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Light at the End of the Tunnel Featured

Written by  Tuesday, 24 April 2018 09:31
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By Rep. Rick West


Last week marked 23 years since the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. As many of you know, I worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during that time. On April 19, 1995, seven of my colleagues died. They were among the 168 people who died in the building that day.


In front of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I had the distinct honor of recognizing the 168 men, women and children whose lives were lost at the hands of a madman. This was my second year to do so, and I was surprised to hear the wife of a victim’s grandson was in the gallery listening to my speech. It was a total coincidence, but I had the privilege to meet her after session. We spoke about her grandfather-in-law and the legacy he left. That conversation will stick with me forever.


April 19 always reminds me how important it is to band together for the common good. The people in the federal building that day did not identify themselves as Republicans or Democrats when the bomb went off – they were souls who needed help. And Oklahomans joined hands to provide that help. Our finest moments really do come in our darkest days.


At the Capitol, things seem to be wrapping up. I say “seem to” because things rarely are what they appear inside this building. But both the House and the Senate adjourned the second special session last week. Gov. Fallin first called the session to convene back in December, so we were all happy to finally end it.


Lawmakers now remain in only one session, which is a welcome relief to everyone. April 26 marks the day that all Senate bills must be out of the House of Representatives and vice versa. We have been spending all of our days on the House floor hearing dozens of bills, and I expect we’ll begin reviewing budget bills soon.


House leadership has said nearly every state agency can expect to receive an increase in appropriations. The House’s majority floor leader even told reporters it would be a “robust” increase for some agencies including the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Corrections. These are all core services, and I hope to spend next week diving deeper into the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.


Some lawmakers in leadership have mentioned they hope to adjourn regular session by May 4, three weeks earlier than legally required. This would save us taxpayer dollars and give agencies more time to plan for their adjusted budgets.

As always, it’s an honor to serve you.


Please reach out if you need anything. I’m at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 405-557-7413.


Thanks, and God bless.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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