By Conrad Dudderar
A constitutional conservative who strives to protect his constituents’ liberties, State Rep. Jay Steagall already is “full-steam ahead” on his re-election campaign as he seeks a second term.
Steagall, R-Yukon, has represented House District 43 since first being elected by a 68 percent margin to fill the seat on Nov. 6, 2018. The U.S. Air Force veteran succeeded John Paul Jordan, who decided not to seek another term.
State House members are elected to serve two-year terms, and Steagall recently announced plans to file in April to continue his service.
“It has been an honor to serve the folks in Yukon and District 43,”
Steagall said. “My wife Kim and I love our community. For us, this is another way to serve. After 23 years in the military, we wanted to continue our service to the public and this is a good way for us to do that.
“It means a lot to have the trust of the folks around us in the community, to give them representation at the State Capitol.”
The first-term lawmaker believes he’s brought a “unique perspective to the table” in state government through his military service background and experience as a small business owner.
It’s that perspective that Steagall draws upon whenever casting a vote on the House floor to ensure he’s keeping his oath of office.
He’s developed his own litmus test over the past year.
“Before I push the red or green button on my desk to cast my vote, I ask myself, ‘Does this bill protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?’ For me, it’s easy. If it does, I hit the green button. If it doesn’t, I hit the red button.”
With the skill set Steagall brought to the table upon taking office, the freshman legislator was immediately appointed to leadership roles – assistant floor leader and House chair of the Veterans Caucus.
Oklahoma House District 43 encompasses much – but not all – of Yukon. Boundaries are generally from State Highway 66 south to S.W. 29th between Garth Brooks Boulevard/Cemetery Road and Sara Road and Council Road.
‘PROTECTING OUR LIBERTIES’
During his first year representing House District 43, Steagall said he jumped on as an author of the Constitutional Carry bill to “make sure we’re protecting our liberties and constitutionally protected rights.”
He will continue to protect those rights and liberties provided under the U.S. Constitution.
Rep. Steagall had the second-highest Liberty Index score in the state House of Representatives and ranked high on the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee’s Conservative Index.
The freshman legislator also has been recognized as one of the most liberty-protecting representatives in the Oklahoma House.
Another piece of a legislation he’s been working on is an accountability bill – H.B. 2079 – that will be heard this year in the state Senate.
“I’m running that to help our state auditor conduct performance audits on state agencies,” Steagall said. “Last year when we were knocking on doors, the thing that resonated the most with the residents in our area was government accountability.
“We want to make sure our state agencies are spending the money wisely that we allocate to them.”
Last fall, Steagall held an interim study to examine the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to help significantly improve the quality of life for veterans, athletes and other Oklahomans.
“The uses for hyperbaric (chambers) are numerous and we need to explore those options,” he said. “If we can get some language put together for a bill, I’ve got a vehicle to utilize that will help us get some of that through.”
The filing period for state offices is April 6-8. The primary is June 30, runoff is Aug. 25 and general election Nov. 3.
Although the filing period is still more than two months away, the incumbent already has gotten a head-start on the campaign. He embraces the opportunity to meet with voters in coming months to discuss issues important to them.
Does Rep. Steagall embrace the challenge of having to campaign again so soon?
“Our Founding Fathers were very smart in their design of what we set up as our representation,” he said. “Even though it seems like it’s a pain to run for office every two years – or for people to go out and vote for their representatives every two years – it’s really a good design.
“It gives our voters the greatest opportunity to keep our elected officials in check. Being the constitutional conservative that I am, I like that idea a lot. I think it’s important.”
Joining Steagall in last year’s freshman class was District 60 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader, R-Yukon, who also recently announced her re-election bid.
Rep. Steagall shared his gratitude to three more experienced state legislators who represent this area – District 22 Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Yukon, District 60 Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, and District 23 Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle.
“They’ve been really good about helping us learn the ropes; who to talk to about certain subject matters and to find the best resources,” Steagall said. “It would be very difficult to learn the ropes on your own. We’re fortunate in Canadian County to have some senior members and new blood in the mix as well.”
IT’S ‘THEIR OFFICE’
As he seeks a second term representing Yukon and House District 43, Steagall said he wants his constituents to know that it is “their office” that he has at the State Capitol.
“I’m just there occupying it, doing their work,” Steagall said.
Local lawmakers are fortunate to have such an active constituent base so willing to provide input, he noted.
“I’ve got folks that I call back home to help address certain issues and to see how certain bills might affect us in the Yukon area. The mayor (Mike McEachern) and I have been in contact about different issues,” Steagall said.
“We’ve got constituents back home who are very active that reach out quite often, and then there’s the casual talks with folks at the coffee shop and our Friday morning chamber coffees.”
Rep. Steagall has a new office at the State Capitol – 453.1. He encouraged people to visit him there or call 577-7352.