Representative Stan May’s journey from fire fighter to lawmaker 

Since 2018, Stan May, a seasoned fire fighter with more than twenty years of service, has been serving District 80 as Oklahoma State Representative.

April 24 • 2024

The IAFF is highlighting the efforts of Oklahoma legislators and aspiring politicians in a four-part series, showcasing their dedication to advocating for fire fighters. 

Representative Stan May has been instrumental in advancing legislation aimed at securing benefits for fire fighters statewide.  

State Representative Stan May developed a solid work ethic and a deep sense of responsibility to serve his community while growing up on his family’s Oklahoma dairy farm.  

Continuing his father’s legacy, he devoted 26 years to the Tulsa Fire Department, witnessing the devastation caused by disasters like tornadoes and wildfires firsthand. 

“I was president of Tulsa, OK Local 176 for two years,” May said. “During that challenging time, there were layoff fears, and we dodged all of that.” 

His role as a public information officer (PIO) for the fire department, helped May decide to run for office. 

“Being a PIO gave me a lot of name recognition around town,” he said. “The name recognition was huge, and we had some competition; we were running against the incumbent, Mike Ritze, who was not very friendly to our cause as fire fighters.” 

Fire fighter bills are very popular right now and lawmakers recognize the votes tied to that.

rep. stan may, house of representatives, district 80

Since taking office in 2018, May has been a strong advocate for fire fighter friendly legislation. He currently holds the position of House Majority Caucus Chair and serves as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, representing District 80. 

“Fire fighter bills are very popular right now and lawmakers recognize the votes tied to that,” he said. “It makes an enormous difference when you are there every day and lawmakers witness the influence fire fighters have around the state.” 

Giving advice to others interested in entering politics, he says it’s important to understand how politics work and what the community needs before deciding to run for office. 

“Oklahoma is heavily Republican,” he said. “One thing we learned is you are not going to elect a Democrat in a 70% Republican district. When we look for candidates now, we look for somebody that matches the district that they live in.” 

Local 176 President Matt Lay highlighted several achievements of the International Association of Fire Fighters under the leadership of May and State Senator Kevin Matthews. These include obtaining a Centennial Proclamation for Local 176 in 2019, passing the first cost-of-living adjustment (HB3350) for retired fire fighters in 2020 after a 12-year gap, enacting a bill authored by May to protect MDA Collections (HB 2238), passing the Public Safety Revenue Diversification Bill (SB838) in 2021, reinstating 20-year pensions for Oklahoma fire fighters (HB 2487), establishing and funding the State First Responder Wellness program (SB 1613), and securing funding for local and state Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams authored by May in 2022.