By: State Rep. Brad Boles
This week, the House Republican Caucus was joined by U.S. Sen. James Lankford to discuss his work for Oklahoma in D.C. I’ve known Sen. Lankford since my childhood days attending Falls Creek Summer Youth Camp, where he was camp director. We are blessed to have his wisdom representing us in Congress.
On Monday afternoon, I met with ODOT Secretary Tim Gatz and a couple of colleagues from the Senate and House to discuss how to best serve rural Oklahoma by improving our infrastructure. ODOT’s 8-year plan has significantly improved the quality of the state roads and bridges across Oklahoma, but we still have many issues with county roads in rural Oklahoma. We had an insightful discussion about opportunities for improvement in these areas.
Later Monday, I attended the annual Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legislative Banquet, which is a great chance to meet Farm Bureau board members across the state and within District 51. The Farm Bureau does an outstanding job educating legislators on how bills may affect the agricultural industry. Our farmers and ranchers play a significant role in our economy and help feed the state, country and rest of the world. We must maintain a pro-agriculture business environment in our state for years to come.
Tuesday morning started with the first annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. People from all corners of Oklahoma turned out in droves. The keynote speaker was U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, who gave an inspiring message about the power of prayer. I’m grateful Governor Stitt understands the power of prayer and brought together people from all backgrounds to pray to God for unity and ask for His blessings.
The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Tuesday was also FFA Day, where FFA groups from all over the state visited the Capitol. FFA teaches students many leadership skills useful for life. I had the opportunity to meet with the Ninnekah FFA group and give them a tour of the Capitol, as well as have lunch with them afterwards. These students have a bright future ahead!
Later that evening, I attended the Leadership Oklahoma Legislative reception. I am a Leadership Oklahoma Class 31 graduate, and it was extra special to reunite with former classmates I haven’t seen in a while.
Wednesday was an equally busy day. The Rural Caucus hosted the Governor, who discussed his healthcare plan, SoonerCare 2.0. This is essentially the Medicaid expansion alternate to the state question on the ballot later this year. Legislators are still learning details of his plan, which would provide opportunity for a future Legislature to make adjustments if needed.
I joined more discussions on healthcare on Thursday morning. I discussed SoonerCare 2.0 with Jerome Loughridge, a Duncan native who serves as State Secretary of Health. Stephens County, which is a big portion of District 51, is well-represented in the Oklahoma healthcare industry. Jay Johnson is President and CEO of Duncan Regional Hospital and also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Joining him and Secretary Loughridge is Rep. Marcus McEntire, a Duncan resident who chairs the House Appropriations and Budget Health Committee.
On Friday, I met with the Duncan Public Schools Legislative Advocacy Group to hear about issues important to them, especially education. We discussed education legislation and other relevant bills at the Capitol.
My wife and I are looking forward to attending the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on Friday evening. This is always a great event to visit with local business owners and celebrate the success of the Chickasha area businesses, which have a significant economic impact for the constituents of House District 51.
Throughout this week, I presented and passed three more of my bills through committees. So far, I’ve passed seven bills through committee, all of which are now eligible to be heard on the House floor. Next week is the deadline to hear House bills in committee, and the following two weeks will be when all House bills must be heard on the floor.
It’s a very busy time of the year at the Capitol, but it’s truly an honor to represent District 51. Please reach out to my office with any questions or concerns that you may have. God bless!
Below are some pictures of this past week that I want to share with you: