Republicans on November 16 elected Mike Schulz as President Pro Tempore-designate of the Oklahoma State Senate.
The Altus Republican is the first Pro Tempore from western Oklahoma in more than 50 years. Schulz will lead a historic Republican Caucus that includes 42 members, the largest majority held by either party since 1965, when the Senate went from 45 seats to 48 to assure equal representation for citizens across the state.
Five Republican senators from the Tulsa area were formally sworn in at the State Capitol. They include two new members, Sen. Dave Rader from District 39 and Sen. Joe Newhouse District 25. Also sworn in on Wednesday were Dan Newberry from District 37, who begins his third term, Gary Stanislawski of District 35, also sworn in for a third term, and Nathan Dahm, of Broken Arrow’s District 33 for a second term. Stanislawski was also elected Chair of the Republican Caucus, while Dahm was elected to serve as Majority Whip.
“Senators Rader and Newhouse will be strong voices on behalf of their districts here in the State Senate. They join Senators Stanislawski, Newberry and Dahm, whose leadership and insight are highly valued. Combined, these members will help our caucus as we work to build a stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma,” said Schulz,.
The Senate will hold a one day organizational meeting on January 3, and the 2017 session will formally get underway on February 6.
“I’m deeply honored to be elected the next Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. I appreciate the confidence placed in me by my Republican colleagues and I look forward to working with each of them to make Oklahoma a stronger and more prosperous state,” Schulz said. “The challenges we face look overwhelming at times, but we can overcome them all by working together. Senate Republicans are serious about working toward long-term solutions and I know the enthusiasm, expertise, and experience of the men and women in this caucus will help us make Oklahoma stronger.”
Senate Republicans named Schulz President Pro Tem-designate in April. Last week’s vote allowed the 13 freshmen members of the Senate Republican Caucus the chance to vote in leadership elections.
The Senate will organize in January, at which time the Pro Tem will be officially elected by the entire Senate, and rules for the 2017 session will be passed.
Schulz announced two appointments to leadership positions in the Senate. He has named Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, as Floor Leader.
“Oklahoma is a tremendous state already, but our best days are ahead. We face some big challenges but Senate Republicans are ready and look forward to offering up ideas that will help us reach that brighter future,” Treat said. “I’m honored that Pro Tem Schulz would appoint me to serve as Floor Leader, and I look forward to working with him and my Senate colleagues on bold ideas to lead our state forward.”
Schulz also named Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. David is the first woman to be named to that position. “Despite our recent and persistent budget challenges, there are real opportunities for innovative reforms to fund core functions of government that ensure Oklahomans get the best return on their tax dollars. I’m excited about the challenge and look forward to working with Pro Tem Schulz, my Senate colleagues, and the people of this great state,” David said.
At a later date, Schulz will announce the committee structure, committee chairs, and committee appointments. Republicans also voted to fill leadership positions:
- Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, was elected chair of the Republican Caucus.
- Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, was elected vice-chair of the Republican Caucus
- Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, was elected assistant majority floor leader
- Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, was elected assistant majority floor leader
- Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, was elected assistant majority floor leader
- Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, was elected majority whip
- Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, was elected majority whip
- Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, was elected majority whip
- Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, was elected majority whip