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COMMENTARY
(Mike Allen)
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The Red River Bridge Corporation wanted to keep profiting from a toll bridge that carried U.S. 75 and U.S. 69. In 1931, the Texas corporation sued Texas and Oklahoma to prevent the opening of a recently-completed free bridge across the Red River.

Oklahoma Gov. Alfalfa Bill Murray resisted the corporation’s effort and moved to keep the free bridge open. The “Red River War” would eventually escalate to include court injunctions, barricades across the free bridge on the Texas side, the demolition of the approaches to the toll bridge, and threats to dismantle the toll bridge.

As governor, Murray appeared at bridge site, armed with a revolver, and deployed the Oklahoma National Guard to both sides of the river shut down the toll bridge and keep the free bridge open. International headlines were made. A photograph of Murray with armed troops showed his defiance of Texas, toll bridges, and the federal courts.

Now, more than 85 years later, another Oklahoma governor and Legislature deals with a different threat from Texas — the opportunity for our teachers to make more money and teach in better schools while paying lower taxes.

— Keith Gaddie


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