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Opinion

January 12, 2013

Dorman reflects on first week of legislature

OKLAHOMA — The organizational day for the Oklahoma Legislature was Tuesday of this week and that set the elections for the Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore for the next two years.  I was honored by the Democratic Caucus to be nominated for the position of Speaker Pro Tempore, but I did not receive enough votes by my colleagues to hold this office. This is the same position held by two of my predecessors, Spencer Bernard and Jim Glover, so it certainly holds a special place for me to even be considered for this office by my colleagues.  I appreciate the support of those who voted for me and look forward to working with Speaker TW Shannon of Lawton and Speaker Pro Tempore Mike Jackson of Enid.  It was interesting that of the four men nominated for office, I was the oldest of the bunch.  This shows the direction that Oklahoma politics has gone over recent years and continues a long trend of Oklahomans supporting younger elected officials.

I also received my committee positions in this past week and look forward to serving on the Appropriations & Budget Committee, the subcommittee for Public Safety, the Rules Committee and the Government Modernization Committee.  Each of these has a key area where I have had an interest in recent years associated with work, so I look forward to helping craft the legislation going through these committees and helping the bill authors with their legislation.  The committees are charged with working through the initially filed bills to help improve the original idea.  I have served on many great committees with fantastic chairmen over the years, so I look forward to these four spots in my final term.

 I will be hosting a meeting for educators this Saturday in Rush Springs to discuss upcoming legislation for the 2013 session.  I know there has been significant interest in security at schools, along with proper funding, graduation requirements and retirement issues.  I hope to have a good attendance at this meeting from those in the education field and I want to thank school superintendent Mike Zurline for allowing us use of the school auditorium.  This will occur at the same time as the Black Diamond Basketball tournament, so I want to wish all the participants the best of luck in their games, along with the students playing in the various tournaments around the area.

The bill requests are currently being written up into actual legislation by the staff at the Capitol.  I am going over my final requests and hope to have eight good bills finalized by next week.  I look forward to presenting them in future columns and I certainly welcome any suggestions from you about ways to improve the ideas.  I also will highlight other bills presented by colleagues and I encourage you to check out the filings at www.okhouse.gov and www.oksenate.gov as they are made public in two weeks.  I suspect we will see many interesting issues brought forth this legislative session.

Finally, I would like to wish a "Happy Birthday" to my niece, Jennifer Stowers.  She has been in the hospital quite a bit lately with some health issues and she is recovering at home.  I know this will be a little depressing for her this year as she cannot get out to celebrate, so I hope she has the best birthday yet!  Being a good uncle, I will do my best to embarrass her as much as possible!

 It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me to discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My email address is joedorman@okhouse.gov at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking the time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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