Stillwater Senator Mike Morgan was elected President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate Wednesday.
“I am humbled by the awesome responsibility of this job and the challenges that lay ahead. I’m thankful to my Senate colleagues for their support and I know I can count on each and every one of them – both Democrats and Republicans – to put aside petty political differences in the coming weeks as we seek to move Oklahoma forward,” Morgan said.
The new Senate leader noted that the legislative session is not yet half over and lawmakers have a lot of work left to do.
“A number of important issues remain unresolved. I look forward to working with Governor Henry and other legislative leaders in the nine remaining weeks of this session to resolve them,” Morgan said.
Morgan served as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 49th Oklahoma Legislature in 2003 -2004 and continued in that capacity earlier this year before being elected to the Senate’s top post.
He said completing work on the Fiscal Year 2006 budget will, of course, be one of his top priorities.
“One of first things we need to do is complete an appropriation for our public schools. We sent Senate Bill 217 to the House last week on a 43-0 vote. It is my hope that Speaker Hiett and the House will move quickly to send it on to Governor Henry so that school boards across the state can get on with the business of planning for the next school year,” Morgan said.
The new Senate Leader said his other priorities include winning passage of the Senate Democrat’s HOPE Plan, which provides tax cuts for working Oklahoma families, retirees and small business; and finding a funding solution for the crisis facing the state’s road and bridges.
One of the first items of business the Senate will take up next week, Morgan said, is the $500 million capital improvements bond issue for Higher Education.
Morgan, who was re-elected to a third Senate term in November, said he has asked Senator Ted Fisher to remain as Majority Floor Leader.
“Senator Fisher has done a tremendous job of keeping the trains running on time. I trust his counsel and I deeply value his judgment and friendship,” Morgan said.
Morgan also appointed Senator Johnnie Crutchfield as chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Crutchfield will serve a dual role as chairman of both the full Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the Sub-Committee on Education.
The 50-year-old Morgan, a native of Tulsa, was first elected to the Senate in 1996. Prior to his service in the legislature, he served as municipal judge for the City of Stillwater, a position he held for 12 years. He has been an adjunct professor of business law at Oklahoma State University.
A product of the Tulsa Public School system, Morgan obtained a bachelor’s degree from the Oklahoma State University before earning his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law. He maintains a law practice in Stillwater with an emphasis on litigation, commercial transactions and real property.