The Heroes Among Us

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

How many times a day do we use the phrase “thank you.” I’m sure most of us say “thank you” dozens of times each day. We say “thank you” when a store clerk hands us change. We thank our friends when they pay us compliments or do us a favor. But how do you thank someone who is willing to give up everything so that we may continue to enjoy our lives and live in freedom?

For hundreds of years, young men and women have volunteered to defend our nation during times of war and peace. Our military servicemen and women who served in the defense of this nation are the truest heroes America has ever known. Our nation is richer because of the dedication of these great Americans. They came from every corner of society. Yet they served all Americans with the same passion, dedication and courage.

When you ask men and women to give up everything to protect the rest of us, the words “thank you” seem pretty insufficient.

Today, we remember those courageous Americans who have given their lives so that others could live in freedom. We also honor all the service men and women who serve our military today, protecting our freedoms and our liberty from oppressors and terrorists. These men and women took an oath to defend America, and they uphold that oath with bravery, decency and valor.

Veterans Day honors all those soldiers who have served on active, Reserve or Guard duty. It honors those who have served during times of peace, as well as times of war. This day salutes those who served two years and those who have served for their entire careers.

Veterans Day honors those who have served in all the services ─ soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman. It celebrates those who joined voluntarily and those who were drafted. It honors those who served in the front lines, the supply lines and guarding the shores back home.

This day is vitally important, because, even a small amount of recognition can go a long way with a veteran. My best wishes to you all for a meaningful and memorable Veterans Day. God Bless America.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share

AT&T Demonstrates MOBILE BROADBAND Service 
at Woodward Event

For more information, contact:
Sandra Robinett
Office: 580-233-5411
Mobile: 580-231-0849

AT&T demonstrates MOBILE BROADBAND service 
at woodward event
Four Area Cell Towers Upgraded to Offer High-Speed Wireless Service

woodward, Okla., Nov. 10, 2010 — AT&T* today officially launched its mobile broadband network in Woodward with a community event featuring a demonstration of the new high-speed wireless service at the Woodward campus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

“We’re proud to bring our third-generation mobile broadband service to this area,” said Steve Gray, vice president and general manager for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets in Arkansas and Oklahoma. “Mobile broadband brings DSL-like speeds to your phone or computer, but without any cables or phone lines. It’s a wireless service that gives you super-fast access to the Internet, video and audio, data, e-mail and more.”

AT&T is an industry leader in delivering the benefits of mobile broadband networks, devices and applications. With the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T provides accelerated mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities for an amazing wireless voice and data experience.

Gray said AT&T upgraded four cell towers in the Woodward vicinity to bring mobile broadband service to the area, a project that is part of AT&T’s 2010 network investment program in Oklahoma this year. In the first six months of 2010, AT&T invested nearly $35 million in its Oklahoma wireless network.

Bryan Gonterman, president, AT&T Oklahoma, said AT&T has a long-standing commitment to serve Oklahoma and to bringing the latest technology to more communities. AT&T’s total capital investment in its Oklahoma wireless and wireline networks from 2007 through 2009 was nearly $650 million.

“When businesses look to expand or relocate, it is crucial that Woodward is able to offer them technology and services that rival those found in our state’s biggest cities,” said Ira Smith, chairman, Woodward Industrial Foundation.

Smith credited state Sen. Bryce Marlatt and state Rep. Mike Sanders with helping to bring the new technology to Woodward. “We are fortunate to have legislators at the state Capitol who are working to create the business environment that encourages this type of high-tech investment,” Smith said.

“The investment in a stronger wireless network for Woodward will help attract business and strengthen our local economy,” Marlatt said. “People of all ages today rely on being able to stay in touch with friends and family members and to transact their everyday business using a wireless phone or device.”

“High-speed wireless broadband is the next evolution of wireless communications, and I’m excited that Woodward is now at the forefront,” Sanders said.

In Woodward, AT&T products and services are available at the AT&T store at 2728 Williams Ave.

Wireless data traffic on the AT&T network has grown more than 5,000 percent over the past three years, largely attributed to the increasing popularity of advanced smartphones and the performance of AT&T’s 3G network, the nation’s fastest.

