Coffee becomes first GOP Senate pro tem

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Glenn Coffee of Oklahoma City has been installed as the first Republican to hold the No. 1 leadership position in the Oklahoma Senate.

Coffee was elected Senate president pro tem on Tuesday at a one-day organizational meeting of the 2009 Oklahoma Legislature.

Republican Chris Benge of Tulsa will return as speaker of the House when lawmakers begin considerating legislation on Feb. 2.

The GOP gained a majority in the 48-member Senate for the first time in history by picking up two seats at the November general election. Republican senators now outnumber Democrats, 26-to-22.

They hold a 61-40 advantage in the House after gaining four seats last year.

Coffee said his goals include improving education and health care and making changes in the civil justice system and the workers' compensation system.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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