Jari Askins
15th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 2, 2007 – January 10, 2011
GovernorBrad Henry
Preceded byMary Fallin
Succeeded byTodd Lamb
Member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
from the 50th district
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 2, 2007
Preceded byEd Apple
Succeeded byDennis Johnson
Personal details
Born (1953-04-27) April 27, 1953 (age 68)
Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Oklahoma (BA, JD)

Jari Askins (born April 27, 1953) is an American judge, lawyer and Democratic politician from the US state of Oklahoma. She was the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, being the second woman and the first female Democratic Party member to hold that position.

Askins won the Oklahoma Democratic Party's 2010 gubernatorial nomination by defeating Attorney General Drew Edmondson. She was defeated in the general election by Republican Congresswoman Mary Fallin.[1]

Early life, education and career

Askins was born on April 27, 1953, in Duncan, Oklahoma. She graduated from Duncan High School in 1971. She then attended the University of Oklahoma to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 1975. While at OU, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Askins received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1980. After graduating from OU, she entered into private practice.

In 1982, Askins was appointed Special District Judge of Stephens County, Oklahoma. She served from 1982 to 1990, winning reelection in 1986. Under the administration of Governor of Oklahoma David Walters, Askins entered the executive branch of government. She was the Chair of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board from 1991 to 1992, serving as the Board's first female chair. Askins served as Deputy General Counsel to Governor Walters from 1992 to 1994. Her last assignment under Governor Walters was as the Executive Director of the Pardon and Parole Board from February to November 1994.[2]

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Askins during her time in the House
Askins during her time in the House

Before Governor Walters was succeeded by Republican Frank Keating, Askins ran, and was elected to, the Oklahoma House of Representatives, beginning her term in 1995. She served six terms in office (12 years, the maximum combined service allowed in the Oklahoma Legislature as the Representative of the 50th House District, which includes her home town, Duncan.

During her final term (2005–2006), she was elected and served as Democratic House Leader, the first woman to lead a caucus in the state's legislature.

Oklahoma lieutenant governor

After reaching the maximum 12 years as state representative (Oklahoma has mandatory term limits), Askins filed in the Democratic primary election to replace outgoing Republican Mary Fallin as Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. In the primaries, Askins faced former State Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson, lobbyist Pete Regan, and Jim Rogers. In the Democratic primary on July 25, 2006, Hobson received 18.17% of the vote, Regan received 29.05%, Rogers received 12.56%, and Askins received 40.22%.

Askins, in accordance with Oklahoma state law, faced Regan in a runoff for the party's nomination. In the run-off election on August 22, 2006, Askins received 95,087 votes (53.81%) to Regan's 81,622 votes (46.19%). Askins became the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, and she was elected on November 7, 2006. Her opponent was Republican Speaker of the House Todd Hiett. Before serving as lieutenant governor, Askins served in all three branches of the government of Oklahoma: legislative (state representative), executive (Chair of the Pardon and Parole Board), and judicial (Special District Judge).

On December 28, 2006, Mary Fallin resigned her office effective January 2, 2007 in order to be sworn into Congress. Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry appointed Askins (who was at that point the lieutenant governor-elect) to serve the final days of Fallin's term. Askins then took office for her full term on January 8, 2007.

As lieutenant governor, Askins served on various boards and commissions, including chairing the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission and the Oklahoma Film and Music Advisory Commission. Governor Brad Henry also named her as "Oklahoma's Small Business Advocate".[3][4]

2010 gubernatorial campaign

Main article: 2010 Oklahoma gubernatorial election

Askins announced on January 4, 2009 that she would run for governor in 2010 to succeed term-limited Brad Henry.[5] She was the first candidate to declare an intention to run.

As announced on July 27, 2010, Jari Askins won the Democratic primary against then-Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and was on the November ballot for governor, facing Republican candidate Mary Fallin. The Askins vs. Fallin race and the simultaneous Diane Denish vs. Susana Martinez race in New Mexico were the third and fourth cases of woman vs. woman gubernatorial races in U.S. history. Fallin won the election, becoming Oklahoma's first female governor. Askins only carried four counties, including her home county of Stephens County.

Personal life

Askins has been inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame.[6] According to her campaign website, she is an active member of the First Christian Church of Duncan, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