OPEA members took time from the business and fun of convention to honor legislators that helped the association at the Capitol during the 2011 legislative session. This year OPEA honored four Legislators of the Year, a special award for legislation benefiting state employees, and several honorable mention. Rep. Mike Jackson was honored as a 2011 Legislator of the Year.
Rep. Jackson was elected to represent House District 40 in 2004. Rep. Jackson has been a long-time friend of OPEA and state employees. In his first year, he authored the insurance blending bill that makes health insurance affordable for pre-Medicare retirees. This legislative session, Rep. Jackson met with Enid retirees several times and started the dialogue in the House to allow OPERS retirees to receive COLAs when the system reaches 80 percent. In addition to his work for retirees, he has fought tirelessly for the disabled and those who serve them at Northern Oklahoma Resource Center. Last session, he worked with Pauls Valley legislators against a proposed agency rule that would have diminished the rights of family members to determine the placement of their children. This session, he joined with Rep. Lisa Billy in negotiating legislation that will allow the families of clients and their state employee caregivers a seat at the table in determining the future of this important facility. Rep. Jackson understands the issues of the disabled and is often on the NORCE campus meeting with staff and visiting clients.
“Thank you for this award,” said Jackson. “I have been in office for eight years. One of the very first meetings I had was with OPEA members in my area. They made sure I was well aware of your issues and this was the reason one of my first bills was the insurance blending bills for retirees. I respect the job you do and continue to sing your praises any which way I can.”
Mon, October 10, 2011
by Trish Frazier