The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

May 5, 2014

Hickman elected to 2-year term as Oklahoma speaker

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman was re-elected Monday during a closed-door Republican caucus meeting, ensuring the leader another term for the two-year legislative session that begins next year.

The 72-member GOP caucus elected Hickman, R-Fairview, as “speaker-designate” over four-term state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie.

“I look forward to the upcoming months so we can prepare for a new session with new faces and ideas,” Hickman said in a statement, “but at the same time, my focus is on completing the business ahead of us in the remaining weeks of this session.”

The caucus will vote again for speaker in November after the general election, but that vote is typically a formality. The full House of Representatives will formally elect the next speaker in January.

Hickman won an election to become speaker earlier this year against Enid Rep. Mike Jackson after former Speaker T.W. Shannon stepped down to focus on his campaign for U.S. Senate.

Murphey was a Jackson loyalist who was replaced by Hickman as chairman of a House committee after Hickman’s election.

Murphey said he was running on a platform of including more member participation in the budget process, but Hickman said his re-election affirms that his Republican colleagues are happy with how they’ve been involved.

“We’ve been having these serious discussions in our caucus meetings about these issues, about the budget and how we’re going to put that together, what the lists of wants are and the lists of needs are,” Hickman said. “Perhaps this is an affirmation of the direction we’ve been going this session.”

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