Gov. Mary Fallin announced Wednesday she has appointed former Speaker of the House Chris Benge to be secretary of state. His appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.
Benge will succeed Larry Parman, who the governor appointed as both director of the state Commerce Department and secretary of commerce in her cabinet.
Both men will begin their new duties Nov. 8.
Fallin said in a news release that Benge will help her administration implement policies that encourage economic growth.
“My focus as governor has been to implement pro-growth, fiscally responsible and conservative policies to move this state forward,” Fallin said. “Chris Benge's leadership and experience as a legislator and leader of the House will help us continue in those efforts. I'm delighted to have him serve as a member of my Cabinet.”
Benge said he is eager to work with Fallin and for the people of the 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,” Benge said in the news release. “As a lifelong Oklahoman, I am excited to be able to serve the state.”
Benge was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 and served until he was term-limited in 2010. He also served as House Appropriations and Budget Committee chairman from December 2004 to February 2008.
Since leaving the House, Benge has worked both as an adviser to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and as the senior vice president of government affairs for the Tulsa Regional Chamber.