Grego prepares for start of legislative session

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photoDistrict 17 State Rep. Jim Grego discusses Medicaid expansion and finding a replacement for the Talihina Veterans Center that is set to close as the legislative session starts Monday.

Jim Grego won reelection as the District 17 Oklahoma State Representative.

The incumbent received 2,100 votes with challenger Shannon Rowell getting 1,294 votes in the June 30 primary. Grego won reelection as no Democratic challenger filed in the race.

"I thank the voters for trusting me to give them two more years to serve them," Grego said. "And to continue serving them like I have in the past with their one-on-one problems, reaching out to me and trying to walk them through like we've done the last two years."

Grego said his top priority will be addressing an economic decline impacting the district and the state.

"We have to get the economy moving, we have to get some jobs coming in," Grego said. "We're way to dependent on the federal government right now. We can't just expect that.

"Oklahoma has to support itself and then we have to get started on the budget when we've got such reduced revenue," Grego said.

Grego referenced a significant shortfall in tax collection "and no real hope that it's going to rebound any time soon" with a decline in the oil and gas industry.

He said the state has to diversify its economy after the coronavirus pandemic cause setbacks.

"We have to do what it takes to get Oklahoma's economy rolling again," Grego said. "It was rolling in January and February of this year, and then when this crisis hit it put the brakes on everything."

Grego said Oklahoma has to become less dependent on oil and gas, but it's "easier said than done."

He said the state made progress in energy and must continue looking at options to diversify.

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