Saturday, March 30, 2024

State Rep. Rhonda Baker opts against seeking reelection

Rep. Rhonda Baker will not Seek Reelection in 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28th) – Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, announced today that she will not seek reelection to the Oklahoma House of Representatives this year.

"It has been an extraordinary honor to serve the people of House District 60 for the past eight years," Baker said. "I have been blessed to work with some of the most dedicated and talented leaders in the communities in my district and across Oklahoma. I have seen firsthand the challenges facing our state, and yet I remain optimistic that determined and capable Oklahomans will take the opportunities afforded them to make our state the best it can be."

Baker – a former classroom teacher with nearly two decades of experience at all levels of education, from middle to high school and collegiate work – quickly rose to leadership positions once elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. As a freshman lawmaker, in 2016, she was appointed to serve as chair of the House Education Committee and as a member of the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Education, positions she still holds. She also served as a member of the House Higher Education and CareerTech Committee. In 2023, Baker received the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Distinguished Service Award for her work on the Concurrent Education Task Force.

"Since coming from the classroom to the Capitol, I've worked tirelessly to advocate for students and champion our state's educators," Baker said. "During my tenure, I've worked to pass legislation focused on improving student outcomes so our youth are ready for the next level of coursework and for lives beyond school. I've pushed for measures that ensure students are prepared for the demands of the workforce so they excel and earn to their highest potential. This not only benefits our youth but propels our entire state forward."

Baker also has worked to improve the school environment for educators and to give parents more choices for their children's education.

"One of my proudest legislative accomplishments was to negotiate the largest increase in educational funding, including teacher pay increases, while also advocating for more school choice than at any time in Oklahoma's history," Baker said.

In addition to being recognized as a dynamic state leader, Baker has received national attention for her work on education policy. She serves as Chairwoman of the Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference and vice chair of the Southern Regional Education Board's Advisory Council.  Baker's legislative colleagues across the region have sought her expertise and training as they develop educational goals for improving student achievement, teacher recruitment, and parental choice. 

She said her passion and work in education will not end when she completes her legislative work later this year.

"I recognize there is still much to be done, and I promise to continue advancing the cause of public education throughout my life," she said.

Baker's work extends into other policy areas as well. She is a member of the House speaker's leadership team and serves as an assistant floor leader. She is a member of the full House Appropriations and Budget Committee and the Energy Committee and has served on the Children, Youth and Family Services, and Business and Commerce committees.

Early in her legislative career, Baker received the Rising Star Award from the State Chamber for her role as a legislative leader in the business community. In 2023, Baker was appointed as a fellow for the Hunt-Kean Leadership Institute, an intense leadership training program for government and business leaders nationwide. 

She was one of 11 select legislators chosen within the southern region to attend the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills. She was one of two legislators chosen as an Early Learning Fellows from the National Conference of State Legislators. She also serves as a commissioner on the Commission of the Status of Women.

Baker said as she leaves the Legislature she remains appreciative to God for the grace and ability He's given her to serve in public office, and to her family and supporters for their love and sacrifice on her behalf.

Rhonda Baker serves District 60 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes part of Canadian County.


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