Thursday, November 18, 2010

Steele Names DeWitt, Sullivan, Sears, McNiel

House Speaker-elect Kris Steele today named four lawmakers to serve in leadership positions.

Rep. Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, will serve as House Majority Leader, a newly created position.
Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, will serve as the Majority Floor Leader.
Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, will serve as chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, will serve as Majority Whip.

“With their combination of legislative know-how and political instinct, I am certain Representatives DeWitt, Sullivan, Sears and McNiel will serve our state well in these important leadership roles,” Steele said. “I am confident in their abilities and look forward to working with them in the days ahead.”

As House Majority Leader, DeWitt will facilitate leadership meetings, assist in communication with the state Senate and Governor’s Office, and help guide the majority agenda through the legislative process.

“I believe it is the job of the Speaker of the House to rise above partisanship as much as possible,” Steele said. “As Majority Leader, Representative DeWitt will join me in representing the issues important to our caucus, thus allowing me to maintain a focus on the needs of the Legislature as a whole.”

“As we develop our agenda and work through the legislative process this year, it is important that the Speaker’s office has an open channel of communication with all interested parties, and I am excited to serve in that role,” DeWitt said. “Maintaining a unified caucus with common goals will be crucial to our success and I look forward to the job.”

As Floor Leader, Sullivan will oversee the daily floor activity of the House during the four-month legislative session from the beginning of February through the end of May. The Floor Leader also assigns bills to appropriate committees.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to guide the daily activities of the House during this challenging time in our state’s history,” Sullivan said. “I am committed to an efficient floor process that allows us to be effective as we conduct the people’s business.”

As chair of the House Appropriations and Budget committee, Sears is charged with overseeing the legislative formation of the state’s annual budget for various state agencies and departments – including the filing of all appropriation bills and assigning those bills to subcommittees.

“Although we face significant financial challenges this year, I am excited by this opportunity to lead the House in crafting a state budget that reflects the priorities of the people of Oklahoma,” Sears said.

As Majority Whip, McNiel will head a team of deputy whips who will establish effective communication within the Republican caucus on a wide arrange of issues and work to advance legislation on the House floor.

“I am honored to be included in Speaker-elect Steele’s team and will work to advance policies that benefit all Oklahomans,” McNiel said. “The decisions we make could impact citizens for years and it’s important to have committed leadership during this challenging budget year.”

Before being elected to the House, DeWitt was an Agriculture Education Instructor at Helena-Goltry Schools and Braman Schools for 29 years. He most recently served as chair of the House Natural Resources & Regulatory Services Committee.

Sullivan is an attorney who previously served as floor leader under former Speaker Todd Hiett. He has also served as an Assistant Majority Floor Leader and chair of the House Economic Development & Financial Services.

Prior to his legislative service, Sears served as principal of Central Middle School in Bartlesville for 24 years. He previously served as vice-chair of the House Education Committee.

McNiel is a small business owner who previously served as an Assistant Majority Whip, Republican Caucus vice-chair and as vice-chair of the House Natural Resources & Regulatory Services Committee.

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