New Hats for the 2011 Session

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Legislation is a team sport and my role on the team is changing this year. House Speaker Kris Steele has appointed me Vice-Chairman of the House Human Services Committee. I also won the acclamation of the members of caucus, who selected me to be Assistant Majority Whip. I am honored and humbled by both appointments and look forward to the challenges of my expanded role.

The House Human Services Committee addresses bills that affect children, families, vulnerable adults, and seniors. The committee has focused on Department of Human Services’ reforms in recent years. Over the years, DHS has dropped the ball when it comes to the most vulnerable members of our communities – foster children, the senior nutrition program, daycare facilities, and vulnerable adults. The agency is too bureaucratic and the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing much of the time. State Rep. Pam Peterson is the committee’s chairwoman. I look forward to working closely with her to implement new reforms. Governor-elect Mary Fallin will be selecting a new director and I look forward to helping that individual get a fresh start at correctly and efficiently managing the agency.

As Assistant Majority Whip, I will be responsible for the flow of information between House leaders and the membership. It will be my duty to get an accurate head count of support on major bills and talk to individual members about their concerns. It is also important though that I make sure that information flows upstream to the House Speaker and leadership. Its critical now more than ever since we now have 70 Republicans in the House. I have already served in a leadership position and am proud to once again bring a rural voice to the table.

I intend to use my expanded role to continue to push an economic development agenda and protect oil, gas, and wind energy industries. One of the most important pieces of that agenda is workers’ compensation reforms. I also plan to ensure that rural firefighters continue to get the support they need from the Legislature and that education dollars are spent in the classroom. Lastly, I want to continue to make state government more accountable.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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