Sean Burrage to replace Andrew Rice as Senate Democratic Leader

Sean Burrage of Claremore has been elected floor leader for Democrats in the Oklahoma state Senate. Burrage was chosen over state Sen. Jim Wilson of Tahlequah in a minority caucus election necessitated by the decision of Andrew Rice of Oklahoma City to resign on January 15.

Burrage is one of 1,276 American legislators (as of October 24) who have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Sen. Burrage said, “I believe we must always be focused on what’s good for our state — not what’s going to score the most political points. We want a stronger economy and top-paying jobs for our citizens. We want our children to have the best educational opportunities possible and we want to be safe when we are at school, work or at home. We want roads and bridges that are modern and safe as well.

“When we can agree on how to achieve those things, then those are programs we’ll support. But if proposed legislation comes at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens, then we’ll be fighting to give those individuals a voice in the Senate.”

An attorney, in 2010 Burrage won his second term in the Legislature. He serves on the Appropriations Committee, Standing Committees on Energy and Transportation, and is the vice-chairman of Health and Human Services. He has served on the select committee on pension reform, and was vice-chairman of this year’s redistricting committee.

Burrage supported the Senate redistricting plan that Wilson has challenged in state courts this year. When the plan was unveiled during the legislative session, Sen. Burrage commented, “It has been a tough and intense process and I commend people on both sides of the aisle for improving the bill.”  
Wilson’s critique of the reapportionment has thus far been rebuffed in the courts. 

After his election, Burrage promised to work “on behalf of all our citizens in the coming session.”

Republican Governor Mary Fallin congratulated Minority Leader-elect Burrage, saying, “I look forward to working with him to build bipartisan consensus on policies that will create jobs, make government more efficient and accountable, and continue to move Oklahoma forward.  Senator Burrage is a responsible, conscientious and effective lawmaker and I know he is more than up to the task.”

Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman of Sapulpa offered “heartfelt congratulations to my friend Senator Burrage on his election as the next Minority Leader in the Oklahoma State Senate. I have had the privilege of working with Sean for several years and have seen first hand his thoughtfulness and temperament. Though we may not agree on every issue, I believe Senator Burrage to be a man of integrity who will facilitate a healthy and honest public debate as the Senate works to move Oklahoma forward.”