A gathering for coffee and donuts at Archery Traditions in Yukon provided the opportunity for area legislators to thank former state Sen. Stephanie Bice, as well as provide an update on their activities.
An announcement was made by legislative coffee moderator Julia Seay that Bice was in Washington, D.C., at freshmen orientation, and she was elected president of the freshman class.
State representatives Rhonda Baker (HD60 – R), Denise Crosswhite Hader (HD41-R), and Jay Steagall (HD43-R), were in attendance at the Tuesday morning Yukon Chamber of Commerce event, sponsored by the City of Yukon. Each of the legislators mentioned Bice and said they thank her for the work she did while serving in the Oklahoma Senate. Each also mentioned that they are not running for the open seat. A filing period begins Monday at 8 a.m. and ends Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Baker said Bice had been a mentor to her and it will be difficult to fill the seat. Hader said she also wanted to show appreciation for Bice, saying the new congresswoman had continued to serve the district throughout the election until the end. Hader added that the Senate district seat provides “quite a bit of sway for Canadian County,” and the county voters could have a say in who is elected.
Steagall said he thanks Bice for her work in the state Senate and Yukon voters will now need to pick the candidate who best supports the same values as those in the Yukon area.
Legislative coffee moderator Julia Seay told those in attendance at the legislative coffee the state House of Representatives will have 82 republican members this year – the biggest republican majority in Oklahoma history. She said budget hearings begin in January when state agencies meet with the house appropriations chair.
She believes there will be caution needed with this year’s budget, and everyone understands they will not receive any additional dollars.
“We are anticipating maybe a billion-dollar shortfall,” Baker said.
Hader announced that she had been elected caucus secretary, and added that another focus of this year’s Legislature is redistricting, where districts are balanced out so that the weight of the districts are about the same.
“The public has a say on redistricting,” Hader said. “There will probably be meetings in Oklahoma County, but I encourage you to be involved in these.”
Steagall said he would be filing a lot of bills this year.
“There’s a lot we need to work on that we haven’t been able to work on because of the COVID-19 situation,” Steagall said.
Steagall mentioned there had been some negative comments made about the Yukon area with people believing “we are overly-represented at the state Capitol.” His comment to others is that it’s important that Yukon values are represented.