Legislators Take Oaths Of Office Amidst Capitol Scaffolding
November 26, 2020
Sen. Shane Jett
A decade after leaving public office as a state representative, Shane Jett is back at the state Capitol and officially on the job for Senate District 17. The Shawnee Republican was sworn in Nov. 16 in the Senate Chamber by Chief Justice Noma Gurich.
Traditionally, senators take the oath of office at the same time but due to COVID-19 safety protocols and ongoing renovations to the Senate Chamber, the members were split into small groups that were administered their oaths separately. Jett was joined on the Senate Floor by his wife, daughters and a few friends and family.
Jett is a fifth generation Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, who received his degree in International Business from Oklahoma Baptist University. He served six years in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010, representing Dist. 27, which includes Tecumseh. He later moved to Shawnee.
Jett and his wife of nearly 20 years, Ana, have three daughters, Raquel, Esther and Sarah. The family attends Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.
McCortney Begins Second Term In Senate
State Sen. Greg McCortney has officially begun his second term in the Oklahoma Legislature. The Ada Republican was re-elected during the November general election to serve Senate District 13, which includes communities in Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.
"I want to give my sincere thanks to the citizens of Senate District 13 for giving me the honor of continuing to serve on their behalf in the Senate," McCortney said. "It is a privilege I do not take for granted."
During his first term, he served first as vice chair, then chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, as well as holding a seat on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services. McCortney was chair of Rules and has also served on the Senate Committee for Business, Commerce and Tourism, Rules, and Transportation. He also served as vice chair of the Senate Republican Caucus.
McCortney has successfully authored and passed legislation better protecting first responders during the pandemic and led the effort to create a regulatory framework ensuring the safety of medical marijuana after it was approved by voters.
He was also principal author of legislation to provide better consumer protections for prescription drugs, and legislation raising the age for tobacco products to 21 in Oklahoma to align with federal law. McCortney also authored legislation expanding the statutory definition of those who can administer emergency drugs that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The 2020 swearing in ceremony was very different than those held in previous years. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, members took the oath of office in small groups on the Senate floor.
"I think this is a reminder that we're still going to be dealing with this pandemic during the 2021 legislative session. It's going to continue to be our top public health concern and it's going to continue to impact our state budget," said McCortney "These are serious challenges, but working together, I know we have the ability to lead our state through this and emerge stronger."
Williams Returns To State House After 26 Years
State Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole, took the Oath of Office on Wednesday, Nov. 11, to serve House District 28 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives during the 58th Legislature.
Williams, a small business owner, was elected to the House on Tuesday, Nov. 3. He previously represented House District 28 from 1989-1994.
Williams is a graduate of Southern Nazarene University and has two sons and nine grandchildren. He and his wife, Joyce, attend Immanuel Fellowship Church, where he also teaches a Sunday School class for individuals recovering from addiction.
House District 28 includes Seminole County and north Pottawatomie County. The seat was vacated when the incumbent, then-Rep. Zack Taylor, was sworn into the Oklahoma State Senate.