State Chamber senior VP steps down

The president of The State Chamber of Oklahoma announced Wednesday (July 6) that the organization’s long-time senior vice president of government affairs, Ronn Cupp, is stepping down effective the end of this month.

Cupp has been a key member of The State Chamber’s government affairs operations for nearly 30 years, and has served as the head of the Chamber’s lobby team since 1997.

“Ronn has dedicated his life’s work to creating the best business climate possible in Oklahoma. His tireless dedication as the Oklahoma business community’s legislative advocate both in Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. will continue to have an impact long after his retirement,” said State Chamber President Fred Morgan.

Cupp began his career at The State Chamber on January 1, 1982, when he became the Chamber’s first full-time government affairs director. Cupp authored The State Chamber’s first detailed legislative agenda in the mid-1980s and created its first legislative committee and first standing issue committees during that time. 

Over the years, he was instrumental in passing many key business bills at the Capitol, including the Quality Jobs Act, Right-To-Work, and several other laws dealing with taxation, economic development and transportation. 

More recently, Cupp played a key role in the passage of the Oklahoma Quick Action Closing Fund, one of Gov. Mary Fallin’s legislative priorities.

“The State Chamber has been my life for nearly 30 years, and I’m proud of what I have been able to contribute, along with many others, toward its growth and success,” said Cupp. “I have made many friends, both in and out of the government affairs arena, over the past three decades and I plan on continuing those relationships.”

Cupp is also acknowledged at the Capitol and around the state as an expert on water development.  He ran two water associations, Oklahoma Water, Inc.; and The Water Development Foundation of Oklahoma, headed by the late Robert S. Kerr, Jr., in the 1970s and co-authored a book on Kerr’s life and contributions to water development, titled, Mr. Water, with noted Oklahoma historian Bob Burke in 2006. 

“I have no doubt that Fred Morgan will continue to build on what has been created at The State Chamber and take the organization to even greater heights,” said Cupp. “Although this is being billed as my retirement, it’s really just a re-alignment of priorities.  Yes, I am retiring from the Chamber, but I am not retiring from my work.”

Cupp intends to continue to work on water and taxation issues on a contract basis with The State Chamber, and will also seek additional government affairs contracts. “I want to continue to work toward making this great state of ours the best place in the nation for doing business,” he said.

“I want to thank Ronn for his dedicated service to The State Chamber of Oklahoma for 30 years,” said State Chamber Chairman Bill Burgess. “He has a wealth of institutional knowledge that we will continue to draw upon as we work to make Oklahoma the best state in the nation to do business.”

In 2008, Cupp was presented the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives Hall of Fame Award in “recognition of outstanding service and leadership to Chambers of Commerce.”

Cupp also serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Oklahoma Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 42 years and are OSU graduates and rabid Cowboys fans. They are active members of The Village Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and Sunday School department director.  They have two children, Angela Kersh, a registered nurse, Edmond; and Dr. Dustin Cupp, Cushing, who have given them seven grandchildren.