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November 25, 2013

State Democratic leader announces last term

NORMAN — Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage announced that he will not seek another term in the Oklahoma State Senate.

“It’s a definite loss for the state. He’s a bright, thoughtful guy who put the state’s best interests at heart,” said Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman.

The Claremore Democrat will not term limit out until 2018, but Burrage said in a release issued Monday that it’s time to focus more attention on his family and his legal career.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my friends and neighbors in Rogers and Mayes counties and be their voice in the state Senate,” Burrage said. “Serving in the Senate has been both challenging and rewarding, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity given to me. But at this point in my life, I feel I need to turn my time and attention more fully to family and my law practice.”

The minority leader is one of only 12 Democrats left in the 48-member Senate. Burrage has served in the state Senate since 2006, when he won the seat that had been held by term-limited Democrat Stratton Taylor.

Burrage went unchallenged in his re-election bid for the seat in 2010. In November 2011, he was elected as Democratic leader after serving as assistant Democratic leader for the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature.

The minority leader is selected by the minority party in the senate. Sparks said being in the minority has not kept Burrage or other Democrats from being effective.

“On an individual basis, individual Democrats are every bit as effective and influential as individual Republicans,” Sparks said. “As a group, in this last legislative session, we were as productive as any I’ve been a member of. You have to play the cards that are dealt (to) you, and you go from there.”

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