Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Steele Prepares Newcomers For 2011 Session

From The House Media Division ~ House Speaker-designate Kris Steele has scheduled a series of informational meetings to update House Republicans on issues facing the state as the 2011 session draws closer.

“Rather than rest on our laurels until next January, I believe it is vital that lawmakers are continually updated and involved in discussion of major issues,” said Steele, R-Shawnee.

“The informational meetings the House Republican caucus will hold between now and the end of the year will better prepare lawmakers to grapple with the serious issues that face Oklahoma.”

In the two meetings held so far, lawmakers have been updated on a wide range of topics, including state budget issues, redistricting, possible reform of the conference committee process, and the potential impact of state questions on the November ballot. More meetings will be held in the weeks ahead.

In addition to including all current members of the House Republican caucus, Steele has used the meetings to provide newly elected lawmakers a valuable educational opportunity. For example, state Representatives-elect Randy Grau (R-Edmond), Elise Hall (R-Oklahoma City, and David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow) have all attended recent meetings. Grau was automatically elected to House District 81 this summer when no other candidate filed for the office. Hall was elected in the July run-off election since no Democrat filed in House District 100. In the same way, Brumbaugh was elected to House District 76 after winning the Republican primary.

Although they won’t formally take office until November, both Grau and Hall say the informational meetings have been invaluable. “These meetings are very helpful,” Grau said. “They provide a lot of information on current issues and the challenges we’ll face in our first term in office. It’s helped me to hit the ground running and start working on legislative ideas today instead of waiting until the swearing-in ceremony to get down to business.”

“It’s exciting to be able to participate now and start the learning process early,” said Hall, a 21-year old who will be one of the youngest legislators in the House. “To be able to make connections with other lawmakers is also important. The sooner I can establish both professional and personal relationships with other members, the better I will be able to navigate the legislative process and ensure the concerns of my constituents are heard.”

Steele said the meetings are one way he will work to emphasize caucus communication and utilize the talents of individual lawmakers. “While the challenges ahead are significant, I believe we also face great opportunity,” Steele said. “As House Speaker-designate, I am committed to a thoughtful, deliberative process that maximizes the talents of individual House members as we work to enact policy that benefits future generations.”

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