It’s always interesting after an election to take stock of the new members who are joining the legislature. This year produced a relatively small freshman class. In the 48-member Senate, there will be eight new senators, and in the 101-member House, there will be 16 new representatives. The genius of representative government is that we select people from within our communities who bring with them their experiences, biases, strengths, and weaknesses. When things are working right most every point of view gets represented. We’ll watch to see how these new legislators use their opportunity to serve their districts and the people of Oklahoma.
The new Senators are:
- TODD GALLIHORE, R-Bristow, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and retired U.S. Probation Officer. He is currently a leadership teacher at Kellyville High School and has previously served on the Kellyville Public Schools Board of Education.
- JACK STEWART, R-Yukon, currently finishing his third term as Canadian County Commissioner. Stewart worked as a civil engineer for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for 31 years and in the private sector before serving as Canadian County Commissioner.
- TOM WOODS, R-Westville, who operates a feed store and trucking company and has a commercial cow/calf operation.
- ALLY SEIFRIED, R-Claremore, played basketball on the Rogers State University women’s basketball team while earning a degree in political science. She has worked as executive assistant for former Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, as a development specialist for SafeNet Services, a program to help victims of domestic violence and for Mullerhaus Legacy, a Tulsa company that preserves family and business legacies.
- KRISTEN THOMPSON, R-Edmond, who works with her husband in the construction and hospitality industries. The couple owns several restaurants, and a construction company. She has a degree from OU in communication sciences and disorders.
- GRANT GREEN, R-Wellston, a rancher who formerly owned a propane company that he sold in 2020.
- DANA PRIETO, R-Tulsa, who owned a carpet and tile floor cleaning company in New York until he sold it in 1991 and moved to Oklahoma to attend Rhema Bible College. In Oklahoma, he owns and operates Everlasting Enterprises, Inc., an online marketing company for small businesses.
- JERRY ALVORD, R-Wilson, who is completing his second term as Carter County Commissioner and runs a cow/calf operation.
The new Representatives are:
- JOHN KANE, R-Bartlesville, who began his career in banking then started a cattle-ranching operation with his father which he has owned for 35 years and now operates with his son.
- CHRIS BANNING, R-Bixby, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran and CEO of Banning Investment Group.
- JOSH CANTRELL, R-Kingston, who is currently a County Commissioner for Marshall County. He worked in the construction industry throughout the United States and in foreign countries for several years after graduating from East Central University. He and his wife own a sign and design company in Kingston.
- NICK ARCHER, R-Elk City, who is currently mayor of Elk City. He has a degree in architecture from OU and is employed as the Director of Engineering at Great Plains Analytical Services. In addition, he owns and operates a small business, HFJ Outdoors, a licensed firearms dealer.
- ARTURO ALONZO, D-OKC, who is a first generation Mexican American reared under difficult circumstances in south Oklahoma City by parents who were undocumented. He is currently a senior preparing to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering.
- CODY MAYNARD, R-Durant, is a certified public accountant who began his accounting career in 2009 with Hendrick Healthcare System’s accounting department. He is now Business Administrator for the system’s eleven campuses and affiliated outreach operations that operate in partnership with Victory Life Church.
- COLLIN DUEL, R-Guthrie, who enlisted in the Army at age 19 and became an Army Ranger. He had four combat deployments to Afghanistan where he participated in raids, forcible entry operations and assault missions. He was honorably discharged in 2013 as a sergeant. He is a graduate of OU and OU Law School and currently practices law in Guthrie.
- JOHN GEORGE, R-Newalla, who is a career law enforcement officer and president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police since 2012. He served with the Oklahoma City Police Department since 1991 as a patrol officer, narcotics officer, and detective.
- NEIL HAYS, R-Checotah, who is the son of a high school coach and principal and went to college on a baseball scholarship. He returned to coach and teach history in Muskogee before leaving teaching to start his own insurance agency.
- JARED DECK, D-Norman, who is a musician, business owner and work-at-home dad. He grew up in western Oklahoma and formerly owned cell phone stores and was a partner in an independent insurance company. He is a member of Local 375-703 American Federation of Musicians and serves on boards for several organizations, including Variety Care, Moore Norman Technology Center, ACLU of Oklahoma and SWOSU Alumni Association. He is also a Sooner Rotary Satellite Club member.
- ANNIE MENZ, D-Norman, who was raised by an Army veteran father and an immigrant mother. At age 17, she enlisted in the United States Navy. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from Oklahoma City Community College and currently studies part-time at the University of Oklahoma. She most recently worked full-time for six years as an Executive Assistant for Sen. Michael Brooks, D-OKC. Her experience includes three years with non-profit organizations that provide behavioral care, immunizations, and prescription drugs to low-income communities.
- CLAY STAIRES, R-Skiatook, played football at OU where he earned a degree in education. He started his teaching and coaching career at Tulsa Memorial High School before moving to Kansas City where he was named the “Missouri State Track Coach of the Year” for three consecutive years. After 15 years of teaching, he returned to Oklahoma where he and his wife, Lisa, took over Shepherd’s Fold Ranch, a Christian Summer Camp, and started a leadership training school to mentor college students. He also served on the Avant School Board, and in the Green Country Ministers Alliance. He currently owns a business consulting firm.
- SUZANNE SCHREIBER, D-Tulsa, who grew up in New Mexico but moved to Tulsa to attend the University of Tulsa where she received her undergraduate and law degrees. She practiced law for several years in Tulsa and clerked for U.S. District Judge Terry Kern, Northern District of Oklahoma, and for U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanie Seymore. She served eight years on the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education and currently works for the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa.
- AMANDA SWOPE, D-Tulsa, who is a native Tulsan, a descendant of the Osage Nation and a citizen of the Muscogee Nation. She began her career in nonprofit management as a development director, fundraising and grant writing for social services organizations Tulsa CARES and Iron Gate. After receiving her Master of Public Administration from OU, she began working for the Muscogee Nation as a Self-Governance Analyst negotiating federal compacts and identifying areas of sovereignty expansion. Today, she is the Tribal Juvenile Justice Program Director committed to reimagining the future of justice in Oklahoma and Indian Country.
- ELLYN HEFNER, D-OKC, is a financial advisor at Mass Mutual with a focus on serving families with disabilities and special needs. Her youngest son was born with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which led her to become a champion for disability rights in Oklahoma. She worked with the State Treasurer and Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, on an income-tax deduction for Oklahomans who contribute to OKSTABLE accounts. She rows with The River Sirens on The RIVERSPORT Corporate Rowing League.
- MARK TEDFORD, R-Tulsa, who has worked in the insurance business with Tedford Insurance Agency in Jenks since 1992. He received his MBA from the University of Tulsa and has been involved in numerous volunteer organizations. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Advisors on the Soldier’s Wish Foundation and on the Board of Advisors at Home Church. Formerly, he’s served on the Board of the Tulsa Economic Development Council, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce Small Business Connect, and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce.