Monday, Feb. 4, marked the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, as the Senate and House convened separately before joining to hear the governor’s State of the State address.
We have an opportunity this year to make lasting changes that will move Oklahoma in a positive direction. Senate Republicans have crafted an agenda that will further our momentum as a destination for growth, repair our transportation infrastructure, put additional dollars into Oklahoma classrooms, and provide tax relief to Oklahoma families.
It’s a great time to be an Oklahoman. As the governor noted in her address, the Oklahoma economy has created over 62,400 jobs since January 2011 – the fourth highest growth rate in the United States. Our unemployment rate has been reduced by 30 percent, to 5.1 percent, over the same period. This figure is one of the lowest in the nation. In 2011, our median household income grew by $4,000 – the highest in the United States. These figures should give us cause for optimism and an assurance that even better times are ahead for Oklahoma.
Though the Oklahoma economy is healthy and unemployment low, there is still more we can do to promote job growth in our state. It is important that we capitalize on our current economic momentum by enacting policies to create an even better business climate. We will seek to do so this year through the passage of comprehensive workers’ compensation reform.
I am proud to have been chosen to serve as Chairman of the Senate Pensions Committee. Addressing Oklahoma’s unfunded pension liabilities remains one of the great challenges faced by the Legislature. While recent years have seen the approval of critical reforms, we must continue working to create a stable, long-term pension model to place our system on the road to solvency.
Throughout the legislative session I will be keeping you aware of Senate news and the business of the state. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your state Senator.
Please feel free to contact me at the state Capitol by calling (405) 521-5566 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.