By James Beaty
New District 7 state Sen. Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak, is back in his district, having been sworn into office with his fellow senators while his family watched during a Wednesday ceremony at the state Capitol.
Like other legislators, Boggs was sworn into office by Oklahoma Chief Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor, of McAlester.
“It took awhile for it to sink in on me, the responsibilities I’ve got,” Boggs said. Still, he’s looking forward to meeting the challenge.
“It’s something I knew we’d have,” he said.
Boggs said he appreciates the support he’s had across the district, which includes Pittsburg, Latimer and Haskell counties, and part of Hughes County.
“We’ve got a lot of prayers for me,” Boggs said. “We’re up and ready to go. We need to hear from the people.”
Following the swearing-in ceremony, Boggs met with a caucus of Senate Republicans.
“They’ve got their agenda and I’ve got mine,” Boggs said.
So what’s on Boggs’ agenda?
“The first thing I’m going in on is the water issue,” Boggs said. “We have no representation of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.”
Boggs referred to the fact that no one from southeastern Oklahoma currently serves on the OWRB, although the citizen board makes decisions impacting water, and water rights, in southeastern Oklahoma.
Working to try and obtain more jobs is another priority.
“We have an excellent workforce and we’re trying to get more jobs for southeastern Oklahoma,” Boggs said.
If more jobs are obtained, the tax revenue base will grow naturally, and there’ll be more money for projects such as improving roads, he said.
Boggs also said he would like to see more natural gas wells opened. He knows of a number of wells which could be producing natural gas, but they’re inactive at this time.
“There’s a lot of wells down here that’s shut off, that’s part of the problem,” Boggs said. “The price of gas is not high enough.”
Boggs also thinks more work needs to be done on workers compensation reform in Oklahoma. What about the workers compensation changes already passed by the Republican leadership in the legislature?
“We’re one of only two states that still use the court system deal,” Boggs said.
“I’m for anybody who gets hurt on the job getting what’s coming to them,” but they shouldn’t have to spend a month or two in the court system before they get it, Boggs said. He believes most would agree with him, both among employers and employees.
“There’s nothing an employer wants more than for his employee to get well and get back to work,” Boggs said.
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