Senate Floor Leader Kim David provided NonDoc with a statement this morning clarifying her remarks from an interview Wednesday and noting that the Senate’s leader censured her for one week following remarks she made at a press conference.
David (R-Porter) received the official reprimand Monday and was temporarily relieved of her floor leader duties for one week. She said she has spent the last four days having conversations with her Senate colleagues, which she described as positive. Her typical floor leader duties have been performed by Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Springer) since Monday.
When asked Wednesday about Simpson leading the floor, David initially told NonDoc that the situation was unrelated to her controversial remarks at the Medicaid press conference, which had offended some senators.
But Thursday morning, David said she wanted to provide clarity and transparency about the situation and was doing so with the agreement of Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC), who had declined to comment on the matter through his spokesperson the day prior.
She said her initial denial about the censure stemmed from not wanting to break her agreement with Treat to keep the situation private.
“The pro tem and I agreed that this would remain an internal caucus matter,” David said Thursday.
David, who said her censure did not involve an official letter, provided NonDoc with a written statement, which appears below in full:
I want to address an issue that has been weighing on me since last Friday. At Gov. Stitt’s Friday news conference, we discussed the current plan for moving Medicaid forward in Oklahoma. During that news conference I made some comments that looking back, regrettably, I believe were not productive to the body I represent.
I have reached out this week to as many of my colleagues as possible to express my regrets in terms of how my comments created some concerns. I appreciate their understanding.
When Pro Tem Treat appointed me as the first female floor leader in the history of the Oklahoma State Senate, I was immensely proud to have that opportunity and to help move our state forward. I’m still honored to be serving in that position today.
Sen. Treat informed me Monday that he was censuring me for a week for my comments at the Medicaid news conference. I respect his decision and will learn from this moment.
My comments were in no way intended to put Sen. Treat or my colleagues in a negative light.
When I made the decision to run for public office, I did so with a commitment to represent the constituents of my district, and I listen to them.
My district overwhelmingly opposed Medicaid expansion, as did 70 Oklahoma counties.
I am not interested in following the status quo. The “status quo” is not working. Now is the time to put Oklahomans first when it comes to improving health care outcomes. Statistically, Oklahomans are NOT healthy, especially our poorest citizens. Only a handful of states do not have third-party managed Medicaid. In fact, 40 states do, with proven results.
David’s statement at the Friday press conference regarding third-party managed Medicaid frustrated some colleagues.
“As to the few members who are against this (…) some of those who have been outspoken about it don’t exactly understand what the concept is,” David said Jan. 29. “They know what they’ve been told, and they know they should be afraid. And then I have several who stand to gain by keeping the system the way it is.”
The influential senator reiterated Thursday that she respects her colleagues and that she has appreciated the series of conversations she has had with them this week.
In legislative politics, censure typically refers to a formal statement of disapproval. While the Oklahoma State Senate rules do not contain the word “censure,” Rule 3-2 states that the Senate “may punish its members for disorderly behavior.”