Political Prom

Last Saturday evening was the Speaker’s Ball in Oklahoma, an event that signals the Legislative Session is drawing near. I penned a few reviews of past Speaker’s Balls we attended while Cliff was in the Legislature. You can read about those HERE, HERE and HERE. The theme, venue and beneficiary of the proceeds changes with every Speaker of the House, which keeps things interesting.

We did not go this year because I was in charge of another event benefiting the Oklahoma Contemporary Museum of Art. So, still had a chance to play dress up and momentarily feel like a princess just at a different venue!  It was fun and my Senator in a tux did not disappoint.

If you read this and attended the 2020 Speaker’s Ball, please send me your pics!! Dying to know what I missed!

The official start to the legislative session in Oklahoma begins next week and the Governor appears to be on a goodwill tour speaking about his agenda and providing people with a glimpse of his goals for our state. Honestly, he needs all the goodwill he can get considering he is still in a dispute with the Tribes…but, I’m not gonna go there. And, it’s also rumored that his Senior Advisor, (Donelle Harder), the individual who is writing the State of the State is resigning. Oy!

My Senator will have an opportunity to hear the Gov. speak at Rotary today.  Did you know, that Rotary Club 29, located in Oklahoma City, is the largest Rotary Club in the WORLD!?  Who would ever guess that to be the case considering the size of our City…unless you know the people who live here and their dedication to serving others. Can’t wait to hear about today’s meeting and kinda of bummed I didn’t get the invite to go as his guest haha.

Global Mom Power

I spent a few days this week attending the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York as a delegate for American Mothers, Inc. This organization has been an NGO (non-governmental organization) at the United Nations since Mamie Eisenhower was the First Lady and as such, can take a delegation of up to 20 women to attend this event each year. In the case of my organization, we take moms, because that is what we are all about. This year, there were eight of us attending -representing all parts of the country…Delaware, Illinois, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Puerto Rico…

We attended numerous panel discussions covering a broad range of topics.

The UN has little boxes with headsets available in case the panelists speak a different language. Laughing as I type because it’s the UN and everyone speaks a different language! Anyway, my friend Kim and I sat in on panel sponsored by the Foreign Minister of Morocco about social protection mechanisms and took full advantage of those little boxes.

Looks like our friends, Emily and Nadine did the same. Although the subject matter of the panel was nothing to smile about really.

Thank goodness the opening remarks from Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland), were in English because there was a shortage of headsets! As far as opening sessions go, her comments were solid considering the status of women worldwide varies from country to country. In fact, our group sat in on a session about women and the media, and those variances in status were evident.

Our delegation was also able to attend a special reception sponsored by UN Women.

The really cool part about this reception is that everyone is encouraged to wear their native dress.

The Ukrainian women own the art of embroidery. Their attire was lovely to look at and just as interesting as the members of their delegation.

Enjoyed a brief visit with a soft spoken woman from the Congo. What makes this reception stand out is the attire. You seriously want to meet everyone there and learn what issues impact moms in their country- the outfits make for the perfect icebreaker!

Lucky Kuar Gill was the most beautiful soul from Canada. Pictured here in her native dress from India, she told us how she was married off at a young age by her parents and had children while in her teens. She was able to move to Canada where she started Global Girl Power. Look it up and follow this inspirational woman. Her story was moving and powerful and will hopefully encourage other young women who have been oppressed. She spoke on a mental health panel earlier in the day that some members of our delegation attended, so we were at no loss for words with her.

On a side note, and probably a highlight was getting to meet former French President, Francois Hollande.

My group was in the hotel bar trying to determine which amazing New York restaurant we were going to hit up for dinner while the former French President was filming a segment for a news outlet. As we watched him woo his audience, we plotted on how to grab a picture with him. Fortunately, my friend Kim speaks beautiful French and asked (in French of course) if this group of American Moms could have a photo.

He was very kind and gave us a lovely sentiment in French: ‘Le meres Americaines les gens important.’ That even he knows how important the mothers of America are….

So I’m gonna overlook the fact that he left office with the worst approval ratings in French history and a scandalous affair because he was spot on about American moms. Bien Fait Monsieur

Libraries & Magnolias

This week, the Senator and I did a really fun thing.  We got together with my parents and hosted a little get together for a dear friend of ours, Sean Burrage, who is the President of a University in the Southeastern part of our state.

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My parents aren’t in this picture, but I’m sandwiched in between my Senator and Sean!

Sean is a special friend who not only served in the State Senate with my Senator, but he also worked for the current President of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, way way back when Boren was a United States Senator.  I also happened to be working for Boren in Washington DC , so I claim to have known Sean longer, haha. Small world.

Anyway…Sean and my Senator were not just colleagues at the Capitol, but good friends, and even though they were on opposite sides of the political aisle, they worked together to make positive things happen for the people of our state.  Current elected officials could REALLY take a lesson from those two… just saying.

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My Senator drove to Durant and gave President Burrage a Trump tie for Christmas cause they are fun friends like that! He wore it to our event…see next pic for proof!
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With my mom and favorite Bennett cousins!

But, I digress.  Back to our special event.  We thought it would be cool to host a gathering for the alumni of Southeastern Oklahoma State who happen to live in our neck of the woods and use the opprtunity as a fundraiser for a scholarship in the name of my Great Grandfather, Henry G. Bennett, who just happened to be the President of this same University a very long time ago.  ( Pardon the major run on sentence amidst a post about Higher Education!)

I always knew my Great Grandfather was the President of SEOSU, but his real claim to fame was being President of Oklahoma State University and working with President Harry Truman as an Assistant Secretary of State for his Point Four Program.  So, for me, this was a fun opportunity to see old friends, blend a connection of sorts and learn a little bit more about Southeastern Oklahoma State.

Evidently,  my great grandaddy planted a lot of magnolias on the campus. I have always loved magnolias.  They are so hardy and strong…at least the ones in my yard! But, he planted over 1,000 magnolias there…so, they named the Library after him. I love libraries.

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The Library at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.

I think he loved libraries as much as he loved magnolias because his philosophy was that the Library should be at the center of campus and provide a gathering place for students.  Such an educator!  Maybe that is why I have always loved libraries too, who knows!

He continued the library and magnolia tradition when he took over the helm at Oklahoma State University – except that magnolias didn’t really grow in them there parts. Determined to make it work, my great grandaddy reminded them that OSU was an agricultural / mechanical school and they needed to go figure it out. So, they did.  They also re-routed a road which ran thru the middle of campus in order for the Library to be the center of attention. Pretty dang cool.

Back to the event for our good friend Sean.  It was special.  Not only is he a fabulous President of this University bringing his passion for education and kids to the job with him everyday, but I am hopeful that he, like my grandad, will someday take the reigns of another major University in our State…. but, this one would begin with an O and end with a U!