NORMAN — State Rep. Scott Martin on Monday was named chairman of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee for the 54th Legislature which begins in February.
Incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon tapped Martin, R-Norman, on Monday during his first round of appointments to key leadership posts, according to a news release from Shannon's office.
Martin currently serves as the vice-chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee. He was first elected to the District 46 post in 2006 and was re-elected in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
“Chairing the Budget Committee is probably one of the toughest jobs in the House, but I’m up to the task,” Martin said. “You don’t make a lot of friends when you have to tell people ‘no’, but taking care of our tax dollars means we have to say ‘no’ to a lot of spending items.
“Considering all the uncertainty we are seeing with the federal budget, this could prove to be a difficult year for our budget here in Oklahoma,” he said. “I’m honored to have this position, and I will work hard every day to watch over our tax dollars.”
OU President David L. Boren had high praise for Martin.
“The selection of Scott Martin to be chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee is great news for Norman and the University of Oklahoma. He has a deep understanding of the connection between high standards in higher education, including the growth of university research, and the building of the state’s economic future,” Boren said. “His selection is good news not only for Norman but the entire state.”
Former State Rep. Bill Nations would have been Speaker Pro-Tem had the Democrats held the house. He congratulated Martin, noting he may have achieved the highest ranking of any House member from Cleveland County.
“The chair of A&B is the second most powerful position in the state House,” Nations said. “He is going to be in demand like you cannot believe. He has certainly earned it.
Nations said it’s not an easy path for legislators from suburban districts to move up the House leadership ladder.
Martin is a former assistant to the city manager in Norman and served as project manager and public works director for the town of Noble. He is a graduate of OU and works off-session at Republic Bank. His appointment was praised in Norman where Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Woods offered his congratulations.
“I want to congratulate Chairman Martin on his selection as Chair of Appropriations and Budget,” Woods said on the chamber’s website. “The AB committee handles all budgetary issues for the legislature and Chairman Martin will be in a unique and powerful position to impact the funding priorities of the legislature in the coming years.
“As the third largest city in Oklahoma, the voice of Norman is rightly amplified by the selection of Representative Martin,” Woods said on the website.
“I believe Martin will be a worthy advocate for all Oklahoma taxpayers and for the equality of Norman when it comes to distribution and allocation of state resources,” Woods said. “On behalf of all Norman residents, I congratulate Chairman Martin and appreciate Speaker-Elect Shannon on his thoughtful selection.”
State Rep. Aaron Stiles, whose district 45 abuts Martin’s said Speaker Shannnon could not have made a better choice. “Rep. Martin’s experience in private banking will pay dividends to the people of Oklahoma,” said Stiles, R-Norman.
State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, said there were some surprises in the leadership announcements but Martin’s wasn’t one of them.
“I’m very excited and I think it’s great for Norman to have somebody on A&B,” Virgin said. “They control all the state appropriations and Norman has OU and a number of state agencies.”
She said Martin has worked hard and deserves the position.
“Scott deserves it. He’s always a fair person and he will do a great job.
In addition to tapping Martin incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, also made these appointments:
· Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan, as majority leaders to help lead the House.
· Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, as majority floor leader.
· Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, as majority whip.
Shannon said he will be announcing other leadership positions in the coming weeks, including the list of committee chairmen and vice-chairmen.
“We haven’t finalized every position yet, but I feel very confident we have a strong and talented group of leaders from throughout the Caucus,” Shannon said. “Things feel really good right now. Our Caucus is energized and unified, and I am very optimistic about what we can accomplish this session.”