Press "Enter" to skip to content

Kim David, a woman of ‘firsts’

Patrick B. McGuigan, Publisher, The City Sentinel

For The Southwest Ledger

Oklahoma City – Senator Kim David, R-Porter, is a woman of “firsts.”

Elected to the Legislature in 2010, she was the first Republican woman to serve as Majority Whip and the first woman ever put in charge of the Senate Appropriations Committee. After the 2018 election she became the first woman ever named majority leader for the Oklahoma State Senate.

Her husband, Dan, is a retired federal law enforcement officer. Her daughter is an officer in the state Air National Guard, and her son served in the Marine Corps.

An entrepreneur, David is founder of her own properties company.

Over a decade in elective office, Senator David has been the focus of frequent reports at CapitolBeatOK. com, the online news service I have in Oklahoma City.

Early this year, Sen. David described herself as “deeply honored” after administering (in a Capitol ceremony) the enlistment oath to Chief Master Sgt. Scott Irwin, Oklahoma National Guard Joint Force Headquarters Superintendent. She said, “I’ve seen the ceremony done many times but being the one to administer the oath was a first for me. It really was touching and a privilege to be able to do this.”

Kim David has proven herself an advocate of criminal justice reform and innovation.

Beginning in 2014 and continuing thereafter she pioneered the “pay for success” Criminal Justice Revolving Fund. She told The City Sentinel that her objective (working with the innovative Tulsa program known as Women in Recovery) was to assist “women at imminent risk of long-term incarceration.”

When one of her measures was debated, Senator David (in response to questions from colleagues), pointed out the “pay for success” concept was “already working in the private sector.”

Similar programs had succeeded in Texas and other states, she pointed out, “to reduce taxpayer costs and improve results in the lives of people who have committed a crime.”

Nothing wrong with some imitation of the Lone Star State, in many things but not in Football Fails and Transmission collapses.

Her willingness to study, learn and apply life lessons was no doubt cemented during her studies at Oklahoma State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree.

In 2018, I wrote a commentary when the Oklahoma Association of Health Plans (OAHP) released a study which anticipated Oklahoma could produce better health outcomes – and save almost $400 million over a decade – by modernizing its Medicaid program.

Sen. David commented, “In this time of budget instability and a historic deficit, we as legislators must look at all ways possible to be fiscally responsible.”

She added, “Now is not the time for us to shy away from health care innovation.”

Kim David continues Oklahoma’s tradition of choosing women to lead important functions in government.

Recent coverage of Sen. David’s work on health care brought fresh to mind the legacy of a dear friend.

In a busy life, I have never had enough time to spend with my best friends, including those I most admire. One of them is Vicki Miles-LaGrange, my high school classmate, now a retired U.S. District Judge. A cherished memory is that a few years ago, we had time for one good, long conversation.

We lingered at an apt moment, after decades in which I wrote stories and editorials about one or another of her notable achievements (first Black elected governor of Girls State, first Black woman U.S. attorney in our region, first Black woman federal district judge in the state, not to mention high-ranking international legal delegate – appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice 

William Rehnquist – advising developing nations on the rule of law).

When we caught up, Vicki had just finished her term as chief judge of Oklahoma’s federal western district. We spoke of many things.

Musing, I said to her: “Someday, you’ll run out of firsts.” Vicki smiled as only she can smile.

With no regret, she replied: “Yes, and that will be a good day.”

I strive for fairness, whether in reporting or commentary, but “objectivity” is elusive concerning certain people.

The ranks of new pioneer women like Miles-LaGrange and David continue to increase, to the gain of us all.

But these two women will always reside, with a few others, at a special corner of the old reporter’s heart.

NOTE: Pat McGuigan is publisher of The City Sentinel newspaper, an independent, non-partisan and locally-owned newspaper based in Oklahoma City. He is also founder of CapitolBeatOK.com, an online news service. He and Vicki Miles attended Bishop McGuinness High school in Oklahoma City. Among other things, they were in theatre classes together, back in the day.

At left, Sen. Kim David of Porter (legislative photo); at right: Vicki Miles LaGrange (file photo).