Senate Review by Senator Roland Pederson
Mike Seals - August 3, 2020 10:55 pm
Sen. Roland Pederson
We have many Oklahoma agriculture legends that call northwestern Oklahoma home, and I’m happy to congratulate Dr. Barry Pollard for being added to this list as he was chosen to receive the 2020 Governor’s Outstanding Achievement in Agriculture Award. He’s also the newest inductee into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame.
I’m sure most of you know Barry and the passion he has for the agricultural industry. He’s a neurosurgeon by day and rancher by night, and somehow has enough time to own P&K Equipment while he’s at it. Barry founded the OSU Medical Cowboys program while serving on the OSU Foundation’s board of trustees, and he also created the Barry Pollard, M.D./P&K Equipment Inc. Professorship in Agribusiness to encourage students to pursue cross disciplinary learning. The impact he’s had on countless lives across the state is evident, and this is an extremely well-deserved award. Rep. Dell Kerbs and I presented Dr. Pollard his award and it was an honor to do so.
The Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur, recently announced that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture will receive $10 million of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funding for the Food Supply Stability Plan for Oklahoma meat processors. These grants can be used to add processing capacity, expand plants and update current facilities to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on our food supply chain by creating new meat processing capacity and ensuring continued meat availability.
This is great news for Oklahoma processors and will help to reduce the chance of meat shortages in our state. For more information about the grants or to apply, you can visit www.oda.state.ok.us or call Jason Harvey, market coordinator, at 405-606-1477.
An important issue we’ll be tackling during the 2021 legislative session that will begin next February is redrawing our state’s legislative districts for the next 10 years. This process happens once a decade after census data is collected. The Senate is committed to conducting an open, transparent and bipartisan redistricting process, and we also want the public to be involved.
The Senate recently announced some details of the redistricting process that will take place, including public hearings across the state, online public submissions of proposed maps and districts and public notice before the redistricting committee takes action.
The best thing the general public can do right now to help us with this process is participate in the 2020 census. The new legislative districts will reflect population changes that have occurred over the past 10 years, so it’s extremely important that every Oklahoman is counted accurately.
If you haven’t already filled out your census, you can do so today by visiting 2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020. The Census Bureau recently sent out a last postcard reminding those who haven’t responded to fill out the questionnaire, and they also sent an email reminder to non-responsive households. Next, they will begin in-person visits to houses that have not submitted the information. If you’d like to avoid a knock at your door by a Census Bureau employee, please complete the census as soon as possible.
Finally, my office is still assisting constituents with unemployment claims. If you’ve recently lost your job or are struggling to receive your unemployment benefits, please reach out. My assistant, Angie, has done a fabulous job for the people of District 19 and she is ready to help. You can reach us at [email protected] or by phone at 405-521-5630.