- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

Enid News & Eagle, Oct. 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton is our choice for commander in chief

To paraphrase Albert Einstein, what is right is not always popular.

For our newspaper - a historically conservative voice in a conservative, Republican region of arguably the reddest state in the union - endorsing a Democrat for president is truly an exception.

But this is not a routine campaign. In fact, Nov. 8 will see the most crucial presidential election race in contemporary American history.

Realistically, we have only two candidates for president, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, though other names will appear on the ballot. As has been demonstrated time and again in recent months, Trump does not have the skills, experience or temperament to hold office. For voters, Clinton is the only reasonable choice.

We have policy disagreements with Clinton, but she is competent and capable of handling the incredible responsibility of being our nation’s commander in chief and leader of the free world. She has a record of public service as a senator, secretary of state and first lady. She has the temperament and experience to be president.

She has supported protecting U.S. interests and national security, having played a key advisory role in the mission to go after Osama bin Laden. She is smart on trade, wants to grow the middle class, and is focused on creating jobs and growing the economy.

Clinton is not without fault. She mishandled the controversy over her private email server while secretary of state, as well as her initial statements on the terrorist raid on the U.S. post in Benghazi. She should have put a firewall between the Clinton Foundation and her office to avoid the perception of donors buying access.

However, her flaws pale in comparison with the irresponsible conduct demonstrated by Trump during the campaign. For several critical reasons, we believe he is unfit to be president.

Trump berates a Gold Star family who lost their son in the Iraq war, suggests all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States, demeans women who criticize him, describes our foreign trade agreements as “stupid,” launches into name-calling when he is called on his factual errors and lies, and boasts about being “smart” in running up huge business debt and avoiding federal income taxes. He refuses to release his tax returns, rebuking a tradition of presidential candidates of both major parties since 1976. His vainglorious performance has many partisan Republicans aghast.

Our country faces critical domestic issues such as immigration, health care, national security, economic inequality, the growing deficit, racial discrimination and distrust in the criminal justice system that are dividing our country.

We cannot support Trump’s penchant for insulting people of a different race, religion or gender, including the 2005 recording of his lewd remarks about pushing himself on women and kissing and groping them. His lack of knowledge, reckless comments and outrageous statements, later brushed off as sarcasm, could become a serious threat to national security if he were to be commander in chief.

Bluntly, Donald Trump isn’t qualified to be president.

We understand the sentiment of Trump supporters who are fed up with government gridlock, blunders, giveaways and perceived weakness. Distaste for the status quo is nonpartisan. Disenfranchised Democrats also tapped into this view, catapulting Sen. Bernie Sanders to win their party’s primary in Oklahoma.

In our state’s primary, we endorsed Marco Rubio as the stronger GOP candidate with the best chance to win the general election. But Rubio lost and Trump was selected to represent the Republican Party.

Traditionally, the Enid News & Eagle endorses Republicans for president. This newspaper supports conservative values such as less intrusive government, energy independence, fiscal responsibility, free enterprise, prioritization of national defense and more local control in our schools, businesses and lives.

On those policies, we find areas of agreement and disagreement with Clinton. But we don’t elect policies, we elect people, and the person we need to elect is Hillary Clinton.

Ours is not the only conservative newspaper editorial board with a tradition of supporting GOP candidates to now endorse Clinton. The Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Diego Union-Tribune have endorsed her, as well.

Clinton has her flaws, but she also has the experience and knowledge to lead our nation. Her record of public service and detailed knowledge of the colossal issues that our nation confronts make her our choice to become our 45th president.

___

The Journal Record, Oct. 10, 2016

Putting women front and center

Oklahomans got their first glimpse last week of amazing things at the GE Oil and Gas Technology Center that will make the state stand out. Employers should take a cue from the global company when it comes to innovation.

The company’s scientists showed reporters and several hundred guests a few of the research projects in progress. The workers are a diverse group, to say the least.

Jeremy Van Dam showed a prototype of an oil and gas pump that uses wastewater, rather than electricity, to get petroleum to the earth’s surface. Paulina Mwangi showed off the equipment she’ll use in her lab to make old oil fields more productive, while reducing climate-changing pollution. Ashraf El-Messidi and Dustin Sharber demonstrated how GE is partnering with Oklahoma State University to improve methane-detecting drones.

