By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Two Yukon lawmakers who represent parts of Yukon in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives have earned new terms.
District 60 State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon; and District 41 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Surrey Hills, were the only candidates to file for their respective state legislative seats during last week’s filing period.
State House members are elected to serve two-year terms. All 101 state House seats are up for election in 2020.
Rep. Baker, 51, has earned a third term representing House District 60.
The incumbent filed for re-election on April 8 and was the only candidate filing for the office during the three-day filing period at the State Capitol.
“It’s a great feeling not to have to campaign because I can just continue to do the work that I’ve been doing,” said Baker, who taught for 20 years before being elected to the state Legislature. “When you’re on the campaign trail, you must continually juggle working for what your constituents need while trying to get out and knock doors, meet people and make sure they understand your platform.”
Rep. Baker’s district includes parts of Caddo and Canadian counties.
“It’s humbling,” she said of not drawing an opponent. “I’m thankful for the confidence that people have placed in me to continue representing House District 60.”
During her first two terms in office, Rep. Baker said she’s most proud to have been part of a legislature that helped create economic stability in Oklahoma as the state overcame a $1.6 billion deficit to create a budget surplus.
But the HD-60 incumbent realizes the “next challenge” is coming because of a state revenue shortfall caused by COVID-19.
“We have tough times ahead and we’ve been through the tough times before,” Baker said. “We’re going to go through another session of difficult decisions we’re going to have to make.
“I will continue to work hard and do what’s necessary to make sure that our state is successful.”
While she was a freshman, the former Yukon teacher was appointed chair of the House Common Education Committee. She serves on the Judiciary Committee, Appropriations and Budget Committee and Common Education Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee.
‘AN HONOR TO SERVE’
Having represented House District 41 since first being elected in November 2018, Rep. Crosswhite Hader filed for re-election on Feb. 8 – the first day of the filing period.
When the filing period closed Friday, the incumbent knew she had earned the right to a second term representing HD-41. The district covers parts of Canadian, Garfield, Kingfisher, and Oklahoma counties.
“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of House District 41,” said Crosswhite Hader, who lives north of Yukon. “I am grateful last year that the Legislature, along with Governor Stitt, created a budget reserving funds for a rainy day. Well that rainy day is here.
“Now is the time to continue the conservative course that we have followed.”
Crosswhite Hader, 54, is pleased that citizens of HD-41 have allowed her to be their representative to maintain that plan.
While she will not have to campaign for re-election, the HD-41 incumbent said it really did help to “just stay in contact all along” with her constituents.
Crosswhite Hader serves on the Public Safety Committee, Agriculture Committee and the Transportation Appropriations and Budget Committee, and is vice chairman of the Administrative Rules Committee.
Hader’s husband, Canadian County Commission Chairman Marc Hader, shared his gratitude with supporters.
“For us, this is probably the first time in six to eight years that we haven’t had to be in ‘campaign mode’,” Hader said.
Another Yukon-area state House race that will be uncontested this year is District 47. Incumbent Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, was the only candidate to file last week for that seat. The district includes Canadian and Grady counties.
REP. STEAGALL FACE CHALLENGER
Meanwhile, a third Yukon member of the state House of Representatives will have to campaign for re-election in 2020.
State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, is being challenged in his bid for a second, two-year term representing House District 43. Steagall, 43, was first elected in 2018. (see related story at http://www.yukonprogress.com)
Yukon Independent Cassie Kinet, 35, will challenge the incumbent after filing for the HD-43 seat.
The race for the next term will be decided at the general election Nov. 3. HD-43 is entirely in Canadian County.
STATE SENATE CHALLENGE
Three candidates filed last week for an Oklahoma State Senate seat that covers part of the south Yukon area.
Oklahoma senators are elected to serve four-year terms. All odd-numbered state Senate seats are up for election in 2020.
Incumbent Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, has drawn two challengers for the Senate District 45 seat that includes parts of Canadian, Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.
Contenders for Rosino’s seat are Democrat Jennifer Wilkinson of Yukon and Republican Stevan Elvis Cunningham of Oklahoma City. Rosino, 57, is seeking a second term representing SD-45.
The incumbent and Cunningham, 51, will square off in the June 30 primary election. The primary winner will face Wilkinson, 42, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Meanwhile, another state senator who represents south Yukon will be re-elected in an uncontested race.
Incumbent Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, was the only candidate to file for the District 23 seat that includes parts of Canadian, Grady and Kingfisher counties. Paxton, 51, has earned a second term.