Republican senators on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to designate Senator Mike Schulz, R-Altus, as the next President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.
The President Pro Tem is the upper chamber’s top leadership position. In addition to leading the Majority Caucus and setting its agenda, the Pro Tem oversees the operations of the Oklahoma Senate.
“It’s an honor to be selected by my colleagues to lead the Republican caucus in the next legislative session. Under the leadership of Pro Tem Bingman, we’ve made significant progress in making Oklahoma a better place to live, to work and to raise a family,” Schulz said. “Certainly, challenging times lie ahead, but we are a resilient state and there is a very talented group of men and women serving in the Senate who have the passion and creativity to find the solutions that will get our state moving in the right direction.
“I appreciate the trust my Republican colleagues have placed in me and look forward to serving them, and the people of the great state of Oklahoma as Senate Pro Tempore,” Schulz added.
Schulz currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader, a position he’s held in the Senate since 2012. He replaces President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, who has served as the Senate leader the past six years but is leaving because of legislative term limits.
Under the rules of the Senate Republican Caucus the remainder of the Senate GOP’s leadership team will be chosen following the general election this November. The Senate will organize in January, at which time the new Pro Tem will be officially elected, and rules for the 2017 session will be passed.
Mike Schulz’s biographical highlights:
• Lives in Altus with his wife Reenie. The couple has two children, Benjamin and Abby.
• Bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University
• A cotton and wheat farmer and active member of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
• Named Legislator of the Year in 2016 by the Oklahoma Rural Water Association; recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; honored by the Oklahoma State Alumni Association for distinguished service; 2013, 2014, and 2015 recipient of the “Champion Award” from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
• A graduate of Oklahoma Agriculture Leadership Class V and is an active member in the Altus Kiwanis Club as well as the First United Methodist Church of Altus.
• Won election to the Senate in a special election in May 2006.
Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks said, “I want to extend my congratulations to Senator Mike Schulz for election by his caucus as President Pro Tempore Designate of the State Senate.
“It’s likely the tremendous budget difficulties facing Oklahoma this session will continue to present challenges for the next year or two. It is important for each of our caucuses to focus on finding solutions that will move our state forward while providing adequate resources for vital services like education, health, mental health, public safety and transportation.
“It is a pleasure serving with Senator Schulz, and I know he is dedicated to serving the people of his district and this state. I look forward to working with him in the next Legislature. On behalf of the members of my caucus, we offer our sincere congratulations.”