State Capitol, Oklahoma City Senate Co-President Pro Tempore designate Glenn Coffee announced former State Rep. Fred Morgan will serve as Coffees Senior Policy Advisor and Legal Counsel for the 2007-08 legislative sessions.
Fred is an exceptional leader and is one of the sharpest political minds in our state. He will be a tremendous asset for Senate Republicans as we enter into this era of historic parity in the State Senate, Coffee said.
As he prepares to move to his new leadership position in the State Senate, Coffee also announced he will retain the three staff members from his Minority leaders staff: Paul Ziriax, Republican Leadership Assistant; Gwendolyn Caldwell, Republican Deputy Leadership Assistant; and Becky Woodie, Executive Assistant.
Becky has been my go-to staffer since I first came to the Senate eight years ago, and she will continue to play a critical role in the Co-Pro Tems office, stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. Paul and Gwendolyn have also proven themselves to be exceptional and loyal legislative aides, and our caucus is proud to have them continue as part of our Senate Republican team.
Coffee served as the Senates Minority leader the past two years, but will now serve as the Senates Co-President Pro Tempore as part of the power-sharing agreement in the Oklahoma State Senate, where Democrats and Republicans are tied at 24 seats each.
Morgan was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1994. A graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1980, Morgan served as Special Counsel to Governor Frank Keating from 1995-1996. From 1998-2003, he served as House Republican Leader, and was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 2005-2006. The veteran lawmaker is a former State Chairman for the American Legislative Exchange Council, and is a co-founder of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmens Caucus.
He received the State Chambers Authority of the People award for his efforts to bring the issue of Right to Work to a vote of the people, and the Research Institute for Economic Development rated Morgan with the highest nine-year cumulative score in the Oklahoma House for his pro-business voting record.
Morgan is a past president of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, and is a senior partner with the Oklahoma City law form of Reynolds, Ridngs, Vogt and Morgan. He was listed in the book The Best Lawyers in America by Oklahoma Business Monthly. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, Page, an Oklahoma City municipal judge, and their children Megan and Dan. Fred is a member of Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City.
Ziriax continues his duties as Republican Leadership Assistant, serving as a legislative and public relations advisor to the Republican leader. Ziriax, who joined the Senate GOPs staff in 2003, will also oversee the day-to-day operations of Coffees leadership office. He is a former chief of staff and press secretary to ex-Congressman Wes Watkins of Stillwater, and a former press secretary for the Oklahoma Republican Party. He is a member of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, where he lives with his wife, Lisa, and newborn daughter Alexandra.
Caldwell continues her role as a legislative advisor as the Republican deputy leadership assistant, a position she held during the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions. Caldwell, a native Kansan who now resides in Tulsa, came to Oklahoma after serving as a senior staff member to Kansas Lt. Governor Gary Sherrer and Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Jim Ryun.Caldwell brings an extensive legislative background to Oklahoma, including her experience as Director of Government Affairs for the American Cancer Society of Kansas.
Woodie has served as Coffees executive assistant since he was first elected eight years ago, and will continue this role as he moves to the office of Co-President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.