Rep. Ownbey says he won't be seeking re-election

Published: Nov. 19, 2017 at 8:17 PM CST
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One of Southern Oklahoma's state representatives, Pat Ownbey, announced Sunday morning that he will not be running for re-election next year.

"It's not about bills, its about representing the people of Southern Oklahoma," Ownbey said. "And the best part about being a legislator isn't being up at the Capitol. Its being here in the district."

Pat Ownbey, who represents Carter, Garvin and Murray counties, says he was at first hesitant to run for office. But fearing the loss of a Republican seat, felt the call to serve.

"This district needed to get things done, and I think we've been able to do that." Ownbey said.

But after 10 years of service, the 64-year-old announced Sunday that he will not be running again in 2018.

"Coming into the summer, [my wife and I] really felt like we wanted to kind of step back," Ownbey said. "We prayed about it, and it was something we had been kind of thinking about for quite a while."

And while the announcement comes on the heels of Governor Mary Fallin vetoing most of the revised budget passed by the Senate Friday-

which will prompt another special session -- Ownbey says the decision is purely motivated by family.

"We have three grandkids. When I started my granddaughter was 13 days old, I look at her now, and she's nine," Ownbey said. "They're old enough now -- the youngest one is four, and the other one is five, and the other one is nine. And its time for me to step it up, and also spend some time with my wife."

Though he doesn't hide his frustrations.

"To say that I've been disappointed that we haven't been able to get things done, really is an understatement." Ownbey said. "I hate the fact that I am announcing this after special session with all the stuff that's happened. Legislative pay just got [cut] so the reality is, its like, oh my gosh he's doing that because -- and that's just not the case. We made this decision in August."

He hopes that his announcement will give others plenty of time to consider serving, too. Well before the April filing deadline.

"We've got some great people. I'm excited about what's ahead for this district," Ownbey said. "I think we'll have a great person step up, and whoever's the winner, whether its a Republican or Democrat, I'll do everything I can to help."