Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin names two new Cabinet secretaries

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com BY YOUR NAME Staff Writer email@opubco.com Modified: July 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm •  Published: July 16, 2013
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Gov. Mary Fallin, more than halfway through her first term and eyeing a second, is changing the makeup of her Cabinet.

The Republican governor announced two new secretaries Tuesday and realigned the advisory panel.

The governor named CareerTech Director Robert Sommers as the secretary of education and workforce development. She also named Deby Snodgrass, the executive director of the state Tourism and Recreation Department, to a new Cabinet post of secretary of tourism.

Cabinet secretaries are not paid for serving, according to the governor's office.

Fallin, in her third year as governor, made several changes to her Cabinet, consolidating some positions that she said would deliver better organizational structure or creating new ones to reflect her priorities.

Education secretary

Sommers succeeds Phyllis Hudecki, whose resignation took effect Monday, as secretary of education. Fallin included workforce development with the education secretary's duties to help ensure all students are given skills to find and keep high-skill, high-paying jobs.

Sommers, who in April became the seventh CareerTech director, had served as Ohio Gov. John Kasich's education policy adviser covering elementary through university education policy.

During his tenure, Ohio implemented changes to increase school performance transparency, teacher evaluation, school choice, digital education options and failing school transformation.

“Raising the bar in education and improving our workforce means supporting and implementing the reform efforts already enacted by the Legislature and being pursued by the state Department of Education, Oklahoma CareerTech and higher education,” Fallin said. “Sommers has long been an advocate for the kind of accountability measures implemented in Oklahoma, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new Cabinet level position.”

Tourism role

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Governor's Cabinet

Gov. Mary Fallin has 13 positions on her Cabinet.

• Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese

• Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez

• Education and Workforce Secretary Robert Sommers

• Energy and environment secretary (vacant)

• Finance, Administration and Information Technology Secretary Preston Doerflinger

• Health and Human Services Secretary Terry Cline

• Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Myles Deering

• Safety and Security Secretary Michael Thompson

• Science and Technology Secretary Stephen McKeever

• Secretary of State Larry Parman

• Tourism Secretary Deby Snodgrass

• Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley

• Veterans Affairs Secretary Rita Aragon

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