The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 29, 2014

Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, should be speaker of the House

ENID, Okla. — With T.W. Shannon’s announced campaign for U.S. Senate, we’re respectfully hoping he quickly resigns his post as speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Nothing at all against Shannon, but the race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, deserves his full time and attention.

More importantly for our readers, this would open the door for state Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, to earn the House’s top post.

Then the rest of the state will learn about the man we already know.

It would be a historic first for Enid to claim a speaker.

After a century of Democrats dominating House leadership, traditionally GOP areas are now getting their chance.

We believe Jackson has the votes to be speaker.

It would make sense for Shannon to step down from his state leadership post after Friday’s speaker’s ball, letting Jackson assume the position as the session begins.

Jackson, elected in 2012 by the House’s 72-member Republican caucus as speaker pro tem, certainly has the right stuff. He can lead with a diplomatic demeanor without sacrificing his principles.

Speaker Jackson would have more power to negotiate. He’s been opposed to shuttering Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid, which is slated to close next year.

If he’s speaker, it’s easier to fight that battle, among other issues.

State politics needs more collaborative consensus-building on issues and less divisive grandstanding on ideologies.

Let’s put the distractions aside. The 2014 legislative session deserves Jackson’s full time and attention.

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