Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Fallin Names Coffee as Secretary of State

Governor-elect Mary Fallin Names Glenn Coffee as Secretary of State

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor-elect Mary Fallin today announced she has selected Glenn Coffee to serve as secretary of state.

Coffee, who was the first Republican to serve as president pro tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate, currently serves as co-chairman of the governor-elect’s transition committee.

“My focus as governor of Oklahoma will be to implement pro-growth, fiscally responsible and conservative policies to move this state forward,” Fallin said. “Glenn Coffee’s leadership and experience as a legislator will go a long way in helping our team be successful and I’m proud to have him serve in my cabinet.”

First elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1998, Coffee served in a variety of leadership posts including, Republican Caucus chairman (2000-2002), Assistant Minority Floor Leader (2002-2004), and Minority Floor Leader (2004-2006). Coffee served as Senate co-president pro tempore (2007-08) after Republicans won a historic tie in the Oklahoma State Senate in the 2006 elections.  He was named a “legislator of the year” in 2010 by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

As secretary of state, Coffee will work on behalf of the governor-elect to advance Fallin’s legislative agenda and will represent the governor during budget negotiations in addition to performing the statutory duties of the office.  Additionally, Coffee will serve as a liaison to Oklahoma’s American Indian tribes.

“Governor-elect Fallin has told me that she wants to use every tool available to create more jobs and opportunities for working Oklahomans. I know she’ll work with state lawmakers to pursue conservative, pro-business policies to move our state forward, and I’m honored to serve in her cabinet,” Coffee said.

Coffee earned an undergraduate degree in political science from Northeastern State University and received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is an alumnus of Leadership Oklahoma and Leadership OKC.  Coffee is a member of the NSU Alumni Association and is a founding member of the Oklahoma Legislature Sportsmen’s Caucus.

He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Lisa and their four children, sons Collin and Blaine and daughters Anna and Kate.

Note: no word yet on how his salary will be paid, as former legislators cannot receive a state salary for two years after leaving office. Typically, how the letter (but not the spirit) of this law is avoided is by paying the salaries with fees, as opposed to appropriated dollars, much like Rep. Randy Terrill is alleged to have worked out with former Sen. Debbe Leftwich in the bribery case.

UPDATE: I received the following statement from Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz.
Former legislators may take paid positions with the state if they are paid with funds not appropriated from the Oklahoma Legislature.  More than 93 percent of the secretary of state’s budget comes from non-appropriated funds (such as fees), according to the Office of State Finance.  As previous administrations have done, we are following the letter of the law and precedent established in legal opinions from the attorney general’s office.


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