By Published: 07-Jan-2011
Patrick B. McGuigan
Oklahoma Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt today praised Attorney General Drew Edmondson for what he characterized as an “outstanding” transition process.
During a press conference announcing his intention to file, on behalf of the state of Oklahoma, a lawsuit challenging the controversial federal health care legislation, Pruitt addressed the transition that began on November 2.
In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Pruitt said he had “has had several meetings with General Edmondson.” Pruitt later expanded on his comments, saying, “The transition has been outstanding. General Edmondson has been a consummate professional throughout this entire process.”
Pruitt said he has had two attorneys “on the ground” at the attorney general’s office since December 1. Pruitt thanked Edmondson for “the leadership, courtesy, and professionalism extended to me and my team. It has been extraordinary.” Pruitt added he had met with both Edmondson and his wife, Linda, “several times” since the election and appreciated their courtesies.
Pruitt’s transition staff has worked from the law library on the first floor of the attorney general’s office, although he has an office elsewhere. Anticipating his formal start of duties next week, Pruitt had named a few key staff members in addition to his transition coordinator, Mike Hunter. However, he has not indicated if he will seek changes in the staffing of the office.
Today, Pruitt said he will be looking at the “structure and efficiency” of the office to see if shifts should be made. In response to a question at today’s press conference, Pruitt said he has “not made a decision” concerning the future of litigation Edmondson has pursued against elements of the poultry industry. Pruitt noted that there is “not a decision to be made” at this point, as litigants await an anticipated ruling from the trial judge. He did observe that the state has “lost at every turn” thus far in the case.
Pruitt told reporters two attorneys now part of the staff, Sandy Rinehart and Neal Leader, will spearhead Oklahoma’s challenge to the federal health care law’s mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance.
Pruitt, elected with an overwhelming margin on November 2, will be only the second Republican to serve as attorney general of Oklahoma. G.T. Blankenship was the first.
Pruitt will take the oath office after 11 a.m. but before noon on Monday, January 10, as a result of the historic Republican sweep of statewide elective office contested in the November election.