Senate President Pro Tempore Designate Glenn Coffee has announced his choice for Secretary of the Senate and State Election Board Secretary. Paul Ziriax, who has held the title of Leadership Assistant at the State Senate for the past six years, has been named to the dual posts.
The Pro Tempore selects the Secretary of the Senate, who must then be elected by a majority of members. Under Oklahoma law that individual also serves as State Election Board Secretary.
“Paul’s experience in both state and national government positions have prepared him well for these new responsibilities,” Coffee said. “I also know him to be a man of tremendous character and intellect, with an abiding respect for the political process and democracy. I know he will do an outstanding job on behalf of the people of Oklahoma.”
“Oklahoma has a national reputation for the efficient way in which our elections are conducted, and Michael Clingman should be commended for the great job he’s done as Secretary of the Senate and Secretary of the State Election Board,” stated Coffee. “I wish Michael the best of luck in his new role as director of the Office of State Finance.”
Before coming to work for the Senate, Ziriax was the Chief of staff and press secretary to former U.S. Congressman Wes Watkins. He serves on the State Capitol Preservation Commission and is a member of the Legislative Information and Communication Staff Section and Leadership Staff Section of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ziriax earned a degree in Business Administration and Finance from Oklahoma State University, and is a member of the OSU Alumni Association.
The Secretary of the Senate directs the floor staff and oversees the preparation of daily printing and general publications and the content of forms used by the Senate for various reports and procedures. The Secretary is the custodian of all Senate records and provides assistance to the President Pro Tempore and the presiding officer. The State Election Board Secretary is the chief administrative officer of the State Election Board.
“I am deeply honored by the faith Senator Coffee has placed in me,” Ziriax said. “I have some big shoes to fill. I am thrilled with this new opportunity, and look forward to continuing my public service.”
Ziriax, age 37, is a native of Claremore, Oklahoma, but currently resides in Edmond with his wife, Lisa, and their nearly 2-year-old daughter, Allie. They are members of Faith Bible Church in Edmond.
The full Senate will vote on Ziriax’s appointment when they return for an organizational day on January 6, 2009.