As another year comes to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future with hope for happiness, good health and peace. This year has brought a lot of different challenges and provided me and my family many great opportunities to connect with people in our community. We’ve enjoyed having the chance to personally visit with you and your families in the last several months. With the new legislative year beginning in just a few weeks, it is my hope we can continue to make decisions that will sustain Oklahoma’s prosperity for many years to come while ensuring we are being fiscally prudent with taxpayer dollars. Lawmakers will convene in early January for an organizational day and the first official day of the 57th legislature will begin February 4.
There are many things happening at the Capitol to prepare for the upcoming session. Committee assignments have been finalized, leadership teams have been established and the bill request deadline has already passed. This week, we received an update from the state Board of Equalization certifying an estimated surplus of $612 million to spend in the 2020 fiscal year. While this is certainly great news at a glance, the reality is, there are still several months left in this year’s budget and many factors that could still impact that number. The price of oil is always changing and other forces constantly affect the state’s budget, so while the initial news of a projected surplus is encouraging, we must still remain vigilant and continue to focus on ways to ensure the state can remain on a more stable path for years to come. We must ensure our core services are properly funded and continue to seek ways to diversify the economy. The historic revenue package, combined with this year’s $381 million deposit into the Rainy Day Fund, has undoubtedly made a difference in the economic outlook for the state. While the uptick in the state’s financial situation indicates we’re on the right track, we need to stay the course and continue our work, focusing on areas where we can still make reforms to further secure the financial success of the state.
It’s my hope the spirit of Christmas fills your homes and blesses your families with the true reason for the season as you celebrate with your loved ones this week. The true spirit of Christmas is filled with hope for the future and new beginnings, which is symbolic for our families, our faith and even our state. I join my wife, Kelley, as well as my children Lynsay and Tyler, in wishing everyone in District 2 a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. We are incredibly thankful to call Claremore our home and eternally grateful for our community and our church family, as well as our friends, neighbors and those in who have blessed our family in many different ways this year. We sincerely appreciate the support we’ve received from those in the district over the last 8 years and we are especially grateful for this past year. We are so thankful for the overwhelming support you’ve shown to me and my family by sending me back to the Senate to serve as your Senator for another term. I look forward to continuing to serve and represent you in the days ahead in both the district and at the Capitol.