Monday, April 13, 2009

Open Door Policy - April 6, 2009

I want to start off this week by reminding everyone of the Apache Rattlesnake Hunt April 16 -19th. I hope you will have the chance to attend. I will be there and look forward to having some fun as this is a great annual festival that is very family-friendly. I am also having Lasik surgery on my eyes on Friday, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers that it is successful.

I have been busy with reading bills over the past few weeks and have also had the chance to visit with many folks from back home while they have been at the Capitol. We had over 50 bills considered in the Appropriations and Budget committee on Monday and the schedule will be the same for the next committee meeting on Thursday. We also considered Senate Bill 834, which was voted out of the Common Education committee on a straight party vote (Republicans for the bill, Democrats against it). I had the chance to speak to a group of teachers in Chickasha on Thursday along with Sen. Ron Justice about this bill. I feel this bill goes too far with deregulation of schools and will provide too many problems at the local level, and also has the chance to reduce the amount the state appropriates to common education in the future.

Dr. John Feaver from USAO and Dr. Cindy Ross from Cameron University were present at a reception honoring the Nigh Scholars, which has one student selected from each college in the state to serve in a leadership program throughout the year. Colin Lowe, a graduate of Ninnekah High School, is in this current class.

On another note involving Ninnekah, I was pleased to have Annesha Kirk serve as a page for me at the Capitol. She had the opportunity to participate in the mock legislature for the pages and worked very hard Sunday through Thursday for the House of Representatives.

We also celebrated the Centennial of Oklahoma 4-H at the Capitol and I had the pleasure of having lunch with Jenna Murray from Fletcher and Nicole Ashton of Elgin . Another event that occurred on Monday was a dinner reception with local representatives from the various rural electric cooperatives on Monday night and I was able to visit with each of them while they were in Oklahoma City.

There were also several groups associated with career technology programs at the Capitol last week. I had the chance to visit with the Skills USA program from Canadian Valley Career Tech and the Leadership class with Great Plains Technology Center . These students are outstanding leaders and will each have a bright future once they finish up school.

This past weekend was also pretty busy as I attended both the Grady County and Comanche County Democratic Party meetings. I will be serving as the chair of Grady County until a permanent chair is selected, so I look forward to helping organize the group and getting more young people involved in the process. I also attended the National Wild Turkey Federation banquet in Chickasha and the Armed Services YMCA fund raising breakfast in Lawton.

On a final note, I had a chance to attend the Oklahoma City Thunder game on Sunday with my niece, Sarah Wheeler, and her two children, Bekah and Tristan. It was Tristan's birthday on Saturday and he is now a teenager, so Happy Birthday!

It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559 , Rush Springs , OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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