By Traci Chapman
They are interesting and unique – in fact, believed to be the only of their kind – decorative items for a state senator’s office, but they’re an important part of who Paul Rosino was and who he remains today.
“I guess not a lot of people keep a pair of shoes and framed pair of pants in their office, but they’re a big deal for me,” the senator said last week. “They’re a constant reminder of why I decided to do this in the first place and the promise I made to the people who became my constituents – I never want to forget why I’m up at the capitol,” he said.
The garments – pants and shoes well maintained but worn with use – have a special place of importance for now Sen. Paul Rosino, who wore them as he campaigned for the chance to represent Oklahoma Senate District 45. In fact, the items became something more for the former U.S Navy master chief and small-business man; as time went on, he religiously made sure those were what he wore as he traveled across the district knocking on doors as the election neared.
“It became a superstitious kind of thing for me – like an athlete who has a particular item of clothing or practice they do before a game,” Rosino said. “It just was something like seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”
The items’ meaning – like a poem written for the new senator by his sister Carolann Anderson to commemorate his November 2017 swearing in, framed and hanging nearby – have only increased in value since that day nearly two years ago, when Rosino’s life completely changed to a new chapter those who know and work with him said he’s entered into with enthusiasm, dedication and determination.
But, the shoes and pants, his sister’s words, are never far from his mind, the senator said.
Whether the items contributed to his successful bid for the unfinished senate term of Kyle Loveless couldn’t be gauged, but what is known is that Rosino did win and in a pretty substantial way, first fighting off six other Republican hopefuls before capturing more than 56 percent of the vote in a 2017 special election in which he and Democrat Steven Vincent vied for the seat.
Since that time, Rosino said it’s been a primary goal to not only work for a better future for his district – which includes Mustang, a small part of Yukon, a large swath of southwest Oklahoma City and Valley Brook – but to provide someone who truly represents his constituents’ interests.
It’s a job he takes seriously.
“Of the proudest accomplishments I’ve had are the pieces of legislation I’ve worked with constituents to move forward and get signed into law,” Rosino said. “That’s what really counts, in the end – listening to the people I represent and helping to make their lives better.”
As a first time politician Rosino said he believed his outlook might be different from some others who have served in an Oklahoma legislature that at times has been so contentious it was difficult to move forward. The senator served for 25 in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer, the Navy’s highest enlisted rank; he then worked for almost a decade as a civilian in Strategic Communications Wing ONE at Tinker Air Force Base.
Rosino then turned his sights to the private sector, earning first Realtor’s, then broker’s, licenses and in 2009 opening Rosino Realty.
For more than three decades, his wife Kathy has been by his side; the couple have two grown children and three grandchildren, one of whom is autistic and who has been a constant source of inspiration for the senator, he said. He speaks often of the challenges faced by his family – and so many others like them – who deal with special needs issues throughout their lifetimes.
In fact, Rosino said that was one reason he was so pleased to serve on the Health and Human Services Committee and be named vice chair of its appropriations subcommittee.
“It was a natural for me to serve on Veterans and Military Affairs,” the senator said. “This was a little different for me and it’s been a learning curve I’ve really enjoyed – and I’ve learned a lot, not only about appropriations but also everything the department does across the state.”