Miller endorses Steele for House Speaker

From CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

House Appropriations and Budget Chairman Ken Miller announced today his support for Representative Kris Steele to be Oklahoma’s next Speaker of the House.

“After having positive and substantive discussions over the weekend, I am pleased to announce my support of Representative Steele in his efforts to become the next Speaker of the House,” said Miller, an Edmond Republican.

“While I am honored to have been a part of the conversation concerning future House leadership, I do not plan to seek the position of speaker-designate in the fall and look forward to working closely with Rep. Steele to move our state forward,” he said.

With no other House Republicans expressing interest in the position, Steele is likely to become the next Speaker of the House.

“Representative Ken Miller is a valuable member and a talented legislator. I’m honored and pleased to have his support and look forward to working together with him to grow our economy and tackle the important issues facing our state,” said Steele, who is currently the speaker pro-tempore of the House.

“The dialogue that Representative Miller and I have had will move the Republican caucus forward more unified than ever and that’s a tribute to his leadership,” said Steele, a Shawnee Republican.

Speaker Chris Benge, who is term limited and cannot seek re-election, praised Steele and Miller as strong leaders and said House Republicans will be in capable hands.

“This has been a very positive process and it demonstrates that Republicans have the ability to govern while smoothly transitioning leadership,” said Benge, a Tulsa Republican.

“I look forward to working with both of these leaders of our caucus as we enter next session and continue the pro-growth policies that have improved Oklahoma so much over the past few years.”

Though Benge remains Speaker of the House through November of 2010, Republicans will formally vote on Benge’s replacement this October. The winner will receive the title of “Speaker-Designate” and stand before the entire House for election as Speaker in November of 2010.