair on the south side of the courtroom described the arguments by the NAACP attorney as "respectful, forceful and persuasive." John Paul Stevens would later sit side-by-side with that attorney – a man named Thurgood Marshall – for more than 15 years when they both served as Associate Justices on that very court. In that same 2005 address to the American Bar Association, Stevens described

ENCORE: Before 'Brown V. Board,' Oklahoma's Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Helped Desegregate Education

ENCORE: Holly Bailey's Book Tells The Story Of 'Merciless' May 2013 Tornadoes

A week ago more than half-a-dozen tornadoes struck Oklahoma. Two people were killed in southern Oklahoma, and the EF4 tornado in Wynnewood near Interstate 35 is actually the strongest twister on record in this state in three years. Friday marks the anniversary of that May 20, 2013 tornado that killed 25 people in Moore. Seven were children at Plaza Towers Elementary School. Two weeks later record flooding killed several more people across a community still weary from the worst storm in nearly 15 years. The May 20, 2013 storm killed 25 people, including seven children at Plaza Towers Elementary School and one woman who succumbed to her injuries months later. Less than two weeks later, then-record flash flooding killed several more people across a community still weary from the worst storm in nearly 15 years. Holly Bailey tells the stories of those two storms in her book The Mercy of the Sky. She's a national correspondent for Yahoo News, and covered the war in Iraq and the response to

ENCORE: Holly Bailey's Book Tells The Story Of 'Merciless' May 2013 Tornadoes

ENCORE: That April Morning - The Oklahoma City Bombing

The bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City killed 168 people - including 19 children. It injured hundreds more, and forever shaped the community. April 19, 1995 started as an idyllic spring morning - clear skies, calm winds - better than most Wednesdays during the state's usually-turbulent severe weather season. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Workers showed up to their jobs, and went about their regular routines. That all changed at 9:02 a.m.

How World War I Shaped The Modern Middle East

The first World War's impact on the Middle East was significant, but the aftermath of the war shaped the region as we know it today. The partition of the Ottoman Empire was arrived at through the process of wartime diplomacy, according to Eugene Rogan, a historian at Oxford University who spoke at the University of Oklahoma's Teach-In on the First World War on March 7. Russia staked a claim to Istanbul and waterways linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The French claimed Syria and Cilicia in modern day southeastern Turkey. "Britain entered the first World War in the Middle East without any territorial ambitions, but they were balance of power empire sort of guys, so they reserved a right without prejudice to claim equally strategic territory once they'd made up their minds," Rogan said. Rogan said the British and the Sharifs of Mecca had a secret agreement called the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, in which Britain promised the creation of an Arab kingdom, but it would exclude

Senate Finance Committee Chair Mike Mazzei Discusses Oklahoma Budget

Oklahoma faces a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall in the next fiscal year, which could mean cuts to vital services like mental health, education, public safety and corrections. A few ideas are floating around the legislature to generate more revenue or to save money, like delaying implementation of the individual income tax cuts, tax credit reform, and criminal justice reform. But so far, the legislature has not yet passed any big, sweeping bills. State Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and his hands have been involved in several different pieces of legislation this year that deal with the budget. He spoke to KGOU's Jacob McCleland on Tuesday in his Capitol office. Interview Highlights Let's talk a little bit about a piece of legislation that you authored that would have delayed implementation of the income tax cuts. Now, this never made it to the floor, but I'm just wondering, are there still possibilities that this could be brought up again during

A Look Ahead At The Remainder Of Oklahoma's Legislative Session

The Oklahoma House and Senate are back in session Monday, after a largely inactive week. The legislature has already passed one big deadline this session - bills that have not made it through their chamber of origin are now dead. On this episode of Oklahoma Voices, The Journal Record's Capitol reporter Dale Denwalt and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talk to KGOU's Jacob McCleland about accomplishments during the first few weeks of the session, legislation that could pass, and surprises during the session's opening weeks. eCapitol's Shawn Ashley said the legislature has considered few bills that address structural issues that lead to budget crises like the current $1.3 billion shortfall Oklahoma will face in Fiscal Year 2017. He said measures that would have scaled back tax credits or rolled back the individual income tax cuts never made it to the full chamber for consideration. "On the House side, however, one did make it across the floor and it contains a large number of different tax

How Oklahoma's 'Harsh' Criminal Justice System Could Benefit From Reforms

Oklahoma lawmakers and Gov. Mary Fallin have made a number of significant changes in Oklahoma's criminal justice system over the past few weeks. Fallin issued an executive order to all state agencies to ban the box on job applications that asks about a criminal history. State representatives passed a number of reform bills on the House floor, and they've now moved to the Senate. Last month, the Charles Koch Institute hosted a panel discussion where speakers explained how other states have dealt with prison overcrowding and understaffing and what's happening in Oklahoma this year. Oklahoma Policy Institute's Gene Perry joined Jonathan Small from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Right on Crime's Adam Luck and Lauren Kirsai from the California-based Reason Foundation. The Charles Koch Institute's Alison Acosta Fraser moderated the panel. KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to

How Oklahoma's 'Harsh' Criminal Justice System Could Benefit From Reforms

Super Tuesday Speed Dating: 5 Undecided Voters, 7 Suitors, All Hoping They'll 'Swipe Right'

Oklahoma will play a big role in both the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, and four candidates hit the state over the weekend. On Friday, Republican hopefuls Donald Trump and Marco Rubio stopped in Oklahoma City. On Sunday, Democrat Bernie Sanders rallied supporters in Oklahoma City while Republican Ted Cruz barnstormed the state, including stops in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, in Edmond on Saturday. Despite heavy campaigning, some Oklahoma voters still haven't made up their minds. KGOU invited five undecided voters into the studio on Friday, February 26 to "speed date" surrogates from the seven remaining campaigns. Meet our undecided voters Undecided voter Jeanette Schreiber, from Oklahoma City, can't decide between Sanders and Clinton. She says a four- or eight-year commitment is a big decision. "Do you want the excitement? The inspiration? Or do you want that

Super Tuesday Speed Dating: 5 Undecided Voters, 7 Suitors, All Hoping They'll 'Swipe Right'

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