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Brad Henry

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Brad Henry
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26th Governor of Oklahoma
Former officeholder
In office
January 13, 2003 – January 10, 2011
PredecessorFrank Keating
Bachelor'sUniversity of Oklahoma
J.D.University of Oklahoma College of Law
Date of birthJune 10, 1963
Charles Bradford "Brad" Henry (born June 10, 1963) is a former Governor of Oklahoma. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected governor in 2002. Henry faced Republican US Representative Ernest Istook for re-election on November 7, 2006, and won with 66% of the vote.[1]

Henry is the third governor and second Democrat in Oklahoma history to hold two consecutive terms, after Democrat George Nigh and Republican Frank Keating. As a tax-cutting governor, who signed into law parental notification laws limiting abortion, Henry has sought to appeal to Republicans, Democrats and Independents across party lines.

Initiative rights

On June 8, 2009, Gov. Brad Henry vetoed Oklahoma House Bill 2246, drawing a rebuke from Oklahomans for Responsible Government.[2],[3]

Early life and education

A third generation Oklahoman, Henry was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the son of prominent attorney, State Representative and Judge Charles Henry. He attended public schools and graduated from Shawnee High School. After graduating, Henry attended the University of Oklahoma as a President's Leadership Scholar and earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1985. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. In 1988, he was awarded his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Law Review. He served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1992 until he became Governor.

2002 gubernatorial election

In the 2002 election for governor, Henry defeated former Republican United States Congressman Steve Largent, an NFL Hall of Famer, by just over one-half of one percent in a race that also included Independent candidate Gary Richardson, a retired Federal Prosecutor. Henry received 448,143 votes (43.27%) to Largent's 441,277 votes (42.61%). Richardson, a former Democratic candidate, was the second most successful third-party gubernatorial candidate in the nation in that election, receiving 146,200 votes (14%).[4]

Henry ran an underdog campaign of "barnstorming" rural areas, and stopping at Wal-Mart stores in an RV with supporters. Henry was endorsed by legendary football Coach Barry Switzer, who has strong popularity in the Sooner State and accompanied Henry to many campaign events.

On the policy side of the campaign, Henry ran on the platform of the "education governor." He argued for increasing teachers' salaries and funding for higher education in the state by approving a state lottery to raise money. Henry's candidacy received a last minute boost against Largent, due to a ballot initiative banning cockfighting, which was unpopular in rural areas. Henry played neutral on the issue through most of the race as the proposed ban was popular in urban areas. Henry would secure support from pro-cockfighting forces in rural areas.


Henry was officially sworn in as Oklahoma's 26th Governor on January 13, 2003, with the oath of office being administered by his cousin, federal appeals court judge Robert Harlan Henry. As Governor, he is a member of the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Democratic Governors Association. He is the current president of the Council of State Governments.

Henry made national headlines by giving sanctuary from the redistricting warrant to Texas Democrats in that state's legislature by allowing them to travel across state lines into Oklahoma en masse to deny a quorum for voting on a redistricting plan. "Our position is that, without a warrant signed by a judge, we have no authority. Even under those circumstances, we are hesitant to get pulled into a Texas political battle. If we're going to do battle with Texas, we prefer that it be on the football field," Henry said through his spokesman.

Supreme Court appointments

Governor Henry appointed the following Justices to the Oklahoma Supreme Court:

  • James E. Edmondson – 2003
  • Steven W. Taylor – 2004
  • Tom Colbert – 2004, making Henry the first governor to appoint an African-American justice to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
  • John F. Reif – 2007

2006 campaign

In the Democratic Party primary election on July 25, 2006, Henry received 218,712 votes, 86% of the vote. [5]

In the November 7 general election, Henry faced Fifth District U.S. Congressman Republican Ernest Istook and won with 66% of the vote.[6] He won with a higher total than any gubernatorial candidate in almost fifty years.[7]

Future campaigns

On November 30, 2006, Governor Henry stated that he does not intend to run for the United States Senate in 2008 or 2010. There had been some speculation that Henry would face incumbent Senators Jim Inhofe or Tom Coburn when they face re-election. There has even been some speculation that Governor Henry could run for President of the United States in the future.[8]

Portrait switching

The Oklahoma Watchdog reported that Lewis Moore said he was among those who switched Rep. Henry's portrait with that of Pres. Barack Obama. There is allegedly video evidence of the switch, but it has not been released by Speaker Chris Benge.[9]

External links


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 6/12/07.