The first session of the 58th Legislature kicked off in earnest this week. This will be my fourth session since being elected in March 2018, and it is truly an honor and privilege to represent House District 51.
I am just as excited to work each day on your behalf as I was when I was elected three years ago. Although we have come a long way in the last three years, we still have many important policies we need to work on this year to keep Oklahoma moving forward.
On Monday, the House and Senate met in joint session on the House floor to hear Governor Kevin Stitt’s third State of the State Address. In his speech, he outlined his top priorities for the legislative session this year.
Governor Stitt opened his speech by discussing COVID-19 and its impact on our state, including our state budget projections for FY2022. Thankfully, Oklahoma is in a better position than most states to weather the financial fallout from the pandemic because of how we handled COVID-19.
It was also very encouraging to hear the Governor’s call for schools to offer multiple learning options for students. Education is far too valuable to limit children to a school model or district that may not be working for them just because of the zip code they live in. Parents should have the freedom to send their kids to whatever school district they feel that best meets the needs of their kids as long as that school has adequate capacity.
The Governor also talked about the value of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry and the importance of ensuring the industry is able to operate and continue to provide jobs for thousands of Oklahomans.
Throughout the rest of the week, I spent most of my time meeting with the chairs of committees my bills have been assigned to so I could schedule a hearing and answer any questions about the bill the chairs had.
As Chair of the House Energy Committee, I also met with lawmakers whose bills have been assigned to my committee to learn more about their legislation.
I also met with stakeholders in the energy industry. We discussed energy policy and how we can continue to be a top-producing energy state in the nation. There is work we can do at the state level to help the industry that employs so many Oklahomans and is the largest tax payer for the state budget. On Thursday, many members of the House Energy Committee toured a drilling rig and I appreciate Kenny Baker at Cactus Drilling for taking time out of his busy schedule to host us for a tour.
Next week will be a busy week. Our full committee schedule begins, so I’ll be attending the committees I sit on, managing the agenda and presenters for the Energy Committee, and will also be presenting my own bills in committees. We will start voting on bills on the House floor as well.
As your elected official, it’s my duty to represent you at the State Capitol and it’s important for me to hear from you so I can best represent you. I value constituent feedback, so if there are any policies that are concerning or you feel strongly about, then please contact me. God bless!