BY ARNOLD HAMILTON
One of the state Senate’s finest, Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, is calling it quits.
She announced her decision not to seek re-election as the tumultuous 2010 legislative session drew to a close.
“After much consideration, I have decided that I will not seek another term in the Oklahoma State Senate. My husband, Keith, served District 44 with tremendous distinction, but when he lost his fight with cancer in 2003, he still had unfinished work at the State Capitol. At the urging of constituents who then sent me to the Senate to complete the rest of Keith’s term, I continued that service. I felt extremely fortunate to be reelected to another full term in 2006 without opposition. However, this will be my last session.
“During these past seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to pass bills to better protect victims of domestic violence, improve access to breast and cervical cancer treatment, and I’ve authored legislation to keep teen drivers safer on the road through the graduated license program. I fought for ethics reform, senior nutrition funding and worked to prevent underage drinking.
“I’m proud of what I accomplished, and I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have helped me pass important legislation and who welcomed me into the Senate family from my first day here. It has been a more fulfilling experience than I could have ever imagined. At this juncture though, I feel I have accomplished what I set out to do. Now I feel it is time for me to begin a new journey and a new chapter in my life.
“I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with my sons, Kevin and Kurt, and my father. I want everyone at the State Capitol and in Senate District 44 to know how much this experience has meant to me and what an honor serving in the Oklahoma State Senate has been.”
She will be sorely missed.
– Arnold Hamilton is editor of The Oklahoma Observer