The expansion of mobile broadband service is one of many ongoing network initiatives planned to enhance coverage and capacity across the country. AT&T recently upgraded mobile broadband cell sites nationwide to High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2. Future plans include another upgrade to HSPA+ technology at the end of this year followed by the initial deployment next year of LTE, the next-generation of wireless technology. These advancements, when combined with an ongoing initiative to increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, are a part of AT&T’s strategy to provide customers with an enhanced mobile broadband experience, both today and in the future.

AT&T’s mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T has the best international coverage of any U.S. wireless provider, providing access to voice service in over 220 countries and data service in more than 195 countries. AT&T also offers voice and data roaming coverage on more than 135 major cruise ships, as well as mobile broadband services in more than 120 countries.

For more information about AT&T’s mobile broadband coverage in Oklahoma or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit The online tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.
Add your reaction Share

Exercise Your Right to Vote

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

In many ways, I feel like election day is a second Independence Day, because while we celebrate the many rights we have in this country on July 4, it is on Nov. 2 that we exercise one of our most important rights of all. One of the founding principles of our nation was to empower ordinary citizens by giving them the right to representation. “No taxation without representation” was the famous cry at the Boston tea party. They wanted to be able to elect representatives from their community to government.

Through an incredible struggle and unlikely success, Americans achieved that representation and earned their right to vote. This year, we will get the chance to take part in a historic election in which the state’s first female governor will be chosen from two high-profile, long-time public servants. In addition to that historic choice, there will be a string of statewide offices to elect and 11 state questions to choose from. Polling shows that in many of the races, even a small number of voters could make the difference. It would be a shame if those voters stayed home.

Many brave American men and women have fought to preserve our American system of government, and we honor them by voting. In countries under communist rule and other undemocratic forms of government, citizens get no voice at all. I would urge all local residents to not only honor this right by taking part in this election, but by also doing your homework to ensure that this right is carefully and thoughtfully exercised.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share

Proposed New Dust Rules Are Ludicrous

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Farmers across the nation must be shaking their heads at the sheer ridiculousness of a proposal to further restrict the amount of “farm dust” that they may emit into the air. Farm dust refers to particles of diesel, manure, herbicides, and pesticides found on farms. Scientists employed by the Environmental Protection Agency have recommended a new rule that would be twice as restrictive as the current standard. This rule, if approved, may be in place by as early as 2011.

Agriculture is one of the largest industries in Oklahoma and could be adversely affected by the proposed rule. The EPA has not clarified what farmers would have to do to meet the new standard. Two solutions that were suggested in an article by The Oklahoman are to spray water on the fields to keep dust down or employ no-till or low-till farming techniques. In the same story, an Oklahoma Farm Bureau spokesperson pointed out that low-till farming is already widely used in Oklahoma. Spraying water on the fields might work, but would mean farmers would have to spend more to farm.

Those looking out for agricultural interests in the state have correctly pointed out that weather factors take control of the amount of farm dust in the air out of farmers’ hands and into Mother Nature’s. That means that the EPA is effectively trying to regulate nature itself. Ambient air miles from any human activity would not pass the proposed regulations.

I, for one, am disappointed to see an agency like the EPA, which was created at a time when there was no environmental regulation, go so far as to try and restrict farm dust down to levels that are simply ludicrous. The lack of common sense and balance in such a decision makes me think there needs to be better legislative oversight of this agency on a federal level.

October is 4-H month. I would like to congratulate all local chapters. October also marks the rapidly approaching Nov. 2 elections. This year’s ballot will include 11 state questions, many of which will create vast changes in the way the state is run. The questions can be found on the Oklahoma State Election Board Web site, at

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share

Natural Gas Fuels Continued Growth in Oklahoma Okarche Now a Center of Booming CNG Industry

Contact: House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421

OKLAHOMA CITY – The momentum for converting to alternative energy sources, particularly natural gas fuels, continues to grow, benefitting both Oklahoma and the nation, House Speaker Chris Benge noted today.

The demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles has been felt in Okarche, where Oklahoma Equipment Management Systems (OEM) has seen demand for CNG conversions increase from about eight in 2007 to an estimated 800 vehicles by the end of this calendar year.

“For two years, I’ve argued that energy security is perhaps the most important issue facing this country and Oklahoma is uniquely positioned to be a leader. We have an abundance of natural gas, and the technology and ability to make use of it,” said Benge, R-Tulsa. “It’s becoming clear that Oklahoma is reaping the benefits of those efforts. At OEM Systems in Okarche, they’ve developed and refined the conversion process. After starting out as basically a home garage operation, their CNG conversion facility now deals in large volume. That’s good news for Oklahoma, because it creates jobs, and it’s good for our country as we attempt to wean the United States off foreign oil.”

