“He was up there to represent his people, not to see how many new laws he could get passed,” she said.
Plunk was re-elected to five consecutive terms, but term limits forced him to step down after the 2006 legislative session. Oklahoma allows its lawmakers to serve up to 12 years combined in the state House and Senate.
Plunk, who was 74 when he gave up his House seat, told The Ada News in 2006 that he might have chosen to retire even without term limits but he said he did not think term limits were a good idea for rural counties like the ones in the 25th District.
“As Oklahoma’s population continues to shift to urban areas, rural districts will become ever larger,” he said. “As Oklahoma City and Tulsa’s population grows, so will their influence in the Legislature.”
Plunk helped local officials find grants or other financing for several major projects, including a $492,763 grant for the Allen Community Development Authority. He also helped secure $11 million in revenue bonds for a fine arts center and student housing at East Central University as well as funding for the Pontotoc Technology Center’s Regional Fire Training and Emergency Services Center.
He also wrote or helped write several bills, including a 1996 law that created the state’s Rural Economic Action Plan. The program allows local governments to apply for state dollars for water system improvements and other projects.
Bruce said his father was more interested in helping his constituents than in seeking personal glory.
“If he could have just helped people and never gone to Oklahoma City and then had the power, that would have suited him fine,” Bruce said.
‘His ultimate love’
The people who knew Plunk said he enjoyed seeing people succeed and did his best to help them.
Dr. Charles Peaden, who teaches political science at East Central University, said Plunk was always willing to share his expertise in state and local government with students.