Two Republicans announced today they will not seek re-election to the state Legislature.
Rep. Ron Peterson of Tulsa and Rep. Susan Winchester of Chickasha are saying goodbye to their House of Representative seats. Both lawmakers still had a few remaining years to serve before term limits kicked in.
Peterson was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2000 and has served four terms. During the last four years, he has served as chairman of the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee.
But recently, Peterson has been in the news because of legislation he held up. Proponents of "Nick's Law" hammered the legislator for his refusal to bring the bill up for a vote in his committee. The bill would have expanded health care coverage for autistic children, and its supporters engaged in an aggressive media and lobbying campaign against Peterson, to no avail.
Winchester was the first woman to serve as Oklahoma House speaker pro tempore. She took the position after Republicans gained control of the House during the 2004 elections.
The five-term legislator could have served for two more years, had she won another election. She also tried to become the first woman Speaker of the House this year, but failed to gain a majority of votes in her Republican caucus.
Winchester is the wife of Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice James Winchester. -Scott Cooper