Approaching a defining election

Good morning to all of you,

I am at a distance today, but this technology allow me to connect with you as if we were on the campus today.

I was truly pleased that Denise Northrup, Governor Mary Fallin’s Chief of Staff, was able and willing to spend time with you. Denise is an a pivotal political position in Oklahoma as she has the Governor’s ear and access to her likely more than anyone. She told me that she enjoyed her time with you. I will be interested in the impressions you have of her comments. Once the new legislative session draws closer to opening in January, Denise will be completely focused on her myriad duties as the Governor brings forth her budget proposal to the convening legislature. There is also a perspective we need to share regarding her position. She and Governor Fallin exemplify the increasingly central role that women play in political, civic, business and educational leadership. Issues of access and opportunity to lead for women have changed in an historic manner over the past few decades.

Our country draws closer to the November 6th national, state and local election date. With just one more presidential candidate debate remaining, the President and Governor Romney appear to be about even. American presidents are elected by the Electoral College with each state having electoral votes equal to their current representation in Congress. The disposition of those votes is based on the popular vote in each state. It is possible for someone to be elected president only by winning the electoral college majority of 270 and actually lose the popular vote. This rare scenario is now being tossed about among political insiders and media analysts as the race has tightened to a near dead heat. Our unique election model focuses attention and gives enhanced influence to a handful of key states whose popular vote outcome remains unclear. Keep an eye on Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, and pivotal Ohio. The various combinations of winning or losing these states could spell the difference in a second term for the president or the election of Governor Romney. This race appears to be closer than most in our history.

Also note that our citizens will be electing the full House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, governors in selected states and state legislatures around the country. The world’s oldest democracy is about to end the months of speculation and posturing by going to vote. And after all the shouting and all the prognostication, power in the USA will be reaffirmed or will pass peacefully to another leader. Make sure you are among thosemwhomcast their ballot on or before November 6th.

The world beyond UCO and Oklahoma continues to grapple with issues of serious consequence. Syria, whose civil war has been waging since March of 2011, took a mean turn this week and spilled over into newborns, vulnerable Lebanon. There, in the cosmopolitan capital city of Beirut, the chief of Lebanese security, known to be opposed to the Syrian President Assad, was assassinated in a huge bomb explosion that tore apart a Beirut neighborhood with at least 100 wounded. This story is not over, and will influence US policy choices.

We are closing on UCO’s Homecoming Week. This is a marvelous time at the university with multiple events, parade, the football game and many opportunities to welcome back our alumni and demonstrate our pride. Get involved and enjoy the festivities.

Take care this week and I always look forward to seeing you.

Don Betz