University of Oklahoma football fans should be hoping Gov. Brad Henry will be getting a shipment of Florida oranges. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist made a friendly, handshake wager on Wednesday to send Henry some Florida oranges if the Sooners defeat the University of Florida in tonight’s college football national title game, said Henry’s spokesman, Paul Sund. Henry agreed to send Crist some Oklahoma beef if the Gators win, Sund said.
Henry is in Florida for the game but is scheduled to return Saturday to Oklahoma. Because so many elected officials went to the game in Miami, three officials will have served as acting governor during his absence. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins served as acting governor after Henry left. State schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett served as acting governor Wednesday after Askins left. Attorney General Drew Edmondson was expected to return from an interfaith group trip to Turkey on Wednesday night and will serve as acting governor until Askins returns Friday. Henry remains in contact with his office by cell phone and e-mail, and the governor’s office stays in touch with the acting governor.
Who pays for trip?Because he is representing the state as its governor, Henry is traveling at state expense, although the governor is paying for his incidental expenses, Sund said. His admission to the BCS Championship game and lodging are being paid by the Bowl Championship Series, which provides money for the state’s official delegation. The other state officials attending the game are also part of the delegation; they paid their own transportation costs. Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage served as acting governor for a couple days last week while Henry and several other state officials attended the Holiday Bowl in San Diego to watch Oklahoma State University.
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MEANWHILE AT THE AIRPORT ...FANS’ EXCITEMENT TAKES FLIGHT A visit to Will Rogers World Airport on Wednesday uncovered several fans leaving for the BCS National Championship college football game in Miami, Fla. Belinda Scott goes to two or three University of Oklahoma football games every season. Her trip to Miami to watch the Sooners tonight is special beyond the national championship aspect. Her son Jeremy, 28, will be at the game with her. He has lived for about five years in Atlanta, and recently completed his service in the Air Force. "Jeremy called and said, ‘Mom, can we go to the game?’ Mom doesn’t let him down. I started searching for tickets and I was fortunate to find some,” she said. "He’s finally back stateside, so it’s a great opportunity to spend some time with him.” Blake Hardman, a seventh-grader, received a national championship game ticket as a Christmas gift. He and his father, Jim Hardman, also left Wednesday from the airport. "I am very excited. I’ve never been to an OU bowl game. I plan on them winning,” Blake Hardman said. Brian Sargent, Staff Writer
WHEN THE GOVERNOR IS AWAY ...When the governor is out of state or disabled, the next in line of succession is the lieutenant governor, followed by the Senate president pro tempore, the speaker of the House, the state auditor and inspector, the attorney general, the state schools superintendent and the labor commissioner.