After reporters got a sneak peek at the laboratories, General Manager Mike Ming explained why workforce development was so important. GE sponsors a summer camp for high schoolers interested in science, engineering, technology and math careers.

Its employees are mentors for students at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, GE’s literal next-door neighbor. OSSM student Ingrid Gao told the audience why it was important to have a role model from the global research giant.

After the speeches concluded, electrical engineer Xiaoqing Ge cut the wide red ribbon with a pair of oversized scissors. She’s the lead for the company’s protection and control systems division at the research center.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing we saw at the GE Oil and Gas Technology Center wasn’t the new advances in the labs or the partnerships with local oil and gas drillers. The company put women, in particular the engineers, front and center. Ming did more than just say the company is focused on promoting the development of young women interested in pursuing STEM careers. He showed it.

Women make up nearly 50 percent of the world’s population, the World Bank estimates. They accounted for nearly 54 percent of the national workforce in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women represent 53 percent of Oklahoma’s workforce. Among Oklahoma’s 12,753 engineers, only 33 percent were women.

Women aren’t often the public face of a company. Oklahoma’s major industries, including oil and gas, aerospace and agriculture can do more to recruit and retain a diverse workforce by advancing women in leadership roles.

GE’s early career development program helps engineers get advanced degrees and trains them for management roles. Last year 50 percent of those people were women.

Oklahoma could do worse than to follow GE’s lead by helping women advance in their careers.

___

The Oklahoman, Oct. 9, 2016

Oklahoma lawmakers should restore anti-rape measures

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has declared a recently passed abortion law to be an unconstitutional violation of the “single subject” rule requiring bills to cover only one topic. The measure is worth reviving in separate pieces of legislation because the goal of the bill is entirely defensible: to identify and capture adults who rape children.

That goal has been overshadowed in much of the normal back-and-forth surrounding any bill impacting abortion. Yet while some abortion legislation is mostly designed to deter abortion, major provisions of Senate Bill 642 were designed to ensure that people who rape young girls are identified and prosecuted.

Under existing Oklahoma law, which remains in effect, parental consent is required for a minor child to get an abortion (with some reasonable exemptions). SB 642 added teeth to that law by specifying that a non-guardian adult who obtains an abortion for a minor in violation of the consent law (or a doctor who violates the consent law) can be held civilly liable and subject to damages.

Another provision required that fetal tissue be preserved when a girl younger than age 14 receives an abortion.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law, and typically opposes any regulation of abortion whatsoever. Yet in its legal filing, even the center tacitly conceded the logic of the aforementioned provisions.

It focused much of its challenge on other provisions of SB 642 that dealt with facility inspections and penalties. In arguing that lawmakers had unconstitutionally logrolled unrelated provisions into one bill in violation of the single-subject restriction, the center’s filing noted that “a legislator could reasonably be in favor of tissue preservation for statutory rape investigations .”

Medical personnel are already required to report suspected sexual abuse of children. SB 642’s focus on abortions provided to girls younger than 14 is appropriate, because experts note pregnancy at that age is usually a sign of child rape. Yet there have been a number of instances where officials at abortion clinics have failed to report cases that should have set off alarm bells.

In 2009, a swimming coach was convicted in California of raping and molesting multiple girls over a period of decades. One of his victims had obtained an abortion at age 14 as the result of the abuse. The abortion didn’t result in any referral to law enforcement officials. It’s estimated the coach subsequently molested 20 more girls.

Ideally, officials at abortion clinics will obey the law and contact law enforcement when a patient appears a likely victim of abuse. But when clinic officials fail to do so, SB 642’s requirement that abortion clinics preserve fetal tissue when patients are extremely young provides law enforcement officials the ability to subsequently investigate cases of suspected abuse that initially went unreported.

As Sen. Greg Treat, the Oklahoma City Republican who authored SB 642 noted, “This bill was intended to protect minors by collecting and maintaining evidence of the rape of a child so such evidence could be used to help convict sexual predators. Reasonable minds can agree this is a very worthy goal.”

Indeed. The fact that the courts have ruled abortion must be allowed does not mean state officials must allow abortion to be used as a tool to hide the most abominable of crimes against girls.


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