Editorial: Anthony merits return to Oklahoma Corporation
The Oklahoman - June 19, 2012
ONLY one statewide office is on the ballot this year. It will be
decided June 26 in the Republican primary. GOP voters will determine
who holds an Oklahoma Corporation Commission seat for the next six
years because no Democrat filed for the seat.
The office of corporation commissioner often flies under the radar,
but it's one of the most powerful positions in state government. The
commission's regulatory authority affects up to 20 percent of gross
state product. Its potential impact on citizens is enormous.
Incumbent Bob Anthony is seeking a fifth six-year term. His
challenger, Brooks Mitchell, is a former commission administrator. On
balance, The Oklahoman believes Anthony is the better choice
in this contest.
Anthony is a former president of the C.R. Anthony Co., a heritage
Oklahoma family business. He thus has real-world experience often
lacking in government, augmented by degrees from the Wharton School of
Finance and the London School of Economics.
In office, Anthony has been a vocal critic of federal Environmental
Protection Agency edicts that could result in draconian rate increases
for electric power users. He has vigorously defended hydraulic
fracturing in the face of sustained attacks from radical
environmentalists, correctly seeing energy independence as a good
thing. He has worked to address transmission problems in the electric
grid through his efforts with the Southwest Power Pool, and has
supported innovations such as smart electricity grids.
Anthony supports development of alternative energy sources, but
rightly opposes mandates, seeing them as too rigid for a rapidly
changing marketplace. He supports both coal-fired generation and
natural gas power plants. Although he's often the odd man out in 2-1
commission votes, Anthony notes his obligation "is not to seek
unanimous votes" but to benefit Oklahoma citizens. So long as it
doesn't turn into obstruction, we think vigorous debate is good.
After he was first elected in 1988, Anthony worked with the Federal
Bureau of Investigation to expose endemic corruption at the
Corporation Commission. The full benefit of that action can't be
calculated, but Oklahoma ratepayers continue to reap the benefit of
Mitchell clearly knows the issues facing the Corporation
Commission, having served as the agency's director of administration
and director of the Petroleum Storage Tank Division. Anthony's track
record, however, carries more weight. He deserves another term.
Owing to Oklahoma's closed primary system, Democrats will have no
say in this race. There will be no Republican runoff. The next
corporation commissioner will be selected on June 26.
In this decisive primary, The Oklahoman believes
Republican voters should select Bob Anthony.
© 2012 The Oklahoman
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