Rep. Ownbey reflects on final session, legislative career

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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII)-- Many state representatives are home after finishing up the regular session Thursday night, and for some like local representative Pat Ownbey, it was their last.

Ownbey says after helping a former representative with their campaign, he had no desire to run for public office.

"He talked to me about running at one point, and I kinda laughed and said, I see what you have to go through, I'm not interested in doing that." Ownbey said.

But when no one else stepped up, he did.

"This would be something good to do with the community and for my district, and its the only reason I ran." Ownbey said.

Ten years later, the Republican says its been the greatest education.

"The best thing you learn in Government, that you learn after you get there, is you need to vet these things, you need to be arguing about these things, you need to stand up for the things you believe in." Ownbey said.

And he feels good about his final session.

"I feel like we got a lot of things accomplished," Ownbey said. "it was kind of neat. Because we saw a lot of history, we saw the action of people coming up, teachers coming up, and many others coming up, to talk to their legislators."

Not only did they pass a budget this year without a single cut to any agency, but they also passed the highest tax increase in Oklahoma history for the largest teacher pay raise in Oklahoma history- all in the midst a two week teacher walk out.

"Ten years ago I ran on teacher pay raises," Ownbey said. "Finally we were able to do that."

...a happy ending for Ownbey.

"The fact that this year we were able to do that, makes me feel really good about what we were able to do this year, and leave on that good note."

As for what's next?

"The greatest thing for me is to be able to come back, live here in Southern Oklahoma, primarily in Southern Oklahoma like we haven't been able to do, and spend time with our grandkids and family, of course." Ownbey said.

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