Monday, March 04, 2024

OK House Republicans pick Hilbert as Speaker-Designate for next term

House Republicans Elect Hilbert Speaker-Designate

OKLAHOMA CITY – Speaker Pro Tempore Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, has been elected by the Oklahoma House Republican Caucus as speaker-designate for the 60th Legislature.

The speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives is the body’s chief presiding officer and is responsible for committee appointments, the flow of legislation and the management of the House budget and staff. The speaker also serves as an ex officio voting member on all House committees.

"I appreciate my colleagues' trust and confidence as we take the first step to prepare for the 60th Legislature," said Hilbert, who has served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House since 2022. "The speaker serves at the pleasure of the members, and I'm fortunate to be surrounded by people who want to tackle the hard problems. We have no shortage of challenges facing our state, and by working collaboratively with members from rural, suburban and urban Oklahoma, we can craft policies that make a lasting difference for our constituents."

Hilbert, 29, would be the youngest House speaker in Oklahoma state history and only the second Republican speaker 30 years old or younger in any state since 1873.

“Fresh ideas, courage, and vigor are what Oklahomans deserve from their leadership. People are frustrated with unresponsive politicians in Washington,” Hilbert said. “If we want to see Oklahoma continue to grow and flourish, I encourage more young, emerging leaders to engage in their communities and in their state. Oklahoma is the best place to raise a family, and I embrace this opportunity to fight for Oklahomans and their families.”

In Hilbert's eight-year tenure in the House, he has carried over 40 bills into law. He served three years as vice chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, during which time he helped craft the annual state budget, funding education at record levels and sustaining essential functions of state government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hilbert has tackled numerous policy challenges head-on. He authored the DRIVE Act, which brought the state's transportation funding into the 21st century, while simultaneously spearheading modernization of Oklahoma's ad valorem tax reimbursement system. Hilbert also led the charge to create and implement a transparent process for the distribution of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to targeted and transformational projects across the state.

Additionally, Hilbert was the author of the Redbud School Funding Act, which directs a portion of revenue generated from marijuana taxes to school districts with below-average local property taxes, enabling them to address pressing infrastructure needs. This legislation also stopped countless lawsuits in their tracks as it settled longstanding questions of funding disparity amongst public schools.

Current House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, congratulated Hilbert on the nomination. McCall is the longest-serving speaker in state history.

"I would like to congratulate Speaker-Designate Hilbert on his election as the Republican Caucus' nominee for Speaker of the House," said McCall, who is term-limited. "Over the past eight years, I have gotten to know Hilbert and find him to be a member and individual of the highest caliber. The Chamber will be in good hands under his leadership, and I look forward to seeing the House build upon the strong foundation that has been laid over the past decade."

"Under Speaker McCall's leadership, we've reached new heights of support for public education, our state budget is in better position than ever before, and we have decreased income tax burdens," Hilbert said. "He'll leave behind a remarkable legacy, and I hope to carry the torch and keep the conservative momentum going for the House and the state of Oklahoma."

Under majority caucus rules, the speaker-designate for the upcoming Legislature is selected through a caucus election on the first Monday in March during election years. The 60th Legislature will be seated after November’s elections and convene for its first session in 2025. The entire body of the House will formally vote on its next speaker on organizational day for the 60th Oklahoma Legislature in early January 2025.

Hilbert was elected in 2016 to represent House District 29, which contains portions of rural Creek and Tulsa counties. He holds a bachelor's degree in agribusiness from Oklahoma State University, where he also served as Student Government Association President. Hilbert and his wife, Alexis, have two daughters, Addison and Dorothy. The family lives in Bristow and are members of Foundation Church in Sapulpa.

House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson Congratulates New Speaker-Designate

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, released a statement congratulating the new Speaker-Designate.

“Congratulations to Speaker-Designate Rep. Kyle Hilbert on this well-deserved honor and responsibility to serve our state. I look forward to working with him on bettering the lives of Oklahomans in this new capacity. Over the last several years, Rep. Hilbert and I have collaborated on issues important to all Oklahomans, most recently, addressing deferred maintenance on our RUSO and rural higher education institution campuses. I also want to extend my gratitude to Speaker Charles McCall for his leadership, mentorship, and friendship during my first two years as the House Democratic Leader – I know he'll continue to serve our great state beyond his Speakership. As we move forward, I am ready to collaborate with Speaker-Designate Rep. Kyle Hilbert on helping all Oklahomans, especially those who feel unheard by their state government.”


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