Senate Public Health Committee Unanimously Advances Nomination Of Keith Reed As Health Commissioner

Lawmakers are poised to approve the seventh leader of the State Health Department under Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

Monday, May 9th 2022, 5:23 pm



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Lawmakers are poised to approve the seventh leader of the State Health Department under Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

Keith Reed currently serves as Interim Health Commissioner.

The Senate Public Health Committee unanimously advanced his nomination Monday. 

Just last month, Gov. Stitt signed a bill changing the qualifications for the position. 

“I assure you, no one wants his agency transformed more than I,” Reed said to the committee. 

He has been with the Department of Health for 19 years and is a Colonel in the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

He’s been deployed on multiple tours,  including volunteering after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

“We just passed legislation last week on qualifications,” Senate President Pro Tem. Greg Treat, R-OKC, said. “And when I talked to the governor about this a few years ago, I said sequencing was important, to make sure that if we were to have somebody that met different qualifications, that we had to pass laws that had had to be effective before we acted upon it. The governor has honored his word on that.” 

Previously, the Health Commissioner would have had to be a physician, a doctor of public health or hold a Master of Science degree with agency experience.

These are qualifications Reed would have not met. 

“My educational qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Masters of Public Health Degree from the University of Oklahoma and I am also certified in public health by the National Board of Public Health examiners,” Reed said. 

The nomination received bi-partisan support in the committee, advancing to the Senate floor 10-0. 

“If we want to improve public health in Oklahoma, we have to do something different,” Reed said. “The same old thing has not worked.

In order to do that, we must be a fundamentally sound and strong agency,” Reed continued.

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