First elected to the State Legislature nearly 28 years ago, Sen. Frank Shurden was honored by his fellow members, family and friends on the floor of the State Senate on Tuesday afternoon. The Henryetta Democrat is completing his final year in the Senate due to term limits.
A native of Henryetta, Shurden attended Oklahoma Junior College and made the Oklahoma Junior College all-star football team in 1959. He graduated with an Associate of Commerce degree in 1960, and then went on to complete a BS degree in Business Management from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in 1962. A rancher, Shurden served as Vice President and State Reporter for the Northeast District of the Young Farmers Association.
Shurden was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and served in that chamber until being elected to the State Senate in 1986. He currently serves as Vice Chair of Public Safety and Homeland Security and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation.
His fellow members shared their memories of serving with Shurden, a man they honored for his principals and his dedication on behalf of working people and rural Oklahoma.
“Senator Stipe told me once that there aren’t any votes up here that will beat you, it’s how you treat your people. And that’s why these good people have kept me elected all this time. I’ve tried to work hard for them. This is their position, it’s not mine. This is their Senate seat and I’ve tried my best to work for them,” said Shurden.
Members unanimously approved a resolution recognizing the loss of one of the Senate’s most newsworthy members. The resolution noted Shurden for “his relentless tendency to chop away at the obstacles to his unorthodox legislative program, year after year after year, and his cocksure advocacy of the various causes he espoused.” The resolution went on to say that he would be remembered as a Senator who fought in a principled manner for his beliefs, for working people, and for rural Oklahoma, and who accepted both his victories and his defeats with grace.
“I love all of you. We’re a family. We all have our differences, but we have to stick together. I’ve loved every minute and I’m going to miss it. You all are such good people. Oklahoma is in good hands,” Shurden said. “I never dreamed that I’d stay here for 28 years. I appreciate each and every one of you. There are no term limits on friendship. We’ll be friends as long as we live. Thank you for a great run!”