McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 18, 2014

Jackson won’t run again for House seat

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — State Rep. Mike Jackson, the No. 2 leader in the Oklahoma House, said Thursday he will not seek re-election.

Jackson, R-Enid, could run for another two-year term, but said he looks forward to “the next chapter” of his professional career.

There have been a number of private sector offers over the years, he said, although he has not taken a job with anyone yet. Some offers have been from employers in Enid, while there have been Oklahoma City-based groups who have courted him, Jackson said.

“I am excited I get to take that step and kind of see where it all takes me,” he said. “Nothing has been set in stone.”

Jackson first began representing Enid in the Legislature in 2005. By law, Oklahoma House lawmakers can serve only six terms.

“It’s been an honor to represent House District 40 for the past 10 years. It’s also been an honor to serve as the speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives since I was elected in 2013,” Jackson said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I’m grateful to my constituents and my friends in the House for giving me the opportunity to serve, and I look forward to the next chapter.”

Jackson ran for the speaker of the House seat earlier this year, but lost to Fairview Republican Jeff Hickman.

“Either way, after serving 10 years in the Legislature, you start to think about what you’re going to do next. I think there still would have been a thought process in terms of whether or not to seek re-election” if he had won, Jackson said.

Jackson has a background in agriculture communications and worked for Oklahoma Department of Agriculture before he was elected. Jackson also served as a field representative for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Candidates wishing to run for Jackson’s seat must file April 9-11. The primary election, if there is more than one Republican or Democrat seeking their party’s nomination, is June 24.

The general election is Nov. 4, and Enid’s next representative will be sworn in on Statehood Day, Nov. 16.

Jackson said there have been some Enid residents who’ve approached him who are interested in the seat, but he’s not prepared to make an endorsement yet. He said it depends on who gets involved.

“I tend to stay by the sidelines a little bit, but if the right candidate comes along, I have no hesitation to endorse,” Jackson said. “I’m absolutely confident that at the end of the day, House District 40 will be well-represented.”