Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Introducing OK's Freshmen Legislators

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Introducing OK's Freshmen Legislators

Article excerpt

The 39 new legislators in the Oklahoma House of Representatives include a former member of the New Hampshire Legislature, a doctor and two veterinarians, an ex-prosecutor and a couple of ministers, one of whom played on OU's legendary national championship football teams in the Bud Wilkinson era.

The group includes a grocer, a sign maker, a strawberry grower, half a dozen lawyers, four real estate agents, a former undersheriff, and 10 educators, including a young man who is trilingual and a woman who once qualified for food stamps but now teaches college-level courses and travels throughout the country delivering motivational speeches.

Eight of the new lawmakers previously worked for the Legislature or elsewhere in state government, and 16 others have political experience in federal, county or local political arenas. Two are sons, and one is a nephew, of current or former legislators.

The new legislators represent a variety of age groups. Seven are in their 20s (the two youngest are 24), seven are in their 30s, at least four are in their 40s, at least eight are in their 50s and at least five are in their 60s.

The 39 new faces in the state House are the most in 40 years. The turnover, attributed largely to constitutional term limits, is the greatest experienced in the House since 1965.

Just over half of the state House members will have two years or less of legislative experience when the 50th Oklahoma Legislature convenes. The 39 first-term freshmen legislators, along with the 12 second-term sophomores, comprise 51 of the 101 members.

The oath of office will be administered at noon today in the House Chamber. The two-year terms of office for all of the representatives begin at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

The New Hampshire connection is Richard Daniel Morrissette, D- Oklahoma City. Morrissette, 48, was raised in New Hampshire and in 1976, at the age of 20, was elected to the first of three consecutive two-year terms in the New Hampshire Legislature while attending college. …

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