The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 14, 2014

New House leadership should build consensus, get things done in OKC

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — As T.W. Shannon was stepping down to run for U.S. Senate, we wondered if state Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, had secured enough votes to assume the position. That did not happen.

After a secret ballot, state Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview emerged Monday as the next speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

The 40-year-old Hickman takes over one of state government’s most powerful positions, helping shape the legislative session’s agenda and dealing with the massive state budget.

Hickman’s friend Jackson remains as speaker pro tem, the House’s No. 2 post. We hope they are able to build consensus within Republican ranks and across the aisle and get things done.

As headlines from Washington show, ideologues can’t govern efficiently. Thankfully, these state leaders share a similar background and philosophy and should be effective at leading good government in Oklahoma.

 Because of Hickman’s roots as an area farmer and rancher, his leadership will be good for rural Oklahoma.

As a former press secretary for University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren, Hickman also has developed a good relationship with urban areas.

At times, Hickman has broken ranks with his GOP colleagues on significant policy issues.

With Shannon out as speaker — and new House leadership — it will be interesting to watch.