12:10 to the Top: Chris Kidd

  • 12:10 to the Top: Chris Kidd

Inspired by his maternal great-grandfather, Oscar Lowrance, who served in both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the state Senate during the Great Depression, Senator Chris Kidd, Senate District 31, believes his service to the State Legislature is also part of God’s divine plan.

“First and foremost my role as a senator is to be a public servant,” Kidd said humbly. “Those words I take to heart whether it’s to high school students or senior citizens groups. I work for the constituents and I find it really disheartening to see legislators develop this top down mentality when the truth being, it’s quite the opposite.”

In a Chickasaw Nation commercial, Kidd recalled his grandfather saying, “that spirit carried them through the hard times, gave them an exuberance for living and a will to build a great state.” Kidd believes he was destined to follow in those footsteps.

Growing up between Waurika and nearby Addington, Kidd attributes much of his success in leadership to his involvement with Waurika FFA.

After high school, he earned an associate’s in agricultural science from Murray State College in Tishomingo, and later graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s de- gree in agricultural science and natural resources.

Kidd’s father, Billy Kidd, who is a farmer/rancher, was elected county commissioner for Jefferson County District 1. Kidd’s mother, Sue Ann Kidd, taught first grade at Waurika Schools for 39 years.

“My passion for education comes from Mom,” said Sen. Kidd, who serves as vice chair for the subcommittee on education. “A nationally board certified schoolteacher who enjoyed helping students do what they needed to do to succeed academically.”

Over the last few years, education has been “pretty eventful,” said Kidd. Midway through his first term, Oklahoma’s 2018 Teachers’ Strike raised national attention and educators in other states followed suit. Kidd applauded the efforts legislators worked through to fund education and provide the tools necessary for public educators and support staff to come to an agreement. Noting a schism between urban and rural legislators, Kidd was surprised by the differences of opinion on how to address funding for public education, which accounts to more than half of Oklahoma’s state budget.

“In southwest Oklahoma, almost all of our schools are small-town rural schools, [and] our public school systems are the hubs of our communities,” said Kidd. “They are vital to rural Oklahoma and I want to protect those systems and help our teachers.

“I truly believe that it was a true act of God that we were able to get that done,” said Kidd.

In addition to serving on the Appropriations Committee, Kidd, a fifth-generation Oklahoman, serves on the Agriculture and Wildlife as well as the committee for Veterans and Military Affairs.

When social media posts from veterans’ family members alleging maltreatment/neglect surfaced earlier this year, an investigation was launched by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs to bring to light any issues. It should be noted that no evidence of wrongdoing was made public. 

“I’m very passionate about [the wellbeing of our veterans] because my grandparents were veterans,” said Kidd. “My grandmother was in the Army Air Corps and my grandfather was in the Coast Guard during World War II.

“Years ago, when a legislator was looking to close several veterans centers, my grandfather – while in the senate – gave a very sincere speech on the Senate floor about the Sulphur Veterans Center and gave detailed stories about all the care they had given to the World War I veterans.

“So, if it weren’t for my grandfather the veterans center in Sulphur probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Kidd is also working with other legislators who are seeking ways to remedy the lack of health care facilities in Southwest Oklahoma as well as boosting the local economy.

“We’ve got to make sure we have adequate health care as far as our hospitals in our small towns,” he said. “For our economy, not only do we need to preserve what we have, but we’ve got to get creative in getting new recruits to help spark our economy.”

Building on Oklahoma’s foothold in aerospace and aviation, “The sky’s the limit,” he said lightheartedly.

Highlighting the state’s contribution to aviation and aerospace, Sen. Kidd’s first bill established the Oklahoma Aerospace and Aviation Day, which coincides with National Aerospace Day, to be celebrated each Aug. 19, Orville Wright’s birthday.

“Behind the oil and gas industry, aviation/aerospace is now our second largest eco- nomic driver,” said Kidd. “Second used to be agriculture, but it wasn’t too long ago that aviation/aerospace bumped agriculture to third.”

Before being elected to the state Senate, Kidd was a field representative for Farm Bureau, where he lobbied for farmers and ranchers.

Not diminishing the need for safety districts, when it was proposed that increasing ad valorem taxes in subdivisions and outlying areas, Kidd was at the forefront to educate legislature about the effects those tax increases would have on local farmers and ranchers.

“Raising ad valorem or property taxes, in subdivisions or on the outskirts, where they’re wanting to set up these safety districts, you’re getting into farm and ranch properties,” said Kidd. “Farmers and ranchers would pay the majority of those taxes, and that would have a drastic impact on their budget.”

Over the past 11 years, Kidd has served Oklahoma Farm Bureau in numerous capacities and was Vice President of Membership and Organization. He is also a firefighter for Claypool Volunteer Fire Department. He and his wife Lindsey enjoy spending time with their six-month-old daughter Kasey Lou.

“Next to my Christian faith, I consider being a good husband and father the most important aspect in life,” he said.

Looking ahead Kidd envisions many great things for southwest Oklahoma. Bringing those ideas into fruition without losing the region’s rural, agricultural characteristics his parents and grandparents have built upon.

“I’m very passionate about Oklahoma; its people, its past, its history and definitely its future.”