Oklahoma's newest lawmakers getting ready for the legislature

Monday, November 15th 2004, 10:48 am
By: News On 6

The newest members of the 50th state legislature take office Tuesday. Among them is a Tulsa grandmother who decided running for state office was the best way to continue the work she's been doing most of her life.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it's not Jeannie McDaniel's last day working for Tulsa - just her last day on the city payroll.

Tuesday she'll be sworn in as a state representative, where she plans to keep on working for Tulsa. "To me it's a logical transition to do something like this. To take the experience from here and translate that to the state level and figure out where our tax dollars are going and how they can better help the Tulsa community."

McDaniel has a long record of helping Tulsa; ten years leading the mayor's office for neighborhoods, another ten heading the crime commission. She's most proud of her work cleaning up graffiti and clearing out Tulsa's abandoned houses. Now, she's cleaning out, stacks of notes on recycling and potholes and speeding. She wasn't required to keep a can of graffiti paint and a brush always handy, but she did it anyway. "I've loved getting up and coming to work everyday and talking to people on the phone about their concerns and seeing how we can help or guiding them in a direction to help them if we can't, what better job can anybody have?"

McDaniel was the clear winner of a very tight race. The first count gave her a 34 vote margin. A recount narrowed it to just 24 votes.

She says for her the political differences don't matter much. She thinks what's good for her district is good for the state, a lesson she learned by improving the city one neighborhood McDaniel is a Democrat who says she wanted to run for years, but waited until her children finished college to take that step.