Friday, January 21, 2011

Congress Of Mayors Meets At Capitol

Okmulgee Mayor Brian Priegel speaks during the
Congress of Mayors held in the House Chamber today.
(Photo courtesy of Legislative Service Bureau)

Mayors from across Oklahoma met at the Capitol today to debate issues facing municipalities and craft a legislative agenda for the 2011 legislative session.

The Oklahoma Congress of Mayors is a one-day event held and sponsored by the Mayors Council of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal League. Mayors and vice mayors spent the morning in committee meetings before gathering for a general session in the House Chamber in the afternoon.

Missy Dean, director of intergovernmental relations and membership for the Oklahoma Municipal League, said the idea is for municipal officials to learn more about the legislative process so that they can better advocate on behalf of their residents at the Capitol.

“This has been a two-year process and today is our inaugural event,” Dean said. “We have over 75 mayors and vice mayors from across the state here to learn about the legislative process. They are participating in committee meetings and will take their issues from the committee and bring them to the floor, where they will present them on the floor and have the opportunity to debate them in the same way the Legislature presents their issues during session. For some, this is their first time at the Capitol. We want them to know what goes on and what their legislators are doing. That way they can be better advocates for their respective cities and towns.”Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina, vice president of the Mayors Council of Oklahoma, said the Congress of Mayors is meant to help further municipal issues in the Legislature.

“We’ve brought mayors from across the state to this legislative setting, because it is our hope that we’ll be able to further municipal issues in the Legislature,” Fina said. “We also want those municipal officials who attend to learn about the Legislature to help them in their individual endeavors.”

Rep. Joe Dorman, who served as parliamentarian for the Congress of Mayors, said he was honored to take part. The parliamentarian assists the presiding officer with the running of the floor activity of the general session.

“I am delighted to serve in this position and help these municipalities craft their agenda for the upcoming legislative session,” Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said. “The Council of Mayors is critical to the collaboration between lawmakers and city officials. It helps to ensure that we work jointly to serve all of our constituents.”

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