For The Children Weekly Column

Honoring Public Service, Building a Better Future

January 2, 2023

“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO


Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117


PHOTO CUTLINEThen state Rep. Joe Dorman (left) and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe visit during their work together while both were in office. Inhofe’s retirement from the U.S. Senate is effective Jan. 3, 2023. Dorman left office in November 2014 and now serves as CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. (Photo provided.)

OKLAHOMA CITY – As we enter into a new year, the lyric “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind” reminds me of public servants who have worked for Oklahoma.

I, for one, do not like the thought of forgetting about those who have been a part of my life, and also those who have done much for our state. We will see several officials who have dedicated a part of their life leave office in 2023, and I want to thank them for their efforts.

I will point out that while I might not have seen eye to eye with each of these officials through policy differences, I greatly respect their service to our state through their elective offices and appreciate the personal sacrifices of time away from family that each made.

The retiring public servant with the longest tenure is U.S. Sen. James Inhofe. Through his years as a state representative, state senator, mayor, congressman, and his service in the U.S. Senate, he has dedicated much going back to his first political win in 1967.

I had the pleasure of working with Senator Inhofe to secure lands in Elgin for an industrial park tied in with the local BAE plant. Through his resolve to protect the military installations in our state, and preserve Oklahoma as a historic leader in aviation, his work will long outlive his service.

I also want to thank outgoing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. The superintendent and I first became acquainted in 2014 when we were both on the campaign trail and I have certainly appreciated the hard work accomplished by her and her team to increase awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

The work in this area has helped alleviate trauma experienced by children in training education professionals to see the signs and how to help these young Oklahomans deal with the issues they have faced.

In our state Legislature, there are several retirees and members who will not be in this upcoming legislature. Whether it be one term or the full 12-year term limit, the men and women who serve in the Legislature are definitely not part-time public servants. They spend time at the Oklahoma State Capitol during the session, then work from their home districts to serve the people who are their constituents.

I do not have room in this column to thank each of them for their service, but I do want to single out state Sens. Frank Simpson, JJ Dossett, and Jake Merrick for work done with them on children’s issues, along with Reps. Carol Bush, Emily Virgin, Garry Mize, Dustin Roberts, Jadine Nollan, Logan Phillips, and Collin Walke for their efforts to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma’s children.

New officials will take office, serving the state just as those who came before. Many have held other offices and have a great track record of working with OICA, such as newly-elected U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin.

OICA is extremely grateful to Senator Mullin for his efforts to improve conditions for foster youth with the insight from his own family’s experiences. I have enjoyed the opportunities to work with the new senator and wish him well as he crosses the Rotunda. If he does well with our help, that means better things for Oklahoma.

You see, these men and women have been selected to do their jobs, and while many will not agree wholeheartedly with the decisions being made by each of these officials, finding that common ground for important issues is what keeps hope alive for better days for our state and nation.

I encourage you to reach out to these officials with positive solutions and create that dialogue on issues. If we are willing to look past differences and find consensus, Oklahoma will be a better place in 2023 and the years ahead.