Stitt adds two Cabinet secretaries
OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Dr. Kayse Shrum as secretary of science and innovation and Jerome Loughridge as secretary of health and mental health.
“Jerome Loughridge and Dr. Kayse Shrum are going to make a dynamic team on the Cabinet, focusing on government reform and the intersection of science, health and innovation to make Oklahoma Top Ten,” said Stitt.
Shrum earned a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and has completed executive leadership and management training programs at Harvard University and Stanford University. In 2013, Shrum was named president of OSU-Center for Health Sciences.
She joined the medical school faculty at OSU-CHS in 2002. In 2011, she was named provost of OSU-CHS and dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and served in that capacity until her promotion to president in 2013. Shrum holds the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Medical Excellence and Service and the Saint Francis Health System Endowed Chair of Pediatrics.
Loughridge is a native of Duncan who has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. After a year at Children’s Memorial Medical Center in Chicago, Loughridge attended Harvard University, where he earned master’s degree in 1998. In 2000, Loughridge became chief of staff at Baylor University, serving on the Baylor executive council. In 2003, Loughridge was selected to the White House Fellowship. While a fellow, he served as special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.
Loughridge began a career in the energy sector in 2006. He was chief operating officer of Great White Energy Services. In 2009, Loughridge became president of Black Mesa Energy Services. Since 2012, Loughridge has served as president of Great Plains Oilfield Rental.
Senate approves abortion referendum bill
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved a bill from President Pro Tempore Greg Treat that would put a legislative referendum on the 2020 ballot to let voters decide whether to restrict the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ability to construe a right to an abortion in the state constitution.
Senate Bill 195 passed on a 40-8 vote and now heads to the House for consideration.
A previous version of SB 195 contained “trigger” language that would have made enforceable Oklahoma’s prohibition on abortion in the event the central holding of Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey were overturned by the federal courts, or if the U.S. Constitution were amended to protect life. Due to the findings of those two federal court cases, Oklahoma’s prohibition on abortion is unenforceable.
“I still hope and pray that one day soon the U.S. Supreme Court will correct the judicial mistake of the past that legalized abortion in Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey,” Treat said. “But it’s far more likely, in the short-term, that the Oklahoma Supreme Court finds an invented right to an abortion in the state constitution than the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe or Casey.”
Treat said he expects to pursue the “trigger” language in another bill at some point in the future.