OKLAHOMA CITY — House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat were reelected to lead their respective chambers when lawmakers held an organizational session Tuesday to elect leaders and approve rules.
Gov. Kevin Stitt and other statewide elected leaders will be sworn in at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Stitt, who was elected to a second term in November, will give his fifth State of the State address on Feb. 6 to a joint session of the Legislature assembled in the House Chamber.
Treat, R-Oklahoma City, outlined for the assembled senators what lawmakers have accomplished in the past, and he touched on what will be important in the coming session, including tax reform and ways to improve education and work force development.
He described the Legislature as a place that can feed egos but also an environment with irate phone calls and emails that begin with slurs and threats. It includes protesters, heated arguments and social media keyboard warriors, he said.
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“My charge to all of us is to remember we aren’t nearly as special as some of us think or want to believe or not nearly as bad as people believe us to be,” he said.
McCall, R-Atoka, described for representatives a change in culture and image in the House.
He said one of his predecessors described the Senate as a retirement home and the House as a trailer park.
He said it has been a while since a member stormed the dais or rudely interrupted the speaker’s press conference.
McCall said the conversation about tax reform must continue, adding that Oklahomans need to keep more of their hard-earned money.
The state needs to invest in jobs of the present and future, and the state needs to find ways to decrease state regulation, he said.
McCall recalled a conversation he had with a person who was working as a receptionist because he owed taxes and couldn’t work in his licensed profession, nursing, as a result.
“Government should not be the roadblock to progress,” he said.
In the past few years, lawmakers have increased teacher pay and enabled open transfer between school districts, which he called a common-sense reform.
But more needs to be done, McCall added.
“We all must remember who we serve — the people of Oklahoma — and we will serve them well,” McCall said.
Republicans hold a supermajority in both legislative chambers and control all statewide-elected offices.
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