Melissa McLawhorn Houston Appointed Oklahoma Labor Commissioner
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin passed over Cathy Costello, the wife of previous Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, and appointed Melissa McLawhorn Houston instead.
Mark Costello was stabbed to death by his son in the parking lot of a Braum’s store on the northwest side of Oklahoma City in August. His widow asked the governor to appoint her to finish out his term.
Houston has been the chief of staff and policy adviser for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt since 2011. Houston will serve out the remainder of Costello’s term, but has said she will not seek reelection to the position when it’s up in 2018.
"Melissa knows how to run a state agency and how to ensure the public is getting the most out of the dollars it invests," said Fallin.
"I know she is excited to build on Mark Costello's legacy of delivering a more efficient and effective state agency. Her expertise and experience in budget-management will be particularly important to the Labor Department during what is sure to be a challenging fiscal year for the state."
Houston said she was honored to be chosen.
"Throughout my career in state government, I have learned a lot about the challenges we face and the solutions that will help us overcome those obstacles,” said Houston. “More importantly, I’ve developed a great pride for this state and its people, and I look forward to joining the very hardworking and qualified staff at the Department of Labor and to furthering its mission in this new role. It has been a privilege to work for Attorney General Scott Pruitt, but I am excited about this new opportunity to serve the people and the state of Oklahoma,” said Melissa Houston.