Ballenger to retire from State Senate

Sen. Roger Ballenger

Sen. Roger Ballenger

Sen. Roger Ballenger announced Wednesday he will not seek another term in the Oklahoma State Senate. Although the Okmulgee Democrat would not have been term limited until 2018, Ballenger said at this point in his life, he has decided to devote his time and attention to his family, his ranch, and his local community.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve my friends and neighbors in Okmulgee, McIntosh, Muskogee and Okfuskee Counties as their State Senator,” Ballenger said. “The past eight years have been full of successes and challenges. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful Oklahomans, both constituents and colleagues alike. My decision to not run for a third term as Senator was not an easy one. But the time is right for me to come home to Okmulgee.” 

Ballenger has served in the State Senate since 2006 when he won the seat which had been held by term-limited Democrat Frank Shurden. Ballenger was re-elected to the District 8 seat in 2010. He currently serves the Senate Democratic Caucus as Assistant Minority Floor Leader and holds the position of Vice-Chair of the Senate General Government Committee.

“During my time as senator, I always endeavored to be a strong voice for the hard-working Oklahomans I’m proud to call my constituents, my neighbors, and my friends. It has been my honor to stand up for individual rights and to protect those whose only advocate is their elected legislator. I’ve been particularly proud of my work on behalf of Oklahoma’s public safety employees, our military families and our veterans.”

Among Ballenger’s many legislative successes is his work to protect Oklahomans from the far-reaching consequences of meth manufacturing. He wrote and fought for passage of legislation that requires any property found to be a meth lab to be identified as such and tested for safety before it could be re-rented or sold. Ballenger also worked to freeze property taxes for seniors. He championed additional protections for grieving military families as well as legislation to provide Oklahoma flags to the families of fallen soldiers. He also helped push through a special hunting season for disabled veterans.

Ballenger was named the Legislator of the Year by both the Oklahoma State Troopers Association and the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. He was also awarded the Defender of Free Enterprise award by the State Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in advancing legislation that would significantly impact economic development in Oklahoma.

“I will be forever grateful for the faith and trust the people of Okmulgee, McIntosh and Okfuskee counties have had in me. Serving as their State Senator has truly been an honor,” Ballenger said.

Ballenger is the owner and operator of a small beefmaster cattle operation just west of his hometown of Okmulgee. He’s looking forward to spending more time with his children and grandchildren who are noted on his Senate profile as one of his favorite hobbies.