Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins
Jari Askins was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 15th lieutenant governor in January 2007, giving her the rare distinction of serving in all three branches of government: judicial, legislative, and executive. She is the first Democratic woman to serve as lieutenant governor.
After earning her juris doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1980, Askins spent two years in private practice before being elected special district judge of Stephens County, where she served from 1982 to 1990.
In 1991, Governor David Walters appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board, which elected her as its first woman chair. She later served as executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board and as deputy general counsel to the governor.
Askins was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1994. As a freshman legislator, she was named vice chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. House Speaker Glen Johnson named her co-chair of the Domestic Relations Re codification Committee, a joint committee of legislators, attorneys, judges, and law professors to review and recommend revisions for Oklahoma’s divorce laws and procedures.
During her 12 years in the House, Askins chaired the Government Operations and Agency Oversight Committee, served as the first woman Assistant Majority Floor Leader, and was chair of the Subcommittee for Judiciary and Law Enforcement Appropriations. In 2000, she was named Deputy Floor Leader. She earned the position of Democratic House Leader in 2005.
Askins received “Outstanding Legislator” awards from numerous associations and in 1997 was one of 40 recipients nationwide to be named a Henry Toll Fellow, which designated her as an emerging leader in state government. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.