The Norman Transcript

October 23, 2013

Former OK House Speaker named secretary of state

Associated Press
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed former state House Speaker Chris Benge as secretary of state on Wednesday.

The Senate must still confirm the appointment. If it does, Benge will start Nov. 8.

As secretary of state, Benge will be a senior adviser to Fallin on policy, economic and legislative issues. Benge will replace Larry Parman, who has been appointed to serve as the director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and as secretary of commerce.

Benge, a Republican from Tulsa, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1998 and served until 2010. He served as House Appropriations and Budget Committee chairman from December 2004 to February 2008 and speaker of the House from February 2008 to November 2010.

Benge also was an adviser to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett following his time in the House. He has been senior vice president of government affairs at the Tulsa Regional Chamber since August 2011.

Benge said he is honored that Fallin appointed him secretary of state.

“I look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to maintain a strong focus on promoting economic growth and opportunities for our citizens. As a lifelong Oklahoman, I am excited to be able to serve the state,” he said.

Fallin said Benge’s experience as legislator and House leader will help her continue to implement her conservative policies.