Oklahoma Governor Selects Benge As Native American Liaison

Monday, February 9th 2015, 4:30 pm
By: Richard Clark

Governor Mary Fallin appointed Secretary of State Chris Benge as Native American liaison within the governor's office.

As part of an executive order establishing her cabinet for her second term, Governor Mary Fallin announced that Benge will serve as secretary of state and Native American affairs.

A member of the Cherokee Nation, he succeeds Jacque Secondine Hensley, who had advised the governor on American Indian affairs since July 2012, according to a news release from the Governor's office.

Hensley has accepted a position with the Department of Human Services.

Benge has served as secretary of state since November 2013. Before that he was speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010, when he was term-limited as a legislator.

Fallin's executive order establishes that her cabinet will be made up of 12 secretaries. During her first term she had 13 secretaries but has combined commerce and tourism into one position.

The governor's Cabinet secretaries, in addition to Benge, are:

· Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese

· Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Deby Snodgrass

· Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley

· Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague

· Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston Doerflinger

· Secretary of Health and Human Services Terry Cline

· Secretary of the Military Maj. Gen. Robbie L. Asher

· Secretary of Safety and Security Michael Thompson

· Secretary of Science and Technology Stephen McKeever

· Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley

· Secretary of Veterans Affairs Maj. Gen. Myles Deering

State law requires the governor set the cabinet structure 45 calendar days after taking the oath of office, but does not specifically require the positions be filled within that time frame, according to the news release.