Inauguration Day, Part II

The show must go on, and it did yesterday as my great state celebrated the historic swearing-in of Oklahoma’s 27th Governor.

It was snowing and cold but those in charge of the festivities at the capitol did a marvelous job of moving the event along. It should come as no surprise that this was their fifth swearing-in ceremony, meaning they have been in charge of the logistics from constructing the podium, the sound, the security, to seating the crowd and dignitaries for the last five gubernatorial inaugurations. And, they did a fabulous job under the extreme conditions of the day.

This job didn’t come without its perks either. Here is a photo I snapped of one of the gentlemen in charge with native Oklahoman and country singer, Toby Keith.

He is a good friend of ours (not Toby Keith), but the man in charge. The Senator calls him Pickel. He owns a construction company and I’m sure Pickel was giving Toby very specific instructions before he sang a tribute to our nation’s soldiers.

And, that is another story….about how a country music star manages to play a song on his guitar in sub-zero temperatures.

It really was bone chilling outside. I mean, at that point in the program I could barely feel my feet. However, they must have kept Mr. Keith inside by the fire before his performance because he sang and played to perfection. That is just how good these guys are at running the show.


As I said before, we had front (well, actually third) row seats for the ceremony.

And, even though they were covered in snow our seats were close enough to capture some fun photos.

Like of the oil rig that sits on the south lawn of our state capitol……and those majestic columns….

…and a photo of the Senator’s office. I’m sure it was nice and warm in there.

And, the steps used for the procession back up into the rotunda.

I loved having the presence of so many service men and women who lined the path upwards. Even the ones with guns located right behind us. They made me feel safe.

After the ceremony, we got to catch up with a former governor. He and my Senator are friends and were exchanging stories about cowboy hats….

And, there were some good ones. Stories, that is.

Then, we ran into a Oklahoma Congressman who I have known since I was little.

I used to work for his dad a long time ago. They are good family friends and I am really proud of the job he is doing in Washington D.C.

As the Senator and I headed back up to his office, we happened to look out the window at the people still lined up in the cold waiting to get into the Capitol for the post inaugural reception. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. It was bitter cold, but they were witnessing a part of our state’s history and I get that.

Next up….How not to plan an Inaugural Ball!

SW

Organization

No, I am not organizing my closets, but rather it is organizational day today at the marble palace for my Senator. I have often wondered why the legislature meets on the first Tuesday in January prior to the beginning of a new legislative session…. so I asked him. My Senator explained to me that they convene at this time to officially elect their leadership. Simple enough. Never mind that the first day of the official legislative session begins on Monday, February 7th! Roughly one month later!

On that first day when the opening bell rings, the members will report to their respective chamber for a roll call. Just like in school, except they actually get paid for showing up…to the tune of thousands of $$$$ a day in my great state. I bet you didn’t know that each member who lives more than 50 miles from the capitol also gets paid a per diem for his/her travels and lodging each way. Nice, huh.

Anyway, after roll call on the opening day, the members usually caucus briefly, then head over to the House side where the Governor gives his (in this case, her) state of the state address. Following their remarks, the members might have a committee meeting or a caucus meeting depending on what is happening (i.e. what scandal is breaking) at the time and the first day of session comes to a close.

So, back to this organizational day. Here is what typically happens. The bell rings, roll is taken, the members officially cast their votes for leadership positions (such as Speaker of the House, or President Pro Temp of the Senate), a few introductions are made and they call it a day. Costing the taxpayers roughly how much again?

Now, don’t you think it would make more sense to save those tax payer dollars by convening on the first day of the actual session to do all of that? I mean, they could call roll, caucus, elect their leaders, meet jointly to listen to the Governor and put in a full days worth. Just saying.

The only thing standing in the way of my more efficient way to spend your taxpayer dollars is the Oklahoma Constitution. Evidently, the state constitution mandates that the Legislature convene on the first Tuesday of the year in what will be a new legislative session. I am sure there is a mighty fine explanation for this somewhere. I hope there is because I think I may have provided you with a much more streamlined approach for conducting the state’s business.

Okay, stepping down off my soapbox… So, today my Senator will be casting his vote for President Pro Temp of the Senate and I will be walking the halls of the Longworth Building in Washington D.C. Our Congressman is being sworn in up there and I’ll be watching it live.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and run into my new friend, John.

We’ll see.

Parades

Late last spring and into the summer months I wrote a handful of blog posts that I never published.  I am sure I did this intentionally as we were in campaign mode and I was a little paranoid…or protective…. or tired of being in the fish bowl…. Anyway, none of it matters now that the Senator’s campaign has successfully come to a close, so I thought I would share some of my tales from the trail…

July 3, 2010

Every 4th of July, the City of Bethany, Oklahoma holds a parade to celebrate our Independence.  Let me first say that Bethany is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting and the people who live there are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Truly kind, salt of the earth type people.  Excellent schools, churches, businesses….it is old world and all good.  Unlike political fundraisers, I happen to actually look forward to participating in the Bethany parade… maybe because of my first parade experience eight years ago.

It all started when the Senator and I purchased the opportunity to borrow an antique fire truck for a day.  We bought this as a silent auction item at the Bethany Public School Foundation’s fundraiser and decided to ask the owner if he might like to drive it for the 4th of July Parade.  That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?  Anyway, it turned out to be such a wonderful idea and a huge hit on the campaign trail.  Of course, you can imagine the fire truck full of our friends and volunteers….men, women and children wearing campaign t-shirts and red, white and blue beads, throwing candy into the crowd.  The Senator and I walked behind the truck and were followed by two volunteers carrying our banner with the Senator’s logo and his eye-catching logo’d pick up truck trailing behind.


My college age cousin, who had been assisting the Senator out door knocking, was driving the campaign truck with another good friend who we shall refer to as ‘the mouth of the south’.  He earned this distinctive title during this actual parade experience for the following reason…. You see, the ‘mouth,’ had been sitting in the truck with a stereo and megaphone blaring Lee Greenwood’s Proud to Be An American for the crowd to enjoy.   In between, he would shout out ‘vote for Branan for State Senate’ over and over again.  It was loud and fun and effective.

The memories from that day still bring a smile to my face. Well, except for the fact that after the parade I was loading the kids in the car and noticed one of my earrings was missing.  Not just any earring, but a little diamond stud that the Senator had given me shortly before he proposed.  I opted to not mention this to him…..until he found it in his truck several months later.  I don’t think I’ll be wearing any jewelry this year….just comfortable shoes.

Here are some actual photos from this year’s Bethany Parade….toward the end it poured down rain.


  1. Group photo before the parade… 

     

 

 

 


Here comes the rain little darlin’……..
The Senator loves to stop and talk to folks along the way…..
Even if it is raining………
Until we took refuge in the covered wagon of our State Auditor……

Let’s just say I am extremely thankful that we will not be marching in any Thanksgiving Day parade this year.  The temperature in my great state is expected to reach a high of 24 degrees……..


SW