Benge recently toured the OEM Systems facility in Okarche, discussing the process of CNG conversion with local experts.

State Rep. Mike Sanders, a Kingfisher Republican who represents Okarche also attended the tour, as did state Sen. Mike Johnson (R-Kingfisher), state Senator-elect Rob Johnson (R-Kingfisher) and other officials.

Since OEM began performing CNG conversions in 2007, they have streamlined procedures and worked with manufacturers to simplify the conversion process, dramatically reducing the time required.

That increased efficiency has combined with increased demand for CNG vehicle fleets, resulting in a huge growth rate in the CNG conversion business. In 2007, OEM did just a handful of conversions. Today, its facility is performing up to 40 vehicle conversions per week and is on pace to complete 800 this year.

That growth is also creating jobs. Of 95 employees at the company, 16 are currently involved in CNG conversion work.

OEM has worked with Oklahoma City Community College to certify new CNG technicians, in addition to running an in-house certification process.

The company also has satellite facilities in other states to provide maintenance service on CNG vehicles.

Sanders said the CNG success of OEM shows the positive economic impact that converting to natural gas fuels can have on rural Oklahoma communities.

“It means a great deal when we can home-grow our own fuel, produce it, manufacture it, and convert vehicles to run on it at places like OEM Systems in Okarche,” Sanders said. “The growth of CNG means not only greater energy security for our country, but also more jobs in places like western Oklahoma.”

Benge has worked to enact policy placing Oklahoma at the forefront of both the oil-and-gas industry and the alternative-energy movement, making the issue one of his top priorities as House leader.

In recent years, the Legislature has approved tax incentives to help offset both the conversion of a vehicle to natural gas fuels and the cost of installing CNG fueling stations. This year, lawmakers also set a state goal of having one public CNG station located every 50 miles along the state’s interstate system by 2025.
“In Oklahoma, we made great progress by pushing a locally-available, plentiful and cheaper option in natural gas, which creates jobs and wealth right here in America instead of shipping our money overseas,” Benge said. “My hope is that other states will see the success we are having in Oklahoma and replicate our policies in their own states.”
Add your reaction Share

Representative Sanders Receives ‘A’ Rating From NRA

Contact: State Rep. Mike Sanders
Office: (405) 557-7407

OKLAHOMA CITY– State Rep. Mike Sanders recently received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund.

“I am honored to stand for Oklahomans’ Second Amendment rights and appreciate the NRA’s recognition,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “I think that the Constitution is clear on this issue and believe that gun ownership increases one’s personal public safety.”

The NRA-PVF rates legislators based on their pro-gun voting record and answers to a questionnaire. Sanders received an “A” rating in part because of his support for laws prohibiting prospective employers from inquiring about private firearm ownership, allowing firearm purchases in contiguous states, establishing a black bear hunt, an emergency concealed carry permit for citizens who successfully apply for a protective restraining order, and a 10-year concealed firearm permit.

Sanders also received recognition for his participation in a pro-gun amicus brief used in the United States Supreme Court McDonald v. City of Chicago case.
Add your reaction Share

Fired Up Over Fire Service

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Over the days of September 21 through 24, I had the distinct honor of joining seven local fire chiefs and participating in an annual conference in Washington, D.C. Organized by the Office of the Oklahoma Fire Marshall, the trip was meant to bring issues that affect local fire service to the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation and learn about fire service training and challenges nationwide.

I am also pleased to announce that Randy Poindexter, Kingfisher’s fire chief, received the Public Safety Medal of Valor for his efforts in the 2007 Kingfisher floods.

Our group spent a day visiting with officials at the seven offices of Oklahoma’s federal delegation and personally met with U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressmen Frank Lucas and Tom Cole. We also spoke with staff from Congresswoman Mary Fallin’s office because she was in Oklahoma at the time. We spent an evening with Washington, D.C. firefighters and Dennis Rubin, Chief of Fire and Emergency Medical Services for Washington, D.C.

