State Senators, spouses gather for work day in Ponca City

Beverly Bryant - May 3, 2019 12:18 pm

Senator Bill Coleman and Helen Coleman; Tara Tyler, Executive Director of the Survivor Resource Network; Maressa Treat, wife of Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat; Jennifer Haste and District 36 Senator John Haste, of Broken Arrow; met Friday morning at the Survivor Resource Network shelter to redecorate the children's playroom.

Members of the Senate Republican Caucus meet on occasion to work on team projects in their communities as a public service outreach. On Friday, a group met in Ponca City to redecorate a children’s playroom at the Survivor Resource Network shelter.

Senator Bill Coleman,  his wife Helen, Senator John Haste and his wife Jennifer, and Maressa Treat, wife of Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat visited with Executive Director Tara Tyler at  the shelter before starting work on the playroom.

Maressa Treat said members of  the caucus work with their spouses in their communities to be supportive and “get their hands dirty” working on projects for nonprofit organizations and programs.

The work locations are selected by the Senators’ spouses and reflect causes about which the couples have a passion. Helen Coleman selected the Survivor Resource Network.

Helen Coleman adds a vinyl mural to the playroom wall.

“Local spouses coordinate the work project and we commit to being here in small groups to raise awareness of these local nonprofits,” Treat said. “We try to have our work days before an awareness month for the organization so we can circle back to call more attention to their cause.  This allows us to be side-by-side with the organization and allows the nonprofit to talk about funding, if the programs are working, and what they are bringing to the community.”

Treat said the spouses group recently did a project in Tulsa that focused on child abuse prevention, and another in Oklahoma City for the Homeless Alliance. The Ponca City project is the  third hands-on work project.

“It’s good for the Senators to get out of the building and connect with their spouses and community on another level,” Treat said. “It also allows the Pro Tem to get out into other areas of the state. And it lets the local Senate member to show off the community.”

This couples group is new with Senator Treat’s term as Pro Tem, his wife said.

Senators Bill Coleman and John Haste assemble a storage bench for the playroom. Bins to hold toys will fit into the cubbies.

“It highlights family, marriage and public service,” she said. “It is a family sacrifice and highlights what we can all do in our communities. It impacts the state, good and bad, and lets the politicians get out to the real people, who care about what’s going on.”

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat was unable to attend  the work day because of legislative conflicts, she said. The work projects are tentatively scheduled roughly every other month, as they are scheduled by the local spouses.

“We want to address what the local spouse has a heart for,” Treat said. “We want the spouse to share and strengthen their connection and relationship with their cause.”

She said there are four to 10 couples who consistently participate in the work projects.



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