Collinsville, Oklahoma
March 22, 2015
Miscellaneous News
Oklahoma Senate Facts Per Rick Brinkley /
Community Church Movie Night /
Chamber Summer Movie Series /
Oklahoma State Senate Commentary
By Senator Rick Brinkley
Senate District 34

March 19, 2015


Senate Update by Sen. Rick Brinkley

The week after the first major floor deadline in the Legislature always tends to be a little quiet in terms of the number of bills that are ready for the next round of votes. Because of the slow nature of the week, I’ve been asked to write a little more light- hearted commentary on the Capitol, otherwise known as “The People’s House.” For your enjoyment, here are five things you may not know about your Capitol.

1.We really do all get along. A lot of what people imagine politics to be like is based on what they read or see from Washington. Washington and Oklahoma City are two very different places. This is true regardless of political affiliation, geographical region, or anywhere a legislator may fall on the continuum of the Conservative to Liberal Scale. Members even occasionally carpool to the Capitol.

2.However, legislators occasionally shoot each other – I may have exaggerated that we all get along all of the time. In 1947, a member of the House of Representatives was going through a divorce and a member of the Senate represented the House member’s wife. The estranged husband marched across the Rotunda and opened fire in the Senate Chamber, shooting the Senator in the “Upper Left Hip” which was a much nicer way to say “He shot him in the rear end.” Did I mention they carpooled to the Capitol together that week?

3.My office is known as the keeper of the Magical Candy Cabinet – Those who know me are not shocked to learn that I have a Cabinet in my office filled with full-sized candy bars. Kids who visit get to grab a candy bar to take with them. The “Legislative Kids” as I call them, the children and grandchildren of members of the legislature, always want to go see “Uncle Rick’s Office”. They really don’t care if I’m here or not. The Candy Cabinet is Legendary among these kids. However, it’s not so legendary among their parents who have to try to corral their children pumped up on sugar as they run the Capitol hallways. While writing this article two Senators have walked into my office and between them taken two Snickers, a bag of Peanut M&Ms, and one King-Sized KitKat Bar. Next week, I’m starting to offer cholesterol checks.

4.My favorite room in the Capitol is the Senate Lounge – This room is just east of the Senate Chamber and is filled with portraits and memorabilia of famous Oklahomans. It’s also where the Senate Bible Study takes place every Wednesday morning during session. There are special memories for me in that room. During my first session, we were in the final deadline week and were required to work into the night. Pizza was ordered in so we could take a 30 minute break to grab a slice and to get back onto the floor. The debate on the Bill previous to the Break had become very heavy. You could feel the tension in the air and many were beginning to take the debate personally. While standing in line for the pizza, a member went to his office and grabbed his guitar. Another ran to his car and got his and a member of the staff went to her office and got hers. Soon people were sitting on the floor eating pizza and singing together. Hymns, camp songs, and standards. The tension quickly went away and laughter filled the room. We were told to put our suit coats back on and to get to the chamber floor. We did. Music still in our heads and smiles on our faces, still willing to fight each other over issues, but not taking it nearly as personal as before a song or two.

5.Spittoons and Clip-on Ties are Dangerous – In 1985 two members of the House of Representatives got into a fight after a vote on a Bill when one shook his cigar (smoking was allowed on the floor at the time) in the other’s face. He slapped the cigar away and the fists started flying. That’s when the clip-on tie got ripped off. Fortunately, neither was particularly dangerous and one of them ended up with scratches on his wrist. However, it’s a 1991 fight that made national news and is still talked about today. Believe it or not, a fight broke out over who was going to serve as the House Chaplain. This is an issue apparently only good Christian men would come to blows over. Both had brought their ministers to the Capitol to serve in the weekly volunteer position. They got into a slapping and shoving match and that is when one dented a spittoon with his face and began to bleed on the carpet. Luckily, a photo was later taken of the two Democrats shaking hands while holding the dented spittoon in question.

Politics will always be fraught with disagreements, because it’s filled with people passionate on both sides of the issues. In my time in the legislature, I’ve never heard of a fight in the Senate. I’ve heard of a couple of “incidents” in the House. But, at the end of the day, the legislature is filled with people, both elected and non-elected, who fight to make the state better than it was yesterday. We almost always agree on the bigger goals. Our differences, or fights, are over how those goals need to be achieved. If you want a voice in the “fight” show up and participate--just stay clear of being involved in someone’s divorce and bloody spittoons. Just know there’s a candy bar waiting in my office for you to make it all better. Win or lose.

Please feel free to contact me at the state Capitol by calling (405) 521-5566 or by emailing

April 18th -- Saturday -- Movie Night
God's Not Dead

Everyone is invited to join us!

Concessions start at 6:30 and Movie starts at 7:00

Collinsville Community Church
1424 West Oak Street
Collinsville, Oklahoma

Chamber Of Commerce Free Movie -- Summer Schedule

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