By Patrick B. McGuigan
Al McAffrey, an Oklahoma City Democrat, took the ceremonial oath of office at the Oklahoma state Capitol last Thursday (February 23). The oath was administered by state Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Kauger, a former chief justice.
Before the brief oath-taking ceremony, McAffrey thanked firefighters who had backed his candidacy and come to the Senate chamber.
He also recognized his daughters and eight grandchildren for their attendance. McAffrey also recognized his partner, David, and several members of his campaign team, including Steve VanHook and Warren Palmer, who ran his successful campaign to complete the remainder of a term begun by the former Senate minority leader, Andrew Rice.
Although the state Senate had finished its work for this week, several of McAffrey’s new colleagues attended the ceremony, including one to whom McAffrey gave special recognition. He pointed out Senator Steve Russell of Oklahoma City, a Republican.
McAffrey noted, “Senator Russell was one of the men who captured, or took out, Saddam Hussein. … We’re very proud of him. I told him I was an old Navy Corpsman and I could have helped him if he’d called. But I’m not sure that I could have kept up with him.”
Kauger commented, “As a fourth generation Oklahoman, it is always an honor to administer the oath of office to any member of the Legislature. But it is especially pleasant, and it’s a great honor, to administer the oath of office to friends.”
McAffrey actually assumed the senatorial position on Wednesday in a private ceremony, so that he could begin attending committee hearings and voting on matters before the upper chamber.
Justice Kauger administered, and Senator McAffrey swore, the following oath: “I, Al McAffrey, do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the state of Oklahoma, that I will not knowingly receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or non-performance, of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law. I further swear that I will faithfully discharge my duties as a member of the Oklahoma state Senate for District 46, to the best of my ability, so help me God.”
The next day (Friday), four Democrats who want to replace McAffrey in the House District 88 seat appeared before the regular luncheon of the Oklahoma County Democratic party. Steve Cortes, Kay Floyd, Matt Harney and Mike Dover plan to file next month for the post and compete in the November general election.