Oklahoma House Democrats to select new leader
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two central Oklahoma representatives are seeking to become the next leader of the state’s House Democrats, a caucus that shrunk during last week’s election.
Reps. Emily Virgin of Norman and Jason Dunnington of Oklahoma City are both seeking the minority leader position, The Oklahoman reported . The caucus will vote on the issue on Thursday.
Virgin has served in the House for eight years and is the Democratic caucus’s most senior member. She said her experience is critical with nine new members slated to begin their first term.
“I’ve been in the arena long enough that I think I can really help lead our party, especially with a lot of new members who are going to be looking for direction,” Virgin said.
Dunnington was first elected in 2014. He said he’ll seek ways to work with Republicans while also focusing on issues important to the caucus.
“The mistake is believing that being progressive means that you have to be divisive,” Dunnington said. “I think it is time for us to try something different and embrace a strategy of working together for the betterment of all Oklahomans.”
Democratic Rep. Jacob Rosecrant of Norman said he hasn’t yet decided who to support for the minority leader position, but that he believes next year could see more bipartisanship work. He said the caucus leader should also work to reach out to rural communities.
“There’s a disconnect between the Democratic Party and rural areas, and we’ve got to work on that,” Rosecrants said.
Democratic Rep. Steve Kouplen of Beggs is the current minority leader. He was one of three Democratic House members to lose re-election. Two of the three seats lost were in rural parts of the state.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com