Senate Review by Senator Roland Pederson
Oklahoma Senate - April 4, 2022 6:46 pm
Sen. Roland Pederson
One of my favorite things during session each year is seeing all of the groups and industries that set up booths for their advocacy groups at the Capitol. The last two legislative sessions have been much quieter than usual due to COVID-19 precautions that limited visitors to the building to keep exposure and transmission of the virus at a minimum.
With the pandemic in a much better place and low cases across the state, we’ve rolled back these restrictions this year and are back in full force with visitors and advocacy days. Last week was Aero Day at the Capitol, and it was a privilege to welcome so many Oklahomans involved with this industry to share the growth and job opportunities in this field.
Aerospace and aviation is the second largest industry in the state behind energy, so it’s important that we are producing enough graduates to go into this field and fill the available jobs. Defense industry leaders, military, pilots, and engineers were on hand to show the teachers and students in attendance the amazing job opportunities in the industry.
There are currently 120,000 Oklahomans employed in this field, and the number of available jobs continue to grow year after year. While a lot of people choose to get a four-year degree, many career paths within aerospace and aviation only require a certificate in programs that can be completed at one of the many Oklahoma CareerTech campuses, including the Northwest Technology Center in Alva and Fairview; Autry Technology Center in Enid; Central Technology Center in Drumright; Chisholm Trail Technology Center in Omega; and Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City. Many of these CareerTech certifications can be done in as little as six to 18 months. With an average salary of about $73,000 for those working in this field, the sky is the limit, and the programs needed to excel in this career are readily available, especially with the Vance Airforce Base in the heart of our district.
As for the Legislature, we’ll continue to work in our committees over the next two weeks, vetting bills that were passed out of the opposite chamber. We are diligently working through the measures sent to us by our colleagues in the House of Representatives. Budget work is also ongoing. While the budget is crafted year-round, now is the time we really roll up our sleeves and get to work. I’m a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and vice chair of the Natural Resources and Regulatory Services Appropriations Subcommittee, so I’m heavily involved in the appropriations process, especially as it pertains to the 13 state agencies and commissions that fall under the purview of the Natural Resources Subcommittee. I’ll keep you updated as we progress on the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
I’ve had the privilege of welcoming four students from across District 19 as pages here at the Capitol over the last several weeks. Colton Tripp, junior at Blackwell High School; Ava Voth, junior at Kremlin Hillsdale High School; Kamber Riffel, senior at Oklahoma Bible Academy; and Stefinee Groves, junior at Kremlin-Hillsdale High School, have all done a tremendous job during their page week. This program allows our students to get a more in-depth review of the legislative process and is a great learning experience.
Activities have been in full swing across the district, and the Eggs and Issues meeting in Blackwell and Town Hall in Medford were both well-attended. It’s always great to see so many folks actively involved in their state government.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state Senator. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything I can help you with. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or via email at [email protected]