Business & Politics

April 12, 2010

Meeting Malaysian friends, surviving violent weather

— I hope everyone had a great weekend if you had the opportunity to celebrate Good Friday and Easter with family and friends. 

I had the pleasure of hosting three new friends at church on Sunday from Malaysia who are working for the Oklahoma House of Representatives under a fellowship program through the American Council of Young Political Leaders. 

Adriene, Edward and Kia Meng will be here in Oklahoma for a month to learn about the state government system and will be working through my office on several research projects.

I hope to bring them around the district several times and they are looking forward to the Apache Rattlesnake Hunt in two weeks, as well as visiting many Oklahoma cultural events.

We were hit by some strange weather on Good Friday in Rush Springs.  Several homes and businesses were hit, but fortunately no one was injured by the windstorm. 

The National Weather Service has not declared what exactly hit, but it was something between a tornado and a microburst, a column of air which travels up to 150 miles per hour in a concentrated spot at the end of a thunderstorm. 

The hail from the storm was about the size of golf balls. 

We were fortunate that the businesses were closed at the time the storm hit at 6 a.m.  The roof which was torn off the local café was right over where many of the breakfast crowd normally sat.

On Monday, we were honored to host the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. 

Speaker Chris Benge and I authored a resolution to thank Larry Watkins, the recently retired president of the association for his years of service. 

It was presented to Larry at the make-up of the annual banquet which was postponed due to power outages in much of the service area for the co-ops. 

I also have a resolution filed to thank those workers for their efforts to restore power to our citizens during the January storms. By all indications, many areas were expected to be out much longer than was actually seen. 

The men and women who were out in the cold weather working extra hours to repair poles, string line and restore power did not receive nearly the thanks they were due, but I am very thankful for the way many were treated by our neighbors and I have heard many compliments of the respect which was given to the out-of-state workers who were here to help.

There were several visitors to the Capitol last week. I had the chance to visit with delegations from each of the three Career Technology Centers which serve my legislative district.  Students, faculty and administrators from Caddo-Kiowa, Canadian Valley and Great Plains Career Techs all sat down with me to discuss issues at the Capitol, and then I also was able to visit the Leadership Class at Canadian Valley in Chickasha the next day. 

It is great to see how this continued education helps the students develop a career path and achieve certifications and advance training in many fields for employment.

There were several events which happened last week. We had a very successful chili cook-off for the local Grady County Volunteer Fire Departments in my district, along with the Chickasha Fire Department Honor Guard. 

After the donations were tallied, we brought in $100 for each department.  I expect next year will be even more successful as several of the Grady County legislators will partner together to make this a larger event. 

I also had the chance to visit with school superintendents in Grady County and Comanche County to develop a YMCA Youth & Government program for their schools. 

This will allow students to attend meetings at the State Capitol and develop ideas into mock legislation which they will have the chance to discuss and debate similar to state legislators. If you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact me as I serve on the State Board for Oklahoma.

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