We listened to federal officials who taught us about geographic information systems and mapping terrain for fire protection, social media’s impact on fire protection and emergency management efforts, and new technological developments. These officials included several from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines and the Superintendent of the U.S. Fire Academy Denis Onieal.

This was the eighth year for the Oklahoma Fire Marshall to host a conference in Washington, D.C. Efforts from this trip have led to increased participation in training by Oklahoma firefighters. Over the past two years, 150 fire service personnel attended the National Fire Academy resident courses in Maryland and 755 personnel participated in off-campus NFA courses, with $56,000 offered in grants. According to the National Fire Academy, 21,245 Oklahoma personnel have been trained through the NFA's State and Local Partner Sponsored Off-Campus Delivery since 1982.

During the trip, I was able to learn about fire service from national experts and the firefighters in attendance. I enjoyed discussing the relevance in Oklahoma with the local fire chiefs who attended. Firefighters are a critical component of public safety, especially in rural Oklahoma where fires are so prevalent. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity I had to further educate myself.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share

Lawmakers Participate in National Fire Conference

Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305

Contact: State Rep. Mike Sanders
Capitol: (405) 557-7407

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 28, 2010) – Over the days of September 21 to 24, twenty Oklahomans participated in an annual conference located in Washington, D.C.

This trip, organized by the Office of the Oklahoma Fire Marshall, allowed persons involved in the fire service to meet with Oklahoma's Congressional Delegation and others about the needs facing firefighters in Oklahoma.

Two Oklahoma state legislators, Reps. Joe Dorman and Mike Sanders, were included in the group this year. Dorman and Sanders work closely with fire protection issues at the State Capitol and in their districts.

“This was an amazing trip for learning more about what is occurring in fire service programs at the federal level,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. “The opportunity to visit with the Congressmen and Senators, along with the US Fire Administrator and the Superintendent of the National Fire Academy, provided great insight at the programs and equipment available for fire protection.”

“I was honored to be on the trip with many of my local fire chiefs and learn along with them about training and issues facing fire service,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “I was also humbled to be in Washington at the same time my local fire chief, Randy Poindexter, received the Public Safety Medal of Valor for efforts in the 2007 Kingfisher floods.”

The group spent one day of their trip visiting with officials at the seven offices of Oklahoma’s federal delegation and personally met with U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressmen Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and John Sullivan. The conference attendees also met with staff members from the other members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, then spent the evening with Washington, D.C. firefighters learning about how they handle situations through each department, including meeting officers who deal specifically with firefighting from the Potomac River and Dennis Rubin, Chief of Fire and Emergency Medical Services for Washington, D.C.

“This trip allows Oklahoma firefighters to interact directly with US Fire Administration, FEMA and other federal officials and also puts a face on who these programs affect for the federal officials when meeting these Oklahomans,” said Oklahoma State Fire Marshal Robert Doke. “Another important aspect is the opportunity to provide knowledge of new programs and new technology like the lightweight air pack vests and fire-safe compasses that help when a firefighter becomes disoriented.

“One portion we cannot forget is sharing the success stories of the Fire Act Grants and the importance of maintaining these opportunities with our federal elected officials,” Doke continued. “These grants prove invaluable when Oklahoma fire departments apply for them each year and the winners receive the award.”

The remainder of the trip consisted of meetings with federal officials regarding geographic information systems and mapping terrain for fire protection, learning how social media is impacting fire protection and emergency management efforts, and new technology soon to be available to departments. Meetings were also held with FEMA, Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines and the Superintendent of the U.S. Fire Academy Denis Onieal.

This was the eighth year for the Oklahoma Fire Marshall to host a conference in Washington, D.C. Efforts from this trip have led to increased participation in training by Oklahoma firefighters. Over the past two years, 150 fire service personnel attended the National Fire Academy (NFA) resident courses on the Emmitsburg, MD campus and 755 personnel participated in off-campus NFA courses in the region, state or local community, with $56,000 offered in grants. According to the National Fire Academy, 21,245 Oklahoma personnel have been trained through the NFA's State and Local Partner Sponsored Off-Campus Delivery since 1982.

Dorman and Sanders used their own resources to pay the costs associated with this trip. No state dollars were expended.

“I felt this trip was important due to the nature of legislation I file for my local firefighters and is was especially important for me to learn more about fire service from these national experts and the firefighters in attendance,” said Sanders. “I had seven fire chiefs from in my district and close by my area who attended this conference and I wanted to learn from them while they in turn learned more about federal efforts in fire protection.”

