By Rep. RICK WEST
Last week was a great honor for me as I got to recognize the Pocola Lady Indians basketball team on the House floor to celebrate their winning the Class 2A State Championship after losing only one game all season to the Heavener Lady Wolves.
I am so proud of this group of talented young ladies. Their coach said they were behind at halftime in all three games at the state tournament, but their never-give-up attitude propelled them to the win. I’m equally proud of the dedication of their coach, Mark McKenzie. During a time-out late in one of the games, he told the girls win or lose he loves them and he knows they love him, and that’s what is most important. Championships are nice, but his real goal is to help these young ladies become self-sufficient so they become lifetime positive contributors to society.
McKenzie and his wife Shana lost their only daughter in 2017 at the age of 23. While the couple has severely grieved the loss of their child, they have not let that stop them from pouring their love into their community and the school district they serve. Coach McKenzie said this group of girl basketball players has filled a mighty void in his life over the past three years, becoming like family to him and his wife. I presented each young woman and coach McKenzie with a citation on the House floor.
Also last week I got to help recognize Macy Nobles and Hayden Workman from the 2022 All-Oklahoma Academic Team from Carl Albert State College in our House Chamber. Great job to these incredibly smart and talented young people and to the faculty and staff that helped them achieve this great honor.
On a local matter, I’ve requested a state attorney general’s opinion about public hunting lands owned or managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Some roads located within these lands are blocked or gated by the state or federal agencies preventing access to vehicles and are only accessible by foot. By blocking these roads, it prevents the disabled who are unable to walk from accessing and enjoying these public locations.
A group of disabled veterans brought this issue to my attention, and I’m reaching out to the attorney general on their behalf to ask if this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or a violation of any state statute. In my opinion, these are public roads on public lands, and the public should be granted access, especially our disabled veterans.
That’s all for now. Remember to listen to me on KPRV Radio at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday for my legislative update.
As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at email@example.com.
Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.
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