Representing Western Oklahoma City in the Oklahoma House of Representativesis District 60 House Representative Rhonda Baker, who also represents constituents in Bridgeport, Carnegie, Eakly, El Reno, Geary, Hinton, Lookeba, Union City, and Yukon.
Representative Baker serves as Chairman of the Common Education committee, is a member of the Appropriation and Budget committee, Business and Commerce committee, and subcommittee on Education Appropriations.
Prior to first being elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2016 and re-elected for a second term in 2018, Representative Rhonda Baker was a middle school English teacher who had spent nearly two decades in the profession at the middle school, high school, and collegiate level. In addition, she and her husband, Les, also an educator, are owners of a successful small irrigation business.
As a member of the House, she has developed a reputation as a strong and articulate advocate on education issues.
Baker’s work has focused on trying to improve educational outcomes, including workforce development.
“One area of intense focus has been aviation,” Baker said last week. “Aeronautics is Oklahoma’s number two eco
nomic driver and we have heard testimony from numerous workforce leaders across the state that we must provide focus on increasing the number of students that are willing and able to enter this profession. It is been exciting to see so many schools develop programs, recruit students, and begin graduating workers in this field. CVTC, Mustang High School, and Yukon High School are three schools within Canadian County that have seen the importance of this and are focused on meeting the needs we have outlined.”
Canadian County is the fastest growing county in Oklahoma. According to Representative Baker, “We are attractive because of our strong schools, we are in close proximity to essential services with the metropolitan area while maintaining a small town feel, and we have a low cost of living. Lastly, Oklahomans are known nationwide as being both friendly and generous and people that come here often want to stay.”
When Baker was elected in 2016, the Oklahoma state budget was in a financial crisis.
“I worked alongside legislative partners that voted on many difficult bills to bring us out of a billion dollar budget shortfall,” Baker said. “Today, because of many of those votes, the state has a Stabilization Fund with a balance of $171 million and a Rainy Day fund with a balance of $395 million. Additionally, we have cash reserves as well. We are on a much better financial path than when I started.
“Education is another priority and I am glad to say the legislature has been able to devote historic appropriations to education as well. The House of Representatives has prioritized funding, school choice initiatives, and strengthening our student outcomes and teacher pipeline. We will continue to do so.”
What is Baker working on now?
“We are currently negotiating the budget, as session will be ending. We are constitutionally mandated to finish by the end of May. All committee policy work is finished and any amendments placed on bills are being rejected or accepted. Those bills that have made it through both chambers are now on to the Governor’s office for signatures or, potentially, vetoes.”
For more information on Representative Baker, go online to okhouse.gov/members.