4-H Bill Sent to Governor

Monday, 25 March 2024 10:53

4-H Bill Sent to Governor Featured

Written by Rep. Rick West
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My bill that would grant 4-H members an excused school absence if they are participating in authorized activities finally passed the Senate last week. It has been sent to the governor, and I'm hopeful he'll sign it into law.

It's been four years trying to get this bill across the finish line. I'm glad to see it on its final leg of the journey.

House Bill 1006 would grant the excused absence for any activity recognized by the county 4-H facilitator. This would allow students to make up any missed work and would mean their grades could not be negatively affected. This already happens for other organizations.

On March 19, we had Research Day at the State Capitol, part of the Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research under the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. I got to meet Jake Patterson from Poteau who attends Oklahoma State University. His research topic was bacteria and virulence. He was among the top 25 undergraduate student researches to present their research during this event.

Rick West and Jake Patterson

Rep. Rick West with Jake Patterson, an OSU student from Poteau, with his research poster he presented during Research Day at the Capitol. Patterson won the overall grand prize.

Sen. George Burns and I presented Patterson with a citation commemorating his participation in this prestigious program. I later learned he was the grand prize overall winner for the 2024 Research Day at the Capitol Competition. He will receive a $500 award, as well as a $4,000 summer research internship. Oklahoma State University will receive $2,500 to offset internship expenses as well.

What a great honor for this young man. I was privileged to meet him. The young people that competed in this project are so incredibly smart.

Also last week, I got to participate in the Oklahoma Youth Expo Legislative Showmanship Event at the State Fair Arena. Each year, lawmakers have an opportunity to show animals raised by 4-H and FFA members from their House districts. This year, I showed a sheep named Pink raised by Preslie House, a sophomore at Poteau High School and a member of Poteau FFA. I presented Preslie with a citation from the House. I've known Preslie's family for a long time. They are really good people. This event is a lot of fun, and we all had a good time.

Rick West OYE

Rep. Rick West with Preslie House at the Oklahoma Youth Expo Legislative Showmanship Event in Oklahoma City.

Another honor for me came last week when I got to recognize Senior Master Sgt. Charles A. Elmore from Spiro as the Veteran of the Week in the House of Representatives. Elmore was in the Air Force for 39 years, first enlisting in 1966 after graduating from Sallisaw High School. He served in Vietnam and in other foreign deployments and was reactivated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His final tour of duty was in the Iraq War, where he worked to support the Army and Marines by providing close support to ground troops.

Rick West and Charles Elmore and family

Rep. Rick West recognizes Charles Elmore as Veteran of the Week. Back row L-R: Rep. West, (daughter) Mistii Elmore, (grandson) Keaton Byrum, (daughter) Mica Byrum, (son-in-law) Brett Byrum, (granddaughter) RyLeigh Drew, (great-grandson) Samuel Drew. Front row L-R: (wife) Laura Elmore, Charles Elmore, (great-grandchildren) Ellie Drew, Solomon Drew

During the course of his military service, Elmore earned 28 citations and awards, including twice each the Air Force Achievement Award with Oak Cluster and the prestigious Meritorious Service Award.

Elmore's wife Laura, of 55 years, came with him to the Capitol as did two of his daughters, several grandchildren and other family members.

It was such a great pleasure to recognize Mr. Elmore on the House floor and thank him in person for his service to our nation. What an incredible life of dedication and sacrifice to the cause of preserving freedom.

As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at rick.west@okhouse.gov.


Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.


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