On Wednesday morning, I proudly took the oath of office to serve another term as State Representative for House District 33. It’s an honor to represent our community for two more years, and I look forward to the progress we’ll make to improve our state for everybody!

I take the oath of office very seriously when I say the words, “I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law; I further swear that I will faithfully discharge my duties as representative to the best of my ability.”

Because of continued renovations at the State Capitol and to uphold social distancing protocols, the House held a ceremonial swearing-in at the Capitol Rotunda. Representatives’ chairs were placed six feet apart and a limited number of guests were allowed to view from the fifth floor balcony.

However, the Oklahoma Constitution requires members be sworn in within the House Chamber, which has been under construction since session ended early last summer. To fulfill this constitutional requirement, members were brought into the Chamber in small groups to take their official oaths of office. Construction in the House Chamber will be completed before the beginning of session in early February.

We had the honor of being sworn in on Veterans Day, which was especially significant because several of my fellow House members served our country in the military and are now serving our state in the Legislature. A number of our House Sergeants are also veterans and were recognized for their service in the ceremony with state citations and a standing ovation. I’m so grateful for our men and women who served in uniform and made tremendous sacrifices to keep our country safe and free.

Millions of Americans have fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedoms and way of life. These ordinary people – our friends, our family, our neighbors – responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times and rose to the nation’s call to protect a nation which has given us all so much.

When I consider everything I am thankful for – the freedom to live in the home I choose, the freedom to marry the woman I love, the freedom to worship openly, the freedom to vote and many others – I am constantly reminded of the incredible cost to veterans and their families. I’ve made it a practice as an adult to say a verbal thank you to any veteran or current service person I meet, and I challenge you to do the same. Thank you to all who have served!

After the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, I headed to Ripley to recognize the Ripley High School girls fast-pitch softball team for winning the state championship for the first time in school history! They are only the second sports team from Ripley to ever win state. Congratulations to the team members and to Head Coach Kaleb Hoffman and Assistant Coaches Joe Sadler and Sheila Wilhelm for their accomplishment!

As we are welcoming new House members and gearing up for the legislative session, there are a lot of discussions happening about how we can make Oklahoma a greater place to live, work and raise a family. How can we make it easier to run a business here? How can we make Oklahoma a better place for our citizens? As my constituents, I want to hear what you think about these things. Contact my office at 405-557-7304 or john.talley@okhouse.gov.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve – I look forward to spending another session working hard for you!

Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.

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