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Oklahoma House Republicans name next speaker

Oklahoma House Republicans name next speaker



Published: October 20, 2009

House Republicans selected Speaker Pro Tempore Kris Steele to be the next speaker if they hold onto their majority after next year’s elections.

Steele, R-Shawnee, was elected by acclamation during Monday’s closed caucus meeting to serve as House speaker during the 2011-12 sessions.

All but two of the House’s 62 Republicans showed up. In attendance was Todd Russ, elected last week to fill a vacant seat held by a Democrat. He’ll be sworn in Wednesday.

Steele would succeed House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, who can’t seek re-election because of legislative term limits.

Benge will serve as speaker until after the November 2010 elections.

"The speaker designate election occurs now so that a mentoring process can take place between the current speaker and whomever the designate is,” Steele said.

"My intention is to continue to support ... and learn everything I can from Speaker Benge over the next 13 months.”

Steele was elected to the House in 2000. Because of 12-year legislative term limits, Steele’s last term would be for the 2011-12 session.

"I look forward to working with not only all of the members of the Republican caucus, but all House members to move our state forward,” Steele said.

This session, Republicans will control the House, 62-39.

The entire House will elect the speaker after the November 2010 elections.

House Democrats in May chose Rep. Scott Inman of Del City as their next leader. He is scheduled to succeed House Minority Leader Danny Morgan of Prague when Morgan’s leadership position expires in November 2010.

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