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On hand for Tuesday’s McAlester Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the McAlester Chamber of Commerce, are, from left, Bill McMahan, Cecelia McMahan, Frances Lerblance, Sen. Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, Teresa Renegar, Rep. Brian Renegar, D-Blanco, Chamber President Ross Eaton, Rep. Terry Harrison, D-McAlester, Michelle Tindle, Chloe McLaughlin and Connie Matthews. Local Italian sausage and cheese were served in the Senate lounge.

Italian sausage and Caciocavallo cheese straight from Krebs.

Those local favorites are what the McAlester Chamber of Commerce took to the state Capitol Tuesday and served in the Senate lounge.

“We do this for two purposes,” Chamber President Ross Eaton said afterward. “One is just to highlight for the senators, represenatives and staff that McAlester, who used to be known as the King of Coal, has become the Diamond of the Southeast.

“We are growing and booming, and there’s a lot going on in McAlester.”

Eaton said bringing Italian food from Little Dixie to Oklahoma City “entices the legislators to our area.”

“The other reason we do this is to highlight our legislators, Sen. Richard Lerblance, Rep. Brian Renegar and Rep. Terry Harrison. To give them a special day, so to speak.

“When we come up from McAlester, they are hosting us and they get pats on the back because of the Italian sausage and the cheese.”

Eaton said Pete’s Place and Lovera’s grocery donate the bread, peppers and cheese each year. “A local caterer prepared Pete’s recipe for the the sausage. They bring that up fresh. We bring up the tomato sauce and serve all that to the legislators.

“The staff and senators tells us they always look forward to the day that McAlester comes to the Capitol. A lot of staffers tell us that you can smell the sausage up the stairs.

“You get there kind of excited, and you leave with a smile on your face and a full stomach.”

Contact Susan Brittingham at 421-2029 or e-mail sbrittingham@mcalesternews.com.