The selection of Representative Chris Benge as the new speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives is a wise one. Benge has been a stable and steady Appropriations chairman, which has prepared him well to be speaker.
Benge was selected after revelations about former Speaker Lance Cargill’s failure to file his income tax returns on time or pay his property taxes in a timely manner. That same problem tripped up other Republican hopefuls for the speakership and rank and file members of both parties.
It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. While it’s understandable that a failure could occur perhaps once because of illness, death in the family, or just misplacing a paper, that wasn’t the case with so many of the speaker candidates, including one who hadn’t paid his property taxes on time in 13 years. That’s not comical, that’s a tragedy.
With Benge being speaker, this is an opportunity for Representative Tad Jones to demonstrate his clout. Jones has a close relationship with Benge and this unique situation presents Jones with the opportunity to make certain that Rogers County’s needs are discussed during this legislative session. Whether it’s RSU, the Veterans Center, the two museums, or transportation issues, Jones has a unique opportunity to do for our area what Senate Appropriations Co-Chair Johnnie Crutchfield has been doing the last two years for Ardmore. Crutchfield, realizing that such an opportunity comes along once in a generation, has delivered for Ardmore on all sorts of issues, including education and transportation.
Jones can do the same and should take every opportunity because it may be a long time before another one like this presents itself.