“The men and women who serve as firefighters put their lives on the line every time they answer a page,” said Dorman. “We as elected officials need to be up to speed on local, state and federal issues so we can in turn help our firefighters receive the best training at an affordable cost and work to replace equipment as new technology is available.”
Add your reaction Share

Redistricting Process Will Include Rural Voice

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

In the 2011 session, lawmakers will take up the challenging duty of redrawing the lines for both congressional and state legislative districts.

The redistricting process occurs every 10 years following the completion of the U.S. Census count. Although it is not a glamorous issue, redistricting is crucial to maintaining our most basic right in a democracy, the principle of “one man, one vote.”

As some areas gain population and other areas lose citizens, redistricting ensures that each district has approximately the same number of people, preventing the artificial dilution of any one group’s voting power. In the past, some largely rural districts were drawn in such a way that they included a small but populated urban area. These districts did not truly represent the rural communities in them because of the number of votes in the urban portion of the district.

This time around, I am pleased to inform you that rural lawmakers will have a major role in the redistricting process. House Speaker-Designate Kris Steele has named an eight-member bipartisan Redistricting Steering Committee that includes rural Republican leaders. State Reps. Dale DeWitt (R-Braman) and John Trebilcock (R-Broken Arrow) will serve as co-chairs of the committee. Overall, five of the eight committee members represent rural districts. I have put in a request to be on the standing committee for redistricting once session begins.

In the Senate, state Sen. Mike Schulz (R-Altus) has been named co-chairman of that chamber’s 2011 Redistricting Committee. Schulz is another strong advocate for rural Oklahoma.

The committee’s first task will be to create guidelines for redistricting, drawing on the law governing redistricting and the process required.

The process will begin in earnest once we receive the U.S. Census Bureau data, probably in mid-March. Work on the House and Senate district lines must be completed by the end of the 2011 legislative session and new lines for Congressional and county offices should be completed before the 2012 elections.

As I mentioned, I believe the new lines should be drawn based on common-sense principles. When possible, districts should be geographically compact and include communities with similar interests. Basically, rural communities should be in rural districts, and urban neighborhoods should be in urban districts.

While population changes may mean a few more seats shift to the metro areas, I believe rural Oklahoma will continue to comprise a large share of House and Senate seats if we redraw the lines fairly.

I am pleased several of my allies will have leadership roles, but I will also be actively engaged in the redistricting effort and continue to fight for rural Oklahoma.

In closing, I would like to congratulate Pastor Gary and Helen Barnhart and the Abundant Praise Church of God in Kingfisher on their new sanctuary. I can't thank them enough for their warm hospitality and letting me be a part of their celebration.

I will be traveling through the district during the interim and will keep you regularly updated on the ideas and problems presented to me by constituents. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share

Nine Years After 9/11

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

The image of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center will be forever present in our minds. Even nine years later, I can remember the horror and awe at seeing it. The words, “we are under attack,” came out of my mouth as we watched. I was the Director of White House Interns at the time. We were told to evacuate the building.

Nearly 3,000 lives were lost, lives of good people who were just going about their daily tasks that day. That terrible tragedy put the United States onto a new course and changed the way we talk about foreign policy and border security.

It’s hard to imagine but that day could have been worse, that’s one thing that frightens me the most. Flight 93 was also hijacked and could have taken the lives of its intended target if the brave men and women aboard had not brought it down in western Pennsylvania. Firefighters and policemen in New York City and Washington, D.C., gave their lives rescuing strangers from the ruins of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I would be remiss to forget these sacrifices.

I think that when people question the wars we have entered into, that they must have let too much of that day slip out of their memories. Our brave men and women are fighting on distant shores because we have learned, in a terrible way, that what happens in other countries affects us. We cannot sit idly by while less stable countries become havens for our enemies and eventually come back to haunt us.

I am very grateful for the freedoms my family and I enjoy in our country. I am also thankful for those men and women who sacrifice everything to provide us those freedoms. They give us peace of mind and in return, we give them our respect and gratitude. Let us never forget and always remember the day we were attacked so boldly and so terribly.

I will be traveling through the district during the interim and will keep you regularly updated on the ideas and problems presented to me by constituents. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.
Add your reaction Share