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Leadership & Public Administration Legislature Certificate

Whether you're a prospective candidate seeking an elected office to the Oklahoma House of Representatives or the Oklahoma Senate, or simply want to know about what goes on in public administration at the state level by learning and networking with elected officials, join our Leadership & Public Administration Conference beginning Thursday, February 25 through Saturday, February 27, 2021.

Endorsed by four former Oklahoma Governors: George Nigh, Frank Keating, Brad Henry and David Hall, this 3-day conference will be loaded with usable content in a fast-paced, non-partisan format bringing together notable leaders in the Oklahoma community who know first-hand how to navigate issues elected officials face while serving in office.

For more information, please contact Susan Winchester at

Conference Schedule

February 25-27, 2021

Agenda coming soon.

Content Outline

Welcome to 23rd and Lincoln

Serving as a newly elected member of the Oklahoma Legislature is an honor, but one that often comes with little preparation or training. The first session of this series introduces the three “separate but equal” branches of government, discusses the qualifications needed to run for office, and gives insights by those who currently hold office.

Speakers for this session include Former Gov. George Nigh; Senate and House leadership; and Paul Zirax, Secretary of both the State Election Board and the Oklahoma Senate.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Candidates running for legislative office are not required to have knowledge about or experience with the legislative process. Legislation does not magically appear on day one of the session. From an idea through the bill drafting process, onto the floor of each chamber, and finally to the governor’s desk takes time, attention, and legislative know-how.

Speakers for this session will include House and Senate staff members who have worked firsthand with all steps of the legislative process as well as three current members of the Legislature.

Working with State Agencies

Not only are legislators elected to serve their district constituency, they are asked to work with numerous state agencies and institutions. An overview of the functions, issues, and budgets of the major agencies provide insight into the many areas of life touched by state government. Education, health and human services, infrastructure, and corrections play a major part of each session’s debates.

Presenters from these different agencies will lead the session.

Revenues and Resources—Financing State Government and Creating a Budget

Oklahoma’s constitution requires a “balanced budget.” Making that happen requires hours of negotiation and rarely results in unequivocal agreement by all involved. Revenue sources are as varied and complex as is Oklahoma’s tax code. The session will include an overview of the tax structure along with a panel of the legislative leaders tasked with creating the final fiscal budget.

Presenters include representatives from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, legislative fiscal staff and a panel of Senate and House Budget Committee Chairs.

Campaign Finances and Ethics

The ethical conduct of legislators is governed by a complex web of legal standards and public expectation--including the media and working with lobbyists. Numerous legal constraints are found in the Oklahoma Constitution, in the Oklahoma statutes and in rules drafted by the State Ethics Commission. Knowledge of the various legal standards governing campaigns and holding office are essential.

Guiding this module will be attorney Glenn Coffee, former Oklahoma Secretary of State and President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate; Jim Dunlap and Pat Hall, Majority Plus; and Terri Watkins, Chief Media Strategist for the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services.

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Getting your legislation across the finish line requires careful, planned strategy and negotiation. This module is based on the negotiation framework taught at the Harvard Program on Negotiation. The workshop will include activities, discussions and planned viewing of select video exercises designed for anyone who wants to become a confident and effective negotiator. Teaching segments will cover topics such as dealing with difficult people, planning your negotiation, evaluating your options and achieving your objectives both as an individual and as a legislative leader.

The class will be directed by U. S. Administrative Law Judge Kim Parrish.

Contact Information

Susan Winchester
Director of Learn to Govern Program