Nine new state senators were sworn in Tuesday alongside 13 incumbents returning to the Legislature's upper house.
All the new senators are Republicans. Voters this year elected no new Democrats to the Senate, where Republicans now hold a 32-16 majority.
Tuesday's swearing-in ceremony was presided over by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, in his last official act as a senator.
Coffee is term-limited, and his successor, David Holt, was among those sworn in Tuesday.
â€œI have big shoes to fill,â€ Holt said, mentioning Coffee and his predecessor, former Sen. Howard Hendrick, R-Bethany. â€œMy voters in the 30th district in northwest Oklahoma City, Bethany and Warr Acres have grown quite accustomed to statesman representation.â€
Holt, 31, was elected in July in the Republican primary. He said he's spent the past several months preparing to focus on budget, pension and redistricting issues during the next Legislative session, which begins Feb. 7.
Holt said he has also spent time getting to know other legislators.
â€œNo legislator can do anything by himself. If you don't make relationships, you'll never get anything done here,â€ Holt said.
His networking appeared to have already paid off Tuesday when Senate Republicans selected Holt to a leadership position as vice chairman of their caucus.
Oklahoma City's other new senator, Ralph Shortey, moved with his family to Oklahoma City when he was 6 years old.
â€œWho would've thought 22 years later I would be not one of the rulers, but definitely one of the leaders in the state?â€ Shortey said.
Shortey said he'll focus on fighting illegal immigration because it is the top issue for residents in Senate District 44.
â€œArizona style-illegal immigration (legislation) is definitely the big one,â€ Shortey said.
Shortey said he supports and â€œwill be involvedâ€ with legislation to make Oklahoma's immigration laws tougher than those in Arizona.
Reps. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, and Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, have said they plan to file immigration legislation next session that would make Oklahoma's immigration laws tougher than Arizona's.
-Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro
-Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate
-Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona
-Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer
-Sen. Kim David, R-Wagoner
-Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher
-Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City
-Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso
-Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City