Saying Goodbye to a Friend

By Rep. Mike Sanders

My friend and fellow Representative, David Brumbaugh, passed away late Saturday night at his home in Broken Arrow. It was a shock to those of us who saw him in the House chamber and in committee meetings just a few days prior. 

David was the kind of man you liked to have on your side. If a lawmaker was struggling to explain a bill, David would stand and exactly sum up the legislation’s intent with the requisite question, “Would you agree?” I can’t tell you how many times this happened and what a relief it was.

David had a gentle approach. He was a gentleman and a statesman. He had a true love for representing his people and for the rule of law. He was a master at balancing individual freedom against serving all people. He was never afraid to disagree, but he was always respectful. A lot of politicians could learn a thing or two from such a man.

His life ended tragically short. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. My thoughts are prayers are with them now and with the league of friends and colleagues he leaves behind at the Capitol.

David’s passing reminded me of the commitment this job takes – the time spent away from our families, our businesses and our homes. It is taxing. Legislators must answer to many masters – the people who elect us and who we represent, taxpayers at large, the state agencies that depend on us for funding to keep operating and offering services to Oklahoma residents, and other government officials. Then we must answer to fake news reports and try to help people distinguish between those and legitimate concerns. It can be frustrating mulling over the massive amount of false and true information. With that said, it is such an honor to have your trust to represent the constituency of District 59. 

This also makes me take stock of my job at the Capitol. Sometimes the legislative process is characterized as only so much nonsense. But without lawmakers, we have no public roads, no way to transport our goods and services to grow our economy, no public schools to educate our children, no assistance for health care, no mechanisms to keep the public safe.

So while my heart is heavy in grief for my friend’s family, I turn back to the business of legislating. The budget process is well underway, with the Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget and the House A&B Committee meeting this week to consider a number of measures that will save the state money or result in some revenue for our state. I’ll talk more about that in a future column. I want you to know we are working to close our budget gap,  but for now, I’d rather take the time to honor the memory of a friend.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407

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