The nation's lieutenant governors will hear from their peers who led responses to storms, man-made disasters and tornadoes as well as visit parts of tornado-stricken Moore during their annual conference this week in Oklahoma City.
The seconds-in-command of the states will gather Wednesday through Friday at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City for the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association.
About 25 lieutenant governors, about the same number who attended last year's 50th anniversary convention in Chicago, are expected to attend, said Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, the association's vice chairman.
In addition to hosting the conference, Lamb will take the reins of the group as part of activities Friday when he is named chairman. He will succeed Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts.
“I'm fortunate I get to be on my home turf as I become the chairman,” Lamb said.
Gov. Mary Fallin, who will host a dinner for the visiting officials Wednesday night at the Governor's Mansion and is vice chairman of the National Governors Association, will welcome the lieutenant governors on the session's first day.
Fallin is scheduled to become chairman of the national governors group next month during its summer meeting in Milwaukee, giving Oklahoma the rare distinction of having their elected officials head both associations.
“That's good for Oklahoma to have our two top executives as leaders within their associations,” Lamb said.
Both groups are nonpartisan. Their bylaws require that the chairman and vice chairman belong to different political parties.
Lieutenant governors last met in Oklahoma City in 1998, when Fallin, then Oklahoma's lieutenant governor, served as the group's chairman. It was the first national lieutenant governors' conference in Oklahoma since 1972.
In a session scheduled for Wednesday that is closed to the press, the lieutenant governors will discuss emergency preparedness and response. They are to hear how lieutenant governors worked to help respond to the Sandy Hook Elementary School gun massacre in December, where 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults were shot and killed by a disturbed man in Newtown, Conn.; to Hurricane Sandy, the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, which battered several northeastern states; and to tornadoes that struck Oklahoma in May, including the May 20 storm that killed 24 people, including seven children, in Moore.
On Friday, lieutenant governors are scheduled to go to Moore and talk with Mayor Glenn Lewis about emergency preparedness and recovery efforts.
“A lot of lieutenant governors reached out to me and just offered their support, prayers and help after the tornadoes all across Oklahoma,” Lamb said. “Of course they are most familiar with Moore because it received a lot of national and international coverage.
“They want to see the devastation and rebuilding effort in Moore, and we'll make sure they know that Moore's not the only community that was affected and we'll talk about the other ones.”
Other panel discussions are scheduled on the nation's farm bill, health care changes and energy issues, including coal and hydraulic fracturing. Other topics include school nutrition, assistance to veterans and tribal affairs.
The delegation also will visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and hear from David Cid, executive director of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, on improving safety in the states.