Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Newberry resigns from State Senate, creates 7th vacant legislative seat this term

Whether it's failing to oppose unconstitutional tax hikes or simply serving out their entire term in elected office, it appears that the Oklahoma Legislature is full of individuals who are unwilling to fulfill their pledge of service to the people. State Sen. Dan Newberry has submitted his irrevocable resignation from office, to "pursue a promotion in his professional career".

Newberry was re-elected to a four-year last November. Let me say that again - just seven months ago, he spent over $336,000 and asked his constituents to send him to represent them for four years in the State Senate. Voters trusted his offer, and gave him the seat.

This creates the seventh empty seat in the state legislature since the 2016 election. The other vacancies are State Rep. Tom Newell (for a private sector job), State Rep. Dan Kirby (sexual harassment allegations), State Rep. Scott Martin (for private sector job), State Sen. Ralph Shortey (child prostitution arrest), State Sen. Kyle Loveless (campaign finance violations investigation). State Rep. David Brumbaugh's sudden passing created another vacancy requiring a special election.

All have been Republicans; four in the State House, and now three in the State Senate. This is getting out of hand. I hope the State Election Board got a significant boost in funding in the recently-passed state budget since legislators themselves are causing extra expense for them.

Here's the Newberry press release:

Sen. Dan Newberry resigns Senate seat to pursue professional promotion

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, is resigning his seat to pursue a promotion in his professional career. Newberry’s resignation will be effective January 31, 2018. The governor must set a date for a special election to replace Newberry.

“It has been a true honor to serve as the senator from District 37. I want to thank my wife, my children, family and friends for their unwavering support during my service in the Senate,” Newberry said.  “Just as importantly, I want to thank the citizens of District 37 for placing your trust in me to represent you at the Capitol for nearly 10 years.

Newberry was first elected as senator from District 37 in 2008, and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He and his wife, Laura, have four children: Claire, Paige, Eva and Alex. Newberry is an executive at the Tulsa Teachers’ Credit Union.

During his time in the Senate, Newberry was known as a conservative champion and an advocate for small business, most recently serving as chairman of the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make—however, Laura and I have made the difficult but necessary decision to focus on the needs of our family.  While we are optimistic about this new chapter in our lives, we are equally excited for the State of Oklahoma,” Newberry said.  “I am certain the people of District 37 will choose a wise leader to help steward this great state to a prosperous future.  I will miss serving in the senate, but will work with my successor to ensure a smooth transition and uninterrupted representation for the district.”

Newberry said he’d miss the many friends he made during his time in the upper chamber of the State Legislature.

“I can say without any hesitation that the men and women serving in the Oklahoma Senate – regardless of their party affiliation – are some of the most honorable and dedicated public servants who work each day to make Oklahoma an even better place. I will miss my Senate family, but will be praying and cheering them on as they continue to make Oklahoma the best place to work, live, and play.”

Newberry led recent reforms of the state’s unemployment benefits program, lowering unemployment taxes paid by Oklahoma employers. The reforms also strengthened the state’s workforce system and unemployment insurance trust fund which assisted in keeping unemployment low during the recent recession.

He has received multiple awards from Americans United for Life and Oklahomans for Life for authoring legislation which protects the sanctity of human life at all stages. He established the Gold Star Medal of Honor, which is given to the spouse or family members of an American soldier killed in action since 9/11. The Oklahoma Farm Bureau named him a member of the prestigious “100 Percent Club,” and the Oklahoma State Chamber honored him with the Guardian of Free Enterprise award for championing the economic development and growth of business in our state.


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