McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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May 7, 2014

At the capital with Sen. Larry Boggs

The tornado that struck Quapaw on April 27 is a reminder that we are now moving into the most dangerous time of the year in Oklahoma. We are now in tornado season, and the deadliest month of that season in our state is May. Some communities are still in the recovery process after the 2013 May tornadoes and flash flooding that struck on the 19th, 20th and 31st. The loss of life was tragic, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims.      

After last May’s storms, Governor Mary Fallin began working with several groups to develop a series of initiatives to help Oklahomans be better prepared for weather emergencies. One initiative that you’ll start seeing and hearing soon is a series of Public Service Announcements that will air on TV and radio, reminding Oklahomans of the importance of developing a plan for severe weather well before it strikes.

A severe weather plan should include knowing where the closest safe place is before you are actually in the path of a tornado. As a result of the many large tornadoes we’ve had in Oklahoma in recent years, more Oklahomans have begun investing in safe rooms and underground shelters. If you don’t have one and don’t have access to one, head for the most interior room of your home, with the most walls between you and the outside of your home. Typically that will be a closet or a bathroom. If you have a bike helmet to protect your head, put it on and use blankets or pillows to further shield yourself. Remember, there is no safe place to shelter inside a mobile home — it is extremely important for those residents to identify a safe place to shelter.

Now that we’ve passed the deadline for voting on House bills, the Senate is working through the task of accepting or rejecting amendments the House made to our legislation. We’re also voting on executive nominations to state boards and commissions. On Monday, Loise B. Washington of McAlester was presented in the Senate Education Committee to be confirmed for another seven years as a member of the Board of Regents of Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. She was accompanied by Karen Harrison from EOSC. The very next day, the Senate voted and confirmed her nomination.

On Tuesday, we were invited to a breakfast provided by Library Day participants. I was delighted to meet and visit with librarians from McAlester. Our libraries are a wonderful resource for education, enrichment and entertainment. I hope you visit your local library often and take advantage of all it has to offer — especially if you have children or grandchildren.

Wednesday was Small Business Day at the Capitol, an annual event hosted by Lt. Governor Todd Lamb. Small businesses are the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy and a vital part of our local communities, providing jobs and opportunities that would not otherwise exist.

Each year, FFA members from across the state come to Oklahoma City for the state convention. The organization has an outstanding choir, and on Wednesday the FFA singers were in the Chamber to perform. They are incredibly talented young men and women, and it is something members look forward to every year. That evening, FFA held its banquet at the Cox Convention Center. I met Jason Allen, agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor for Panola, and Bobby Ketcher, one of his student members, as well as other students and adult volunteers from across the state. FFA is an outstanding organization that’s been a positive force in the lives of thousands of Oklahoma students. I’m proud of our local members and thankful for the adults who are helping our young people develop the skills, values and confidence to become tomorrow’s leaders.

To contact me at the Capitol, please write to Sen. Larry Boggs, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 522-B, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at boggs@oksenate.gov, or call 405-521-5604.

Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak, is the senator for Oklahoma’s District 7.

 

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