Newly-elected members of the 56th Legislature of the Oklahoma House of Representatives took their oath of office Wednesday — among them was Shawnee's Dell Kerbs, recently elected to House District 26.
“It's one thing to be in the gallery,” Kerbs said. “But until you walk into the chamber and onto the floor, it's a whole different feeling. It's awe-inspiring.”
Kerbs said he is excited to represent the district.
“It's my absolute honor to he here,” he said. “I'm ready to get to work.”
Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John Reif issued the oath in a special ceremony at the state Capitol on Statehood Day, the 109th anniversary of the day Oklahoma was established as the nation’s 46th state.
House Speaker-elect Charles A. McCall (R-Atoka) said, “It is always exciting to take the oath of office on Statehood Day at the people’s Capitol.”
He said the day is the culmination of a lot of hard work by regular Oklahomans who have been compelled to serve citizens in our state Legislature.
“All of these members – Republicans and Democrats alike – have been duly elected by their constituents to represent them in the House of Representatives, the legislative body closest to the people,” he said. “Now the hard work of governing begins. I am looking forward to working with members from both sides of the aisle to find common ground on the challenges facing our state so that our next 109 years will see Oklahoma as a competitive, prosperous place to live, work and raise a family.”
The 101 newly elected members of the House include 32 new members and 69 incumbents.
New members taking the oath of office: Rick West, (R-Heavener); Matt Meredith, (D-Hulbert); Josh West, (R-Grove); Tom Gann, (R-Inola); Kevin McDugle, (R-Broken Arrow); Avery Carl Frix, (R-Muskogee); Scott Fetgatter, (R-Okmulgee); Justin “JJ” Humphrey, (R- Lane); Dell Kerbs, (R-Shawnee); Kyle Hilbert, (R-Depew); Mark Lawson, (R-Sapulpa); Greg Baninec, (R-Cushing);
Ryan Martinez, (R-Edmond);Tim Downing, (R-Purcell); Marcus McEntire, (R-Duncan); Kevin West, (R-Moore); Carl Newton, (R-Woodward); Rhonda Baker, (R-Yukon); Rande Worthen, (R-Lawton);
Scott McEachin, (R-Tulsa); Carol Bush, (R-Tulsa); Monroe Nichols, (D-Tulsa); Dale Derby, (R-Owasso); Meloyde Blancett, (D-Tulsa); Mike Osburn, (R-Edmond); Tammy West, (R- Bethany); Colin Walke, (D-Oklahoma City); Forrest Bennett, (D-Oklahoma City); Mickey Dollens, (D-Oklahoma City); Roger Ford, (R-Midwest City); Jason Lowe, (D-Oklahoma City);Tess Teague, (R-Choctaw).
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, president of the Senate, presided over its ceremony. Reif also issued the oath of office for 24 senators — of which, 13 were new. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, is returning to his post and also was sworn in Wednesday.
The 13 new members taking the oath of office were Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair; Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee; James Leewright, R-Bristow; Greg McCortney, R-Ada; Roland Pederson, R-Burlington; Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater; Joe Newhouse, R-Broken Arrow; Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle; Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville; Chris Kidd, R-Addington; Dave Rader, R-Tulsa; Adam Pugh, R-Edmond; and Paul Scott, R-Duncan.
Returning members sworn in Wednesday included Wayne Shaw, R-Grove; Larry Boggs, R-Wilburton; Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa; Rob Standridge, R-Norman; Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee; Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward; Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow; Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa; Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa; Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City; and Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, will be sworn in on Monday.
Returning members were able to file legislation for the 2017 session beginning Nov. 15, while new members can begin filing bills on Nov. 23. The deadline for requesting bills is Dec. 9. Those measures must be filed by Jan. 19.
The full Senate will officially convene for an organizational day on Tuesday, Jan. 3, and the First Session of the 56th Legislature reconvenes on Monday, Feb. 6.
You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.