Citizens meet state legislators Jan. 12 at Stillwater Public Library

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / Jan. 8, 2015) — Reps. Cory Williams and Dennis Casey, along with Payne County’s two new state legislators, Sen. Tom Dugger and Rep. Greg Babinec, will be meeting community members at the Legislative Reception held at Stillwater Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 12 from 5-7 p.m. The annual event is sponsored by the library, League of Women Voters, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee and Friends of the Stillwater Public Library.

“After such a contentious presidential election, it’s important for citizens to see that we still have active local officials who care about their constituents opinions,” said Lynda Reynolds, Stillwater Public Library director. “And meetings like this give officials the crucial information needed to help make decisions on behalf of our communities.”

Babinec expects much of that feedback will relate to the educational system.

“As I knocked doors during campaigning in Payne County, I heard a lot of folks concerned about the state of Oklahoma's education. It was a heated debate during the November election, and State Question 779 ended up defeated.

“That doesn't mean people don't think our education system needs help though. Instead, I think people are looking to the Legislature to help fix the current system. People voiced worries about losing talented teachers to surrounding states that pay more, the A-F system and the low education rankings Oklahoma repeatedly receives on a national scale.”

Casey agrees that education is a top priority for area residents and for him, but thinks funding of state programs, like education, is at the heart of their concerns.

“Community members I speak with are concerned about the ability to fund what many consider core responsibilities of state government: education, health, public safety and transportation. We have all types of issues that we face, and almost all of the issues deal with funding.”

Casey also believes that the recent election will affect his work in the state legislature.

“Regulations coming from the federal government have a huge impact on states. (I am) looking forward to seeing just how hands on the new administration will be.  It will have a huge impact on our state.”

Babinec expects changes due to the national election as well.

“As always, the Legislature will work to protect Oklahoma from federal overreach, but I'm hopeful we won't face as much difficulty over the next few years with a Republican president. From my time with fellow lawmakers, so far, I can tell we all want Oklahoma to become a safer, more prosperous state, and I hope we'll work together to make that happen.

And how does the new representative feel about his first term?

“I'm grateful the people on House District 33 elected me as their state representative,” said Babinec. “There's a lot ahead, but I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I want to represent my constituents as best I can.

“Based on feedback I have received and continue to get from people across my district, I plan to fight for education, rural economic development and our deteriorating roads and bridges. These three issues are ones I expect to see come up during session, and I will represent my constituents to my full ability.”

The Legislative Reception is a free, informal event open to the public.

For more information, please visit the library’s website at http://library.stillwater.org or contact Lynda Reynolds at 405-372-3633 x 8101 or lreynolds@stillwater.org.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.