By Conrad Dudderar
A new state senator representing Yukon will be sworn into office about six weeks before his final term ends as a Canadian County commissioner.
Yukon’s Jack Stewart is senator-elect for Oklahoma Senate District 18, which will officially move from eastern Oklahoma after the 2022 election cycle.
Due to legislative redistricting, new state Senate and House districts will go into effect this November following the general election.
Stewart defeated Yukon’s Hunter Zearley in the June 28th Republican primary election, 4,160-3,431.
Since Stewart and Zearley were the only candidates to file, Stewart has been elected to a four-year term representing the “new” Senate District 18.
The district’s revised boundaries will include a significant part of the Yukon area and Oklahoma City in eastern Canadian County and Bethany and Woodlawn Park in western Oklahoma County.
Sen.-elect Stewart is serving the final year of his third, four-year term as Canadian County’s District 3 commissioner. He’s been in office since April 2010.
Commissioner Stewart’s current term expires Dec. 31, 2022, but he is due to receive the oath of office as District 18 state senator in mid-November.
Stewart met recently with Oklahoma Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
The swearing-in ceremony for state senators is planned Wednesday, Nov. 16 (“Statehood Day”) in the Senate Chambers – eight days after the Nov. 8th general election.
So, Stewart will have to resign his county commissioner seat 1-1/2 months early to join the Oklahoma State Senate.
“I’m going to resign either the day of or day before the swearing-in (as District 18 senator),” he said.
This would create a vacancy on the three-member Canadian County Commission.
The next full four-year term for county officers begins Jan. 1, 2023.
‘HIT THE GROUND RUNNING’
El Reno’s Tracey Rider is Canadian County’s District 3 commissioner-elect.
An El Reno City Council member, she narrowly defeated Yukon’s Robert Merrick in the June 28th Republican primary, 2,488-2,405.
Since no other candidate filed, Rider earned the next term as District 3 commissioner.
The lifelong Canadian County resident is a human resources/accounting manager for a Yukon business.
It is not yet known whether Rider will take the oath of office early upon Stewart’s resignation or wait until other Canadian County elected officials are sworn in for the next term in early January.
“There’s not really been a precedent for this,” Stewart explained. “I talked to (Assistant District Attorney) Tommy Humphries, who said Tracey – now that she has won and it’s ‘totally locked in’ – can be sworn in as soon as I resign.
“I thought we were going to have to have a six-week wait. … Tracey could ‘swear in’ as commissioner early if she wants to. I told her and she’s thinking about it – whether it’s immediately or a week in between.”
Stewart will help with the transition process later this year and into early 2023 as Rider assumes the role of Canadian County’s new District 3 commissioner.
“Tracey will ‘hit the ground running’,” he said.
Two-thirds of the Canadian County Commission will be new in 2023. Yukon’s Tom Manske will become District 1 commissioner after defeating incumbent Marc Hader in the Republican primary.
Rider and Manske will join District 2 Commissioner Dave Anderson, who has served since January 2009.
There will be about five “freshman” senators taking office this November in the 48-member State Senate.
Sen.-elect Stewart looks forward to being a strong conversative voice representing Yukon and surrounding areas.
A registered professional engineer for more than 40 years, Stewart previously worked 30-plus years for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Stewart will succeed current District 18 Sen. Kim David (R-Porter), who could not seek another term due to term limits. David has been in office since Nov. 17, 2010.
The Oklahoma State Election Board is conducting the 2022 elections according to the new district lines.
District 18 has covered parts of Cherokee, Mayes, Muskogee, Tulsa, and Wagoner counties.
In about four months, it will cover nearly all of Yukon city limits.