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Jada Breeden, Guymon Chamber Director, and the rest of the Guymon Chamber gang got together with some great community members and headed off to Oklahoma City for their Panhandle Day at the Capitol.
Breeden said the day began very early Sunday, March 10 when 34 people piled onto an activity bus Tri-County Electric sponsored.
The community was represented well with members of the 2013 Guymon Leadership Class, some of the Main Street Transformers, and others who were interested in learning more about the State Capitol.
"Part of the fun was the opportunity to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics play in the Chesapeake Energy Arena," Breeden said. "Of course the Thunder rolled over the Celtics!"
The first official event of the trip was for the group to meet Shawn Lepard of Lepard Consulting during a dinner that took place at Spaghetti Warehouse.
Lepard lived in Guymon for a period of time and became involved in local politics before moving to Oklahoma City to begin his career as a Lobbyist.
"After everyone finished their delicious meal, Shawn explained how the state legislature works with an interactive example of filing bills, and discussion of details and voting on a bill for both the House side and the Senate side," Breeden said.
Breakfast on Monday morning included a special treat with an appearance made by Congressman Frank Lucasâ€™ field representative, Breanna Dominick.
Breeden said Breanna is a Panhandle girl who grew up in the Slapout area.
"She discussed what our Representative is responsible for in Washington D. C. and here in Oklahoma," said Breeden, "We then brushed our teeth and headed to the Capitol."
Another Guymon native, Paul Matthews, graduate of GHS in 1950, met the group at the Tourist Information Center in the Oklahoma Capitol Building.
"Paul began our tour with the Great Seal of Oklahoma and set us on the remainder of the tour from the Supreme Courtroom," Breeden said. "Main Street Transformers were actively teaching others what they have learned about our state history while taking the tour - great job teachers!"
During lunch from Big Truck Tacos (owned by another Guymon-ite, Kathryn Mathis), Representative Gus Blackwell, Representative Mike Jackson, Senator Bryce Marlatt, and Senator Anthony Sykes stopped by and discussed the processes each Representative and each Senator deal with to make decisions for the state.
Breeden stated they all were pleased with the number of people who attended and were excited about the role the leaders are taking in the community.
Speaker of the House, T. W. Shannon addressed the group and insured everyone the role of the state government is in place for the people.
"The movement in our state government to put the people first with less big government, less taxes and greater control on government spending is catching on and is making a difference for all Oklahomans," said Breeden. "As the group sat in on the floor discussions in the Gallery, debate over bills that have been introduced proved everything that happens in the state capitol is not exciting. Both the House of Representatives and the State Senate gave the group a standing ovation in their respective sessions."
The Panhandle crew then loaded the bus to head back for Guymon.
Breeden said the bus stopped in Woodward at MidFirst Bank where Terrie Matthews, Guymonâ€™s MidFirst Bank Manager, gave everyone a boxed lunch and said everyone was thankful for Terrie and MidFirst Bank for getting them in the building for a break and back out on the road quickly.
"Panhandle Day at the Capitol is a great experience that allows people to get a close up and personal view of how our state government works," Breeden said. "We may think changing policies and making laws are common sense and easy, when in fact, there are many steps in assuring bills address what they are intended to do. "Be aware of your government and your right to be involved. You can view actual live action in session and in the committee rooms from the websites, find out who is sponsoring which bills and much more."
Those words of advice come from the Chamber Director herself, and for someone who has experienced Panhandle Day at the Capitol, it is sure to be important.
This year's Panhandle Day at the Capitol was deemed a success from all who attended and they are very much looking forward to next year's trip.