Elmer Maddux didn’t have a vote the past two years when the Oklahoma Legislature as a whole finally took transportation seriously, dramatically upgrading funding to improve roads and bridges.

He did, though, have an impact.

Maddux spent 16 years in the legislature before leaving in 2004 due to term limits. In his tenure, improved highways was one of his big priorities.

One of those highways now carries his name.

Legislators, transportation department officials, community leaders and friends and family gathered at the Mooreland Community Center Tuesday for the unveiling of Representative Elmer Maddux Highway, a stretch of Highway 412 from Mooreland to Orienta.

It’s one of the highways that has been dramatically upgraded over the past 10 to 15 years with several miles of four-lane road and other improvements, and more are planned.

“This is the highlight of my life,” said an emotional Maddux as he addressed the folks gathered for the unveiling and offered thanks to everyone. “It’s the honor of a lifetime for me, this is something else.”

Sen. Owen Laughlin and Rep. Jeff Hickman carried the bill designating the highway in Maddux’s name. Laughlin served with Maddux for a number of years and Hickman replaced the veteran legislator two years ago.

“We’re here to kind of celebrate what Elmer has done over the years,” said Laughlin, who served as master of ceremonies. “The bill Jeff and I picked up is an opportunity to say thank you, we really appreciate what you have done.”

Laughlin pointed out the bill passed unanimously.

Hickman, who succeeded Maddux as the representative from District 58, said, “It’s fitting the road bears your (Elmer’s) name.”

Hickman said Maddux’s work is helping change the economy in the area, and is also saving lives on “this stretch of road.”

Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Gary Ridley told the audience that, “Rep. Maddux laid the groundwork for the last two years.”

Ridley said the new money for transportation will change the face of Oklahoma and improve the quality of life not only in this area but in the entire state.

“Rep. Maddux pushed transportation long before it was popular,” Ridley said. “He stepped out hard on some issues and made change possible. We need to recognize the leadership he provided on roads and the major changes in transportation. We will all benefit from that.”

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