OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Newly elected Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman has named Rep. Mike Ritze as chairman of House Public Safety Appropriations Subcommittee.
Hickman announced the appointment on Thursday, just four days after he was elected to replace former Speaker T.W. Shannon. Shannon stepped down to run for the U.S. Senate.
Ritze, a Republican from Broken Arrow, is an osteopathic physician and surgeon with a background in forensic science. Hickman says Ritze brings experience and knowledge on critical public safety issues.
Hickman has also asked House Public Safety Appropriations Vice Chair Bobby Cleveland to find solutions to the crisis facing state prisons.
Cleveland — a Republican from Norman — is working to address concerns that safety problems inside prisons can lead to security problems for neighboring communities.