A Tulsa lawmaker wants to make â€œSwing Low, Sweet Chariotâ€ the stateâ€™s official gospel song. Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, said some board members of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame made the suggestion. â€œI decided that is a good idea,â€ McIntyre said. Senate Bill 73 says â€œSwing Low, Sweet Chariotâ€ was written and composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman living in Indian Territory before 1862. â€œI have heard that song all of my life and never knew it was written by someone in Oklahoma,â€ McIntyre said. She realizes the measure could generate controversy and that the Legislature has important issues to address. â€œI am not married to this,â€ McIntyre said. â€œI want this to happen but do not want this to be a center of controversy.â€ In the past, lawmakers have sparred over the state rock song and state vegetable. In 2009, Oklahoma City band Flaming Lipsâ€™ â€œDo You Realize??â€ was selected the state rock song in an online contest. After the House killed a measure making the designation official because of a shirt that one of the band members wore to the Capitol, Gov. Brad Henry stepped in to sign an executive order. In 2007, watermelon was named the state vegetable, even though some argued it is really a fruit. Sen. Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, said he enjoys singing and listening to â€œSwing Low, Sweet Chariotâ€ but has some reservations about declaring it the state gospel song. â€œWhere are we going to stop with naming everything someone can think of the official state whatever?â€ he said. â€œI respect Sen. McIntyre. She is a dear friend of mine. I think we have a whole lot more things on the agenda other than what our gospel song will be of the state.â€ Senate President Pro Tem-elect Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said any lawmaker can file any legislation they want. â€œWe certainly will look at it,â€ Bingman said. But crafting a state budget will be a priority, he said. â€œI hope we are not required to sing it as a body on the floor,â€ Bingman said. â€œWe might do an injustice to that song.â€Comments
AT A GLANCESTATE EMBLEMS â†’Flower: Oklahoma rose. â†’Tree: Redbud. â†’Floral emblem: Mistletoe. â†’Rock: Rose rock. â†’Bird: Scissor-tailed flycatcher. â†’Insect: Honeybee. â†’Fish: White or sand bass. â†’Animal (mammal): American buffalo â†’Amphibian: Bullfrog. â†’Reptile: Collared lizard or mountain boomer â†’Beverage: Milk. â†’Vegetable: Watermelon. â†’Fruit: Strawberry. â†’Musical instrument: Fiddle. â†’Song/anthem: â€œOklahoma!â€ â†’Folk song: â€œOklahoma Hillsâ€ by Woody and Jack Guthrie. â†’Rock song: â€œDo You Realize??â€ by the Flaming Lips. â†’Waltz: â€œOklahoma Wind.â€ â†’Country and western song: â€œFaded Loveâ€ by John Wills and Bob Wills.