Editor’s note: Candidates for state and national offices on the ballot for the August 28 runoff election were invited to respond to questions for profiles in The Ardmoreite. Those who chose to respond will be featured alongside their ballot opponent. For those that did not participate, basic information will be provided.
1. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Bob Anthony’s degrees include: Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, B.S.; London School of Economics, M.Sc.; Yale University, M.A.; Harvard University, M.P.A. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. Anthony was president of the C. R. Anthony Company when it was the largest privately-owned company headquartered in Oklahoma. During his seven years as president, annual sales, payroll and profits reached all-time record levels.
Anthony has served five terms on the Corporation Commission and six times as its chairman. For his work fighting corruption, the F.B.I. honored Anthony with its highest award given to a citizen who “at great personal sacrifice, has unselfishly served his community and the nation.” He is one of only five state regulators on the National Petroleum Council, appointed by five U.S. Secretaries of Energy across three administrations. Bob and wife Nancy have four daughters and four grandchildren.
Why are you running for this office?
Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony is running for reelection because, he says, “It’s just too important.”  There are issues facing the Corporation Commission that are worth billions to Oklahoma’s economy and the ratepayers of Oklahoma – issues that will impact Oklahoma’s future for decades to come.  Anthony’s knowledge and experience are key to making sure Oklahoma ratepayers are protected at the Corporation Commission.  His pertinent educational background, military service, business experience and regulatory credentials are unmatched among candidates for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and Oklahoma needs the best person to serve.
What do you think are the top three biggest challenges facing our state?
Bob believes the biggest challenges facing our state include education, accountability, and the voters’ lack of trust in their government.
Education: At the OCC, Bob incentivized the roll-out of high-speed Internet to schools and libraries in more than 100 Oklahoma towns and cities, giving our students the tools they need to succeed.  He also approved a $30 million education information technology fund and enabled pooled natural gas purchasing for schools which, with our state’s low electricity rates, have helped schools decrease expenses.
Accountability: Many candidates talk about improving accountability and transparency in government.  Already among his priorities at the OCC, back in 2011, Bob asked the State Auditor to embed auditors at his agency to conduct regular performance, financial and operational agency audits.  They now do.
Lack of Trust in Government: Bob believes violations of the public trust profane democracy.  More on Bob’s extensive efforts to assure honesty in government below.
What are your top five priorities to address while in office?
Bob Anthony has worked tirelessly for honesty in government, the public interest, and economic development statewide. If reelected, he will continue his efforts on behalf of all Oklahomans.
“Honesty. Integrity. Anthony.”  At the Corporation Commission, Bob has rooted out corruption, enforcing the toughest ethics code in state government and embedding regular performance, financial and operational agency audits.
“My only special interest is Oklahoma.”  Bob’s record shows he stands up for Oklahoma consumers.  He is not afraid to ask tough questions and hold big companies accountable.  His record shows a commitment to the public interest, not the special interests.  A national consumers group honored him for his “tireless efforts on behalf of Oklahoma consumers.”
Bob has encouraged job growth statewide by keeping our utility rates among the nation’s lowest, ordering the largest utility refunds in state history, and incentivizing new technologies, including high-speed Internet, wind power and enhanced 911.
When faced with a specific situation that puts your personal viewpoint at odds with a great many of your constituents, what decision do you make and why?
In our Republican form of government, citizens depend on a few elected representatives to make decisions for the many.  If every decision required a vote (or poll) of the people, our government would cease to function.  Oklahoma voters have a right to expect their elected officials to be well-informed about the issues for which they are responsible and to make thoughtful, considered decisions.  Issues at the Corporation Commission are often simultaneously enormously impactful and exceptionally complex.
Bob believes, as an elected official, he should assure the voting public can be informed about pending matters.  (Dozens of filings are available daily on the OCC website.)  He also believes citizens should have an opportunity to have their voices heard.  (At the Corporation Commission, this is called “public comment.”) That said, ultimately, he makes decisions that are, in his judgment, in the best interests of the people of Oklahoma.  That’s leadership.
What is your position on the gross production tax? What do you think the max GPT should be? What is your stance on GPT for resources other than oil?
Although the Corporation Commission regulates most aspects of oil and gas production, it does not set the Gross Production Tax, nor does it directly benefit from it.  It is the legislature’s responsibility to raise the revenue needed for our state government to function and to adequately fund the state’s various boards and agencies so they can perform their assigned duties.
 During Bob’s tenure, parts of the Corporation Commission’s budget have been repeatedly cut while, at the same time, the legislature has given the Commission more programs to administer and more industries to oversee.  For example, the legislature did not allocate any additional funding when it assigned the OCC to track earthquakes or to regulate Uber.  As at many other state agencies, current funding levels create challenges at the Commission. That said, it is up to the legislature to decide where to derive the agency’s – and all of state government’s – funding.