OKLAHOMA CITY — Member of Leadership Ardmore and the Chamber of Commerce received a first hand look at government in action Thursday afternoon during Ardmore Chamber of Commerce Day at the Capitol.

Following introductions on the floor of the House and the Senate, attendees had the opportunity to speak with state leaders, which included Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) as well as local leaders. A myriad of subjects were discussed detailing the focus of the current legislative session. There was also the opportunity to ask questions to garner a better understanding of the direction the state is heading.

"I was excited to hear the Speaker of the House talking about being a better steward of the state's resources," Julie Aultman said. "I feel he has priorities for the state and where we are heading."

Mita Bates, Chamber Vice President, said the appearance at the Capitol was a natural progression for Leadership Ardmore, which has attended both City and County meetings.

"To me, a critical part of being a good citizen is understanding how government works at all levels," Bates said. "This is an opportunity for them to have a dialogue in small groups with our elected leaders."

The visit was highlighted with a lunch with Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore), Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) and Rep. Tommie Hardin (R-Madill). The Carter County contingent highlighted topics that had been discussed as well as legislation they were working on and took the time to answer questions.

"I thought it was another great Ardmore day at the Capitol," Ownbey said. "One of the things I look forward to very year is to visit with the people that come up."

Ownbey said he received positive feedback from the officials that visited Chamber, including Rep. Randy McDaniel (R-Oklahoma City) who serves as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader. McDaniel has made a habit of joining Ardmore leaders for lunch with the chamber.

"Rep. Randy McDaniel asked to crash the party again," Ownbey said. "He just likes the people. Ardmore stands out with great quality people and it is just a great time to show off the type of people we have that live in the community. I always love this day. We are up here all the time and it is nice for them to come up and show off what we do."

The visit was also a learning experience for the youngest person in the group, Quincy Taylor who is 13. It was Taylor's first visit to the Capitol and it proved to be an eye full.

"I am looking forward to meeting all the Senators," Taylor said. "I am learning a lot. The schools need help and you learn about the problems we have in the nation and the state. You learn how we can make our state better and smarter."

Taylor, like many others, was also impressed with the artwork and the other aspects of the Capitol starting with the statue of a Native American outside of the Capitol.

"I thought it was pretty cool, how it is decorated and the passageway is sacred," he said. "I wanted to see what it actually looks like."

It was that reaction which is part of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce Day at the Capitol.

"Unfortunately, many of our young people don't understand how government works and I'm delighted to see Quincy here," Bates said.

Michael Pineda