Monday, October 02, 2006

Lieutenant governor choice is easy
Jari Askins' ability, experience and integrity qualify her to be lieutenant governor of the state.

By Tulsa World Staff

A 12-year veteran of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, she has always been accessible to her constituents and a ready listener to citizen delegations from all parts of the state. A Democrat from Duncan, she is running against Republican Todd Hiett of Kellyville.

The primary job of the lieutenant governor is to be prepared to be governor. Askins is prepared. An often overlooked part of the job is that under Oklahoma law, the instant the governor leaves the state, the lieutenant governor becomes governor. He or she has the full authority and power of the office during the governor's absence from the state.

Oklahoma history is replete with instances in which lieutenant governors have attempted to take advantage of this fact. A governor needs the cooperation and help of his lieutenant governor. Gov. Brad Henry is supporting Askins because of her qualifications but also because he knows and trusts her.

As Speaker of the House, Hiett hardly made a move that was not political and all parties regard his expensive run for lieutenant governor as part of his campaign for governor when
Henry leaves office in 2010. Is there any doubt that if elected lieutenant governor Hiett would take every opportunity to use the office to his advantage?

Askins might also have gubernatorial aspirations, but her political allegiance to Henry makes her a partner who will work closely with the governor. "I think Governor Henry has set an excellent example of what can be accomplished when partisan interests are set aside. I'm proud to have been part of that team effort and I want to continue it," she said.

Askins served eight years as Stephens County special district judge. She has been chairman of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board and a legal counsel to the governor. She is the first woman to become Democratic leader of the House where she is term limited.

She has won numerous awards for her legislative work for education, health care, law enforcement and business. Askins has been involved in most aspects of community life in Duncan. She has been honored by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame and the Duncan Public Schools Foundation Hall of Fame.

Jari Askins is easily the best choice for lieutenant governor.

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