Assuming an awesome responsibility

We are six weeks into the legislative session and while it’s only been a relatively short time, much has been learned already here at the Capitol.

In fact, the first lesson learned is that there is a bunch to be learned – anything from bills to be considered, rules of the Senate, and the many faceted concerns of the constituent.

It’s no secret our days can be long, tedious and sometimes even emotional as work continues to meet the needs of the state.  To date, approximately 412 out of more than 1,000 bills have passed the committee process just on the Senate side.

Even with a staggering budget shortfall and proposed legislation that stirs heated debate on both sides of the aisle, it is encouraging to see the legislators work with absence of consternation and presence of respect for the betterment of Oklahoma.  To work in an environment where everyone is free to give an opinion, popular or not, on issues at the forefront of the state is inspiring.

The entire process is often fascinating. Indeed it is most impressive to have so many Oklahomans come to the Capitol, write notes, letters, and e-mails, as well as call to express their views.  Oklahomans are truly engaged.  It is appreciated.

One evening last week, as I was leaving the Capitol after a long day, I turned around to look at the beautiful building where I have the honor to work on behalf of District 39 constituents, and was reminded of the incredible process of government.  To look at this historic building and realize our behavior and decisions here will create the footprint for the future of the state is a huge responsibility and one certainly not taken lightly.

Embracing an effective, thoughtful, respectful process is how we learn to live without chaos and create a strong state of which we can all be proud.

The next few weeks will have concentration focused on the budget.  There will be much more learned with even more discussion and research.

Consideration will be given, I’m sure, to a review of a variety of options to meet the budget needs.  The Pro Tem has previously stated all options are on the table.

I always welcome your questions and concerns.   Please feel free to contact me at the state Capitol by calling (405) 521-5620 or by email at rader@oksenate.gov.