News February 2019
The first regular session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature has official begun and the recommendations of the Academy Town Halls have their stamp on many of the proposed pieces of legislation. On Tuesday afternoon the 2018 Town Hall Background Resource Document and the Issues Brief were distributed to all the legislators. The response from the legislators was positive and there is appreciation for the work of the Town Hall participants. This was even more evident when that evening more than 50 legislators attended the annual Legislators’ Welcome Reception at the Oklahoma History Center. 

Legislators’ Welcome Reception

The Academy held its Annual Legislators’ Welcome Reception at the Oklahoma History Center on Feb. 5 with an attendance of well over 100. There were more than 50 legislators in attendance for this great networking event. Thank you to all who attended the Reception and special thank you to Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Mark Lepak for being our guest speakers and sharing the mission of the Academy. This event would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of Co-Chairs Dan Boren and Clayton Taylor and the LWR committee members along with the many sponsors.

2019 Board of Directors

The Academy's Board of Directors are doing great things in 2019. While it has already been announce that Rachel Hutchings will serve as chairwoman, the Academy has also added six new board members for the 2019 year. The new board members are: Stephen Greetham, Chief General Counsel for Chickasaw Nation Division of Commerce, AJ Griffin, Government Affairs for Paycom, Inc., Jodi Lewis, Legislative Affairs Director at the Oklahoma Municipal League, Martie Oyler, Regional Manager at ONE Gas / ONG in Enid, Mark Schell, President of Security State Bank of Oklahoma- Seminole, and Bobby Stem, CEO of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.

Along with Hutchings, the officers of the Academy’s board of Directors serving for 2019 are: David Stewart, immediate past Chair, Chief Administrative Officer of Mid-America Industrial Park, Phil Albert, Chairman-Elect, President of Pelco Structural, LLC, Sara Jane Smallwood-Cocke,Vice-Chair, Public Information Officer, Choctaw Nation, Michael Gordon, membership Vice-President, Community Affairs Manager, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Larry Briggs, Treasurer/Secretary, President & CEO of First National Bank and Trust Co.- Shawnee, Susan Winchester, Board Governance Chair, President of The Winchester Group, and Valerie Thompson, Ph.D., Board Governance Vice-Chair, President & CEO of Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City.

Academy Intern

The Academy is excited to announce that Amber Monks is joining the Academy staff as an intern. Amber is a Junior at the University of Oklahoma with a double major in International Business and Economics. She has traveled abroad including living in Germany for 8 years. Amber will be working and learning all the many aspects of the Academy and she is excited about the great learning opportunity.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

We applaud Gov. Kevin Stitt for the naming of Lisa J. Billy as Secretary of Native American Affairs. The Town Hall recommended in 2007 that a Cabinet position be created with overseeing agency consultation and collaboration with the various nations and to be in charge of relations for the executive branch with the tribal governments in Oklahoma. Perhaps Oklahoma’s most unique assets are the 38 federally recognized sovereign tribal governments, each with special authority, advantages and responsibility. Billy, a former state House representative, has worked with the Academy in the past carrying different pieces of legislation that supported Town Hall Recommendations.

Renew Your Membership Now

If you have not already renewed your Academy membership for the 2019 year, please do so now. As you know, the Academy is a private, nonpartisan statewide membership organization that identifies issues facing Oklahoma, provides objective research, fosters nonpartisan collaboration, develops responsible recommendations addressing the issues, and encourages community and legislative action. This work of the Academy is only achieved with the participation and financial help of our membership. Again, if you have not renewed, please contact Lauren at (405) 307-0986 or to renew you membership in the unique and much needed organization that has achieved many milestones including more than 60 pieces of legislation being passed since the adoption of the Town Hall process in 2001.
Lynn Thompson | Feb 11, 2019