Questions Raised: Will The Senate Confirm A New Director Of Commerce?

State lawmakers have one week left in the legislative session, and one of the main tasks that remains is for the Senate to confirm or deny remaining executive nominations. 

Friday, May 24th 2024, 10:10 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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State lawmakers have one week left in the legislative session, and one of the main tasks that remains is for the Senate to confirm or deny remaining executive nominations. 

“There's some really big concerns about the nominee,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.

“There's been a lot of turmoil in the commerce area,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Heather Turner was tapped as Executive Director of Commerce by the governor in April. Now, she has one week left to be confirmed by the state senate to keep her job. “Executive nominations we take seriously on the senate side and vetting and making sure we get it right, so we've denied some in the past for well-justified reasons,” said Treat.

Before moving to commerce, Turner owned a music school, then served as CEO of Jenks Chamber of Commerce for two years.

When she was appointed, Turner released a statement saying, “Throughout my time at Jenks Chamber of Commerce, I found creative ways to build up our business community and attract new businesses to our town,” said Heather Turner. “I’m honored that Governor Stitt is appointing me to bring that same vision and creativity to the Department of Commerce. Oklahoma is the most business-friendly state in the nation, and I can’t wait to continue to build on that success.”

With almost $39 million going to the Department of Commerce this year, and pressure to bring in business to the state, some lawmakers have voiced strong concerns with the choice to bring Turner in.

“I think the committee itself has some really serious concerns,” said Treat.

Governor Stitt on the other hand, is strongly backing Turner, saying she has what it takes.

“Jenks is one of the fastest-growing cities in Oklahoma,” said Stitt. “Heather is doing an amazing job up there and we talked her into coming and serving the state in this capacity.”

With the clock ticking on this session, Stitt is pushing the Senate to move forward with Turner's confirmation.

“I think we need these great Oklahomans across the finish line to serve in their capacity,” said Stitt. 

The nomination would run through the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, but they have not posted an agenda yet.

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