The Senate Democratic caucus has chosen Oklahoma City State Senator Andrew Rice as leader designate for the 2011-2012 legislative session. The current Democratic Leader, Senator Charlie Laster (D-Shawnee) will continue serving as leader for the upcoming session slated to commence in February 2010, but will step down as leader after the Nov. 2010 elections. Laster has served as Democratic Floor Leader since January of 2007.
“I have been honored to serve as leader of the Democratic caucus and share my Democratic colleagues desire to work with Senator Rice as we fight aggressively to regain the majority in the Oklahoma State Senate,” Laster said.
Rice said he is honored to be elected by his colleagues to lead the Democrats back to the majority in the upper chamber during the next election cycle.
“I am extremely grateful to my fellow members who elected me to be the Democratic leader and look forward to working with them as we fight to give all Oklahomans a seat at the table on important issues,” Rice said. “Our work to make Oklahoma the best place to live, work and raise a family continues and we will be vigilant to hold ourselves accountable to the public so that pragmatic policies win the day over petty ideologies in the Oklahoma State Senate.”
Rice was elected to District 46 in 2006 with nearly 70% of the vote. In the evenly divided State Senate of 2007 Rice served as Co-Chair of the Health and Human Resources Committee. Rice has been an unwavering advocate for expanding children's health insurance, fighting hunger and food insecurity in Oklahoma, pushing for alternative energy expansion and greater use of Oklahoma's CNG as a fuel source. He is married and has two young sons.