November 10, 2010
Oklahoma Baptist University Alumnus Kris Steele, the Oklahoma State Representative from Shawnee has been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The role will essentially make Steele the second most powerful man in Oklahoma politics.
The speaker of the state house is responsible for presiding over house chamber meetings, which gives Steele a considerable amount of control over the house proceedings.
Representatives cannot address the chamber unless the speaker recognizes them.
Moreover, the presiding officer may rule on any “point of order” (a member’s objection that a rule has been breached).
Steele will also be third in the gubernatorial line of succession.
The Lieutenant governor is ahead of Steele in line for governor, but constitutionally speaking, the Speaker has more responsibility than the lieutenant governor.
Kris Steele graduated from OBU in 1996 with a degree in Religion.
In 2000 he was elected to the State House of Representatives.
Last year he has served as House Speaker pro tempore.
He will serve as Speaker of the House in the 2011 session.
Steele is term limited and cannot seek reelection to the House.
Steele, a Republican, will preside over the biggest Republican majority in state history.
70 of the 101 member of the House are Republicans.
The State Senate has a similarly large majority.
The Governor’s office, as well as all other executive offices, will be Republican controlled.
Nevertheless, Steele promises bipartisanship, “I believe the rules exist to protect the minority, and I think it’s very important that as our majority grows that we not lose sight of that,” said Steele.