When I was campaigning for state Senate in 2006, one of the things I pledged to do was make English the official language of Oklahoma. I had grown tired of having to "Press 1 for English" when I contacted my government. As I knocked doors on the campaign trail, it was very obvious that the voters of Senate District 24 felt the same.
A prior court decision had ruled that the legislature could not merely pass a law making English our official language of Oklahoma. Rather, the Oklahoma Constitution would have to be amended by a vote of the people. Prior legislators had tried to make English our official language, only to be defeated by special interest groups, the lobbyist they hire, and the legislators they own.
It was time for the people's voice to be heard.
My first year I introduced the measure and ignited a media frenzy. The bill didn't go anywhere, but it stirred a lot of controversy and got the idea out there. My second year, the measure to put it on the ballot failed by one vote. My third year, the fight was on! Anti-English groups were out in force, and I even received a threatening letter from the Obama Administration saying that they would punish Oklahoma if we went forward.
I am happy to say that we won the day, and I am proud to be the Senator who authored State Question 751 --to let you decide whether all official actions of the State of Oklahoma shall be conducted in English. So please join me in sending a message to the forces of political correctness that Oklahoma chooses English as our official language. Let's stop having to press 1 for English. On election day, PRESS SYKES FOR ENGLISH!
the foundation of society. I am fortunate to have been married for 15 years to the love of my life and high school sweetheart Holley. The Lord has blessed us with two wonderful children. In addition to being a pro-life legislator, one of the things I have been committed to at the state Senate is to keep families safe.
In November 2006, the people of Oklahoma went to the voting booth and made a historical decision. The Democrat party was no longer in complete control of the Oklahoma State Senate. As a result, several pieces of good legislation to keep families safe have been passed. Previously, the Senate was the place where good legislation went to die. Now, it is a place where good ideas can thrive. One example is Jessica's Law.
House Bill 1816 (2007 Session) was modeled after Florida legislation commonly referred to as "Jessica's Law" that has already been enacted in states across the nation. The law was named after Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped and murdered by a registered sex offender who had been living near her. Jessica's Law had been prominently featured on the O'Reilly Factor, displaying a map of states that had not enacted it. Jessica's Law increased the penalty for sex offenses against children under the age of 12 to a minimum sentence of 25 years.
Jessica's Law passed the Oklahoma House overwhelmingly in 2006 but died in the Senate when the Democrat committee chairman would not hear it. In the 2007 session, matters were different. After Jessica's Law passed the House, it was assigned to the Senate committee that I was chairing at the time, the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. When I placed HB 1816 on the agenda, I personally walked across the rotunda to let the House Author know it was getting a hearing this year and that Oklahoma was getting off Bill O'Reilly's map. To further support this legislation, I became a Senate co-author. HB 1816 passed the Senate and was signed into law on June 5, 2007.
Passing Jessica's Law in Oklahoma was long overdue and shows a commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, our children and grandchildren. A commitment that I am glad to say I have made and will continue to keep.