The Pryor Times

January 30, 2013

Lead from the middle

State Representative
Ben Sherrer

Standing in the midst of over a million Americans at the Presidential Inauguration, I was moved with pride and patriotism for our country. The beauty and pageantry of this inauguration, not unlike the 56 previous ceremonies in our country's history, is a pleasant reminder of the great privilege it is to live and work in this country. But as an elected public servant the sights and sounds of the event were a reminder of the need to lead from the middle.

“Lead from the middle” is a phrase introduced to me by former State Rep. Lucky Lamons from Tulsa, a trusted friend in the legislature who left in 2010. I remember my first day of session when Lucky pulled a small carpenter's level out of his drawer and placed it on top of his desk. I asked what was wrong with his desk and he replied, “This is my daily reminder to lead from the middle.” And Lucky pulled that level out every single day we were on the floor for the six  years I served with him.

Just last week, bill filing in the State House of Representatives yielded 1,259 bills for consideration in the upcoming session — and that doesn't include the State Senate measures that were filed. Many of these bills deal with extreme positions on politically popular topics that don’t do much for actually shaping sound policy and improving quality of life here in Oklahoma.

Now more than ever we need leadership that isn’t too afraid of any extreme to lead with moderation. At a time when extremes abound, a cool-headed, common-sense approach may very well be the thing that gets us through a tough time in American history. We don’t need more fence-riders, but we need policymakers who are willing to build consensus from the middle.

As the 2013 legislative session convenes in February, I look forward to reporting to you about bills going through the process. Thank you for entrusting me with your vote at the State Capitol — it’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I’m already hearing from many constituents on topics from school safety and gun control all the way to medical marijuana. I can be reached at or (800) 522-8502 with any questions or concerns. Until next week, God bless you.