Rep. Rick West meets with members of Leadership LeFlore County in the State Capitol

Contact: Rep. Rick West
Office: (405) 557-7413

Traegan and Joe Ballard Recognized


Last week, I had the pleasure of recognizing both a daughter and her father on the House floor.

Traegan Ballard, a junior at Poteau High School, was crowned the 2024 LeFlore County Miss United States Agriculture. This pageant is dedicated to empowering and celebrating women of all ages who are involved in the agriculture industry, while showcasing their knowledge and passion for agriculture.

I’ve known Traegan and her family for a long time and find she is well-qualified for this honor. Traegen grew up loving agriculture and embodying the values of excellence, integrity and dedication to the agricultural community that the Miss United States Agriculture Pageant stands for. She’s also excelled in the skills of shooting skeet and trap, welding, and showing sheep in her spare time.

She plans to attend Oklahoma State University, majoring in chemistry and biology, and then on to the University of Oklahoma where she plans to study to become a pharmacist. I’m so proud of Traegan and her role in agriculture in our county and our state. I believe she’ll go on to do great things in her life that will benefit her family and others.

At the same time, I was able to recognize Traegan’s dad, Joe Ballard, who recently was named the 2024 Oklahoma High School Principal of the Year for the entire state by the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals. Joe has qualified to represent Oklahoma in Washington, D.C., for the honor of national principal of the year.

Joe has served as principal at Poteau High School for nine years. Before that, he was principal of Pansy Kidd Middle School. He has worked diligently during his time with Poteau Public Schools to foster strong working relationships with teachers and staff, leading through a particularly challenging season as the district has seen four superintendents in a period of fourteen months. His dedication to the success of his students, teachers, and staff is commendable, and he is a great credit to his school, community and state.

Also last week, a group from Leadership LeFlore County visited the state Capitol. This is a great group of leaders who are working to improve LeFlore County in a number of ways. It was great to get to meet with them.

On the legislative front, House leaders are still negotiating the state budget with the Senate. They’ve been participating in budget summits at the invitation of the governor. Those are being livestreamed on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s YouTube channel for anyone who wants to watch. The House has scheduled a number of meetings of the Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget. This is where budget legislation will first be presented when we have it ready.

The House is still hearing bills amended by the Senate. If amendments are accepted, they move to the governor. If rejected, they can go to conference committee to have final language approved before coming back to each chamber for a final vote.

The governor is also still signing legislation into law.

As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capital office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at

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