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Capital City: Stitt swings through southwest Oklahoma

Good Friday morning. 

Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt was in Lawton last night for a preinaugural party called the Bison Bash. The event was a inaugural ball of sorts, with a southwest Oklahoma feel. 

While visiting the rural part of the state, Stitt said he wanted to focus on increasing economic growth in many of the small towns across Oklahoma. 

“There is a lot of industry and business that wants to be in rural Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “We have some of the lowest utility prices in the country (in rural Oklahoma) and we have to use some of those advantages we have.”

You can read more from last night's event here. Preinaugural activities will continue this Saturday in Tulsa. 

THIS SUNDAY: I'll have a story on how Stitt's business experience might help him as governor, and what challenges it might present. 

Stitt ousts longtime Fallin aid ... Denise Northrup, a longtime aide to outgoing Gov. Mary Fallin, has been ousted from her job as director of a key state agency as Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt's incoming administration moves toward control of the executive branch.

Northrup, who served as Fallin's campaign manager and chief of staff, said in a letter to employees at the Office of Management and Enterprise Services that Friday would be her last day. She has been director since late 2017.


The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to fund the Federal Aviation Administration and pay about 1,750 people at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center who are furloughed or working without pay, but the funding bill is unlikely to be considered in the Senate as a partial government shutdown reaches its 21st day.

The House voted 244-180 and largely along party lines, with Democrats in support and all but a dozen Republicans opposed. Among the Oklahoma delegation, Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma City voted in favor and the state's four House Republicans voted against. The Monroney Center is in Horn's district.

“Yesterday, I met with an air traffic controller from Oklahoma who expressed his concerns about the immense stress and strains for controllers that this choked-off pipeline is causing,” Horn said during the first House speech of her career Thursday. The Oklahoman's Justin Winger has more

Oklahoma Ethics Commission files lawsuits over unpaid late fees ... The watchdog agency on Thursday sued former state Sen. Anastasia Pittman and 13 other former candidates for public office. It also sued two lobbyists and two political action committees. The lawsuits filed in Oklahoma County District Court represent a new get-tough approach by the Ethics Commission. Its executive director warned Thursday that it would be going to court over outstanding fees once or twice a year “beginning now.”

Broken Arrow Mayor shows support for Trump's wall ... Mayor Craig Thurmond said he sent a letter in which he writes that as mayor of Broken Arrow he “fully supports” the president’s efforts to build a wall on the nation’s southern border. (Tulsa World

County jail problems ... Workers are struggling to clean a heavy infestation of mold out of the Oklahoma County jail. Exasperating the problem is the jail's broken ventilation system. Newly elected county commissioner Carrie Blumert was last week's guest on Political State and we discussed the state of the jail and her goal to have a replacement plan in place or put together by the end of the year. You can watch/listen to that episode here

Former state legislator Jim Hamilton has died at the age of 83 ... (Poteau Daily News) Hamilton was elected to the state Senate in 1967 in a special election and succeeded his father, Clem Hamilton. He served until 1976 and served as Senate president pro tempore from 1973-1975. Hamilton also served in the House of Representatives from 1984-1998. In the House, he served as chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee for eight years.

The Oklahoma County Election Board says the polling locations of four Oklahoma County precincts have changed ... you can see those changes here. Speaking of voting, Jan. 18 is the last day to apply for voter registration to be eligible to vote in the Feb. 12 election.

OKC planning commission approves OnCue request ... The Oklahoma City Planning Commission voted 6-2 Thursday to recommend the Oklahoma City Council approve a rezoning to allow OnCue to build a station at NW 13 and Classen Boulevard after three hours of debate among neighbors and nearby businesses.

Luther voters reject bond ... Voters Tuesday rejected a school bond issue that would have raised taxes to pay for two new safe rooms, laptop computers for every student and a new high school gym.

That does it for today's Capital City. See you Monday for inauguration day. 

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›