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Gov. Stitt brings back Senate to confirm his latest regents nomination in special session

Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat and Gov. Kevin Stitt shake hands after the State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2023.
Abi Ruth Martin
Oklahoma Legislative Service Bureau
Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat and Gov. Kevin Stitt shake hands after the State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2023.

Stitt nominated Mike Holder to serve on the board governing Oklahoma State University, Langston University and a few other rural colleges on Monday. If the Senate confirms Holder, he’ll fill a hole left by nine-year member of the board Rick Davis of Guthrie, whose term ended in April.

Holder has been a long-time champion for OSU — literally and metaphorically. As a member of the Cowboy golf team, he won the top individual medal in the Big Eight Conference in 1970. He later served as the team’s head coach for three decades and eventually became the university’s athletic director.

"I’m thrilled that Mike Holder, a golf legend in Oklahoma and an integral part of OSU’s athletic legacy, is willing to serve his state and his alma mater on the Board of Regents,” Stitt said in a press release making the announcement. “He was one of the driving forces behind the construction of Boone Pickens Stadium and has already left a lasting mark on the OSU campus. He will bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to this board. I look forward to the Senate promptly confirming him in special session."

Holder is Stitt’s second choice for the Board of Regents. In early April, the governor recommended rancher and state-recognized conservationist Susan Bergen for a Senate confirmation.

"It’s too bad the Senate wouldn’t confirm Susan Bergen to the OSU Board of Regents,” Stitt said. “She’s a successful businesswoman, a philanthropist, and a leader in the Oklahoma agricultural community. She would have been a great addition to the board."

The chamber overwhelmingly voted her down during the last week of the regular session. Now, Stitt is calling them back to vote on Holder’s nomination.

Hours after Stitt’s announcement, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat released a statement in response to the call for a special session. He said the action by the governor shows his ignorance of the Senate’s confirmation process.

“This is another example of the governor not understanding the process or rules of the Senate,” Treat said. “The Senate’s process will not allow us to put up a nominee for a vote on Wednesday. The governor’s nominee will need to meet with members of the respective committee and be approved by the full committee before we move forward on any kind of vote on the Senate floor.”

That process can take days or weeks during a regular session, depending on what other bills are floating around.

For now, Treat said in his statement that his caucus will meet today to discuss their next steps. Further details will follow, he said. “While we will adhere to the Constitution, we are not on the governor’s timeline.”

Copyright 2024 KOSU

Lionel Ramos covers state government at KOSU. He joined the station in January 2024 after covering race and equity as a Report For America corps member at Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in Oklahoma City.