Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Kris Steele visits the Rotary Club of Edmond

by Andy Lester
1/24/2012 9:26:00 AM
The official biography is short, a reflection of a man without an ego. Born in Ardmore, he graduated from Broken Bow High School, received his B.A. in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and earned his M.Ed. in school counseling from East Central University. From 2002-2011, he served as Associate Minister of Wesley United Methodist Church in Shawnee, and last month became its Senior Pastor.
He is married to Kellie, and has two daughters, Mackenzie and Madison. He is actively involved in a variety of ministries including local missions, visitation, outreach and discipleship. He is a teacher for various Sunday school classes as well as Wesley’s midweek worship service. He also provides assistance in officiating weddings and funerals. In addition, he and his wife serve as co-facilitators for a marriage enrichment and relationship enhancement curriculum.
That is the official biography. But there is more. Much more. 
The special guest this week of the Rotary Club of Edmond is Kris Steele, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Speaker Steele is in his last year as a state legislator. Although he is more than a year shy of his 40th birthday, Speaker Steele is in his sixth term in the House of Representatives, and has attained what many Oklahoma political observers have called the most powerful political office in the state.
The Oklahoma Constitution provides in Article 5, Section 29, that “[t]he House of Representatives shall, at the beginning of each regular session and at such other times as may be necessary, elect one of its members Speaker.” The Constitution has little else to describe the job of Speaker of the House, though in Article 6, Section 15, it provides the Speaker is third in line should a vacancy of the Office of the Governor occur. But in practice and according to the Rules of the House of Representatives, the power of the Speaker is vast.
What amazes me about Kris Steele, though, is his character. Speaker Steele is a man of the highest integrity. He is the kind of person most of us would want in political office. He embodies the Rotary Motto of “Service Above Self,” and regularly puts the Rotary 4-Way Test into practice.
Of course, anyone in political office, especially in a leadership role, has detractors, and Kris Steele is no exception. In fact, just today – January 24, 2012 – The Oklahoman’s lead editorial referred to “a continuing assault on Steele by a bloc of []House members who can’t stand him.” But the thing that has especially impressed me about the Speaker of the House is that, no matter what, no matter how vile or personal the attack, Kris Steele invariably keeps a smile on his face and moves forward with doing the right thing.
Please welcome Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele to the Rotary Club of Edmond.