A long list of characters, from both parties, have held the labor job. Before she was defeated, GOP commish Brenda Reneau was only showing up at work occasionally. Democrat Lloyd Fields was the definition of a party hack whose term was best remembered for a run-in at a party where he reportedly tried to steal a guitar and was taken to the city's detox center.
Both those jobs were made elective offices by the state's founders. In 1975, voters made labor commission an appointed position, but in 1988 they changed course and voted to make it elective again. So there is precedent for change, although more recent efforts to do so have failed.
In 2004, then-Democratic state Rep. Dan Boren teamed with Republican Rep. John Trebilcock to seek making the insurance and labor jobs appointive. Their efforts went nowhere. A poll commissioned a few months earlier by The Oklahoman showed Oklahomans preferred, by healthy margins, that those jobs remain elective.
Our guess is that if Paddack were to succeed in getting her bill through the Legislature — a long shot — then those populist sentiments would show themselves at the ballot box. Oklahomans prefer to make the call on these jobs, as they did two years ago when they chose Barresi for superintendent. They'll have the chance in two years to change their minds if they wish.