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With the filing period for the Norman City Council coming up later this month, several individuals and current council members have announced they intend to file to run for city council and mayoral spots.

For years, we've extolled the virtues of voting, bemoaning the trend of terribly low voter turnouts in both local and statewide elections. In the last midterms, an abysmal 40 percent of registered voters actually cast a ballot for governor.

Thursday was the first day of early voting for Tuesday's midterm elections (it continues today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and the Oklahoma Election Board released some fascinating voter registration information that gives a glimpse into what we might expect from Nov. 6. Here are the highlights:

President Donald Trump's comments last week praising Congressman Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a reporter in 2017 is just the most recent example of the divisive behavior that has escalated over the past two years.

It's been over three months since Oklahomans approved State Question 788, which legalized medicinal marijuana. The state health department opened the application process near the end of July, and has received thousands of patient and caregiver applications, as well as more than a thousand dispensary applications.

In his first three months as OU president, James Gallogly has outlined a plan for the university's future that includes increasing faculty salaries, freezing tuition and cutting into OU's debt.

This will be my last Labor Day to serve as the Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor; an appropriate time to reflect on my tenure at the Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) and the incredible challenges and opportunities.

The June 29 election resulted in massive voter turnout across the state, and for good reason: almost every statewide position was up for grabs, and three parties had gubernatorial primaries. In inclusion of SQ 788 — medical marijuana — on the ballot added to the turnout, for sure. And voters were more engaged due to the recent teacher walkout.

While the teacher walkout ended with legislators, and the Oklahoma Education Association, trumpeting roughly $450 million increase in education funding and an average $6,100 pay increase. The raises, which went into effect on Aug. 1, places Oklahoma second in the region in average teacher salary.

Space may be the final frontier, but the Trump administration’s decision to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military is absurd, unnecessary and will divert taxpayer dollars away from actual needs, like repairing our flagging infrastructure, supporting a failing entitlement system or simply addressing the compounding national deficit.

With temperatures creeping to triple digits and beyond, it’s important for Oklahomans to take the heat seriously.

Established to honor the adoption of the American flag on June 14, 1777, Flag Day was established as a national holiday in 1946. While not an official federal holiday, Flag Day has historically been celebrated with parades, ceremonies at historical landmarks and museums, and by citizens displaying the flag of the United States. It’s an excellent opportunity to review flag etiquette, as detailed in the U.S. Flag Code. Below are some points every American should know about the display and maintenance of the flag:

Nearly 100 current educators are attempting to win seats in the state Legislature in an effort to increase emphasis on public education.

Climate change is one of the most significant issues we face today. We’re already experiencing the effects of global warming, and the long-term impact of climate change is incredibly concerning.

One of the issues Oklahomans will weigh in on at the polls later this month is State Question 788, commonly known as medical marijuana.

Tomorrow, May 28, the United States will honor the memory of U.S. military members who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. The holiday originated as Decoration Day in the 1860s after the Civl War. It became an official federal holiday in 1971 and was moved to the final Monday in May to create a three-day weekend.

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