What exactly does a legislator do?
The state Legislature is composed of both state senators and state representatives.
I have been privileged to serve as a state representative for the past 5 years, working for Sequoyah County and the state of Oklahoma.
One responsibility is to make law. We vote on hundreds of bills every year. At times this can be very challenging to keep up with.
I start analyzing bills very early in the session, even before it is certain which bills will move forward and which ones will not. This helps me keep up with the busy times when we are voting on as many as 50 bills per day.
Many ask how I make my decision to vote yes or no on so many bills. I let four principles guide me:
• Is it Biblical? Any bill that is against a biblical principle is a quick no for me.
• Is it constitutional? Does it conform to the Oklahoma state Constitution, as well as the United States Constitution?
• Do we need it? The founders’ principle was limited government.
• Finally, can we afford it? It is my responsibility to defend the taxpayers of Sequoyah County and the state of Oklahoma.
Bills I have personally run have emphasized defending innocent unborn life, protecting our Sequoyah County schoolchildren from destructive and corrupting influences, and protecting and advancing the liberty of the people.
I also do a lot of work advancing election integrity in our state Another responsibility of the legislature is to draft the budget. This includes voting on numerous budget bills, as well as my part on an appropriations subcommittee.
I carefully scrutinize requests and demand the information to justify spending taxpayer money.
An additional legislative responsibility is dealing with various constituent issues.
This usually means helping our local Sequoyah County people when they need a little help dealing with state agencies.
These matters have included helping people with birth certificates, death certificates, passports, unemployment payments, disability issues, drivers licenses, state tax refunds, private school tax credits, roads and bridges, and many other issues every year.
One of the most notable constituent issues that I have dealt with in the last year related to vaccine exemption documents and a certain local school.
These had been a bit delayed, so the school kicked out the children from two families. I spent quite a bit of time with this one as soon as I heard about it. The children were in school the next day. I was so happy I was able to help with this issue.
Representatives are expected to communicate and be available to their constituents. Some of the ways I accomplish this are attendance at various community events including meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party and the Sequoyah County Second Amendment Association, as well as Facebook posts and messaging and my local newspaper columns.
I am also typically in statewide and national news numerous times every year.
My office number, 405557–7315, and my cell number, 918-235–1125, have been posted on an office window in Sallisaw for the last five years.
As far as personal meetings, I have been happy to meet with every single constituent who has requested one.
This gives you some idea of my work as a legislator. It is busy, challenging and fulfilling. It is a joy to serve my constituents here in Sequoyah County.
Jim Olsen, a Republican, serves District 2 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district encompasses Sequoyah County.