Students across the state will have a chance to visit one-on-one with their State Senator and find out what it's like to write and pass laws and make budget decisions. It's all part of a national program called America's Legislators Back to School, sponsored annually by the National Conference of State Legislators. The program officially kicks off for 2006 during the third week of September and continues throughout the school year.
The goal is to teach Oklahoma students about government as well as the importance of being involved in the process, including registering to vote and participating in elections once they turn 18.
The program, which began as a one-day civics education event in 1999, became a week-long activity in 2001. In 2005, it was expanded to include visits throughout the school year. According to NCSL, each year more than 1,300 state lawmakers visit an estimated 320,000 students in their classrooms.
This year, 31 members of the Oklahoma State Senate are planning visits to schools within their districts as part of America's Legislators Back to School, with others expected to schedule additional visits later in the school year.
Those Senators participating so far include Sen. Cliff Aldridge, Midwest City; Sen. Patrick Anderson, Enid; Sen. Don Barrington, Lawton; Sen. Cliff Branan, Oklahoma City; Sen. Randy Brogdon, Owasso; Sen. Bernest Cain, Oklahoma City; Sen. Harry Coates, Seminole; Sen. Kenneth Corn, Poteau; Sen. Brian Crain, Tulsa; Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, Ardmore; Sen. Mary Easley, Tulsa; Sen. John Ford,
Bartlesville; Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, Durant; Sen. J. Berry Harrison, Fairfax; Sen. Cal Hobson, Lexington; Sen. Constance N. Johnson, Oklahoma City; Sen. Clark Jolley, Edmond; Sen. Ron Justice, Chickasha; Sen. Todd Lamb, Edmond; Sen. Charlie Laster, Shawnee; Sen. Owen Laughlin, Woodward; Sen. Daisy Lawler, Comanche; Sen. Debbe Leftwich, Oklahoma City; Sen. David Myers, Ponca City; Sen. Jonathan Nichols, Norman; Sen. Susan Paddack, Ada; Sen. Jim Reynolds, Oklahoma City; Sen. Nancy Riley, Sand Springs; Sen. Mike Schulz, Altus; Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, Oklahoma City and Sen. Charlie Wyrick, Fairland.