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Republicans Continue Domination of Oklahoma Politics

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LAWTON, Okla_Election night was a historic one for Oklahoma republicans. Republicans now have their largest ever majorities in both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives.

Early results from the election show republicans picked up a net gain of four seats in the senate and a total of three seats in the house. While republicans took over the lead in the house, senate and Governor's office in 2010, some wonder if the state's government is leaning too far to the right.

Representative Dennis Johnson was first elected in 2006 and since then he's seen the republican party grow in dominance.

"Democrats basically controlled Oklahoma for probably close to 100 years, now it's our turn to see what we can do," Dennis explained.

He's not saying republicans have all the answers, but he is saying that it looks like they're off to a pretty good start.

Dennis said, "Our jobless rate is less, our job creation is up, our economic activity is expanding."

And while the spotlight is seemingly on the democratic and republican parties, he says there's really a more important division for state legislators in Oklahoma.

"Believe it or not, a lot of times the contention is not "Ds" and "Rs", the contention is urban and rural, " said Dennis.

Representative Johnson estimates that of the new faces coming to the house, at least half will represent rural areas of Oklahoma.

In addition to focusing on a balanced budget and tax reform Dennis hopes to concentrate on things more important to the rural communities.

"Farming issues and water rights and a lot of those issues that are not really a huge issue for people in urban Tulsa and Oklahoma City, " said Dennis.

And for those who worry that state government is leaning too far to the right, he stresses they are as inclusive as possible.

Dennis said, "The way I look at it. When the results come in and I win a race, I put away my partisan ship. And when somebody comes to me I don't ask what party they are before I help them. I don't care what party they are."

With all this in mind, Dennis knows the republicans have all eyes on them. And rather than letting the pressure get to them, he says they're just ready to get to work.

"We've been on the other side where a lot of things we've tried to do can't get done, and now we're on the side where a lot of things we'd like to do we can do. And so we're gonna see what kind of impact we can make."

As a result of Tuesday's vote, Lawton representative T.W. Shannon will take over as Speaker of the House once back in session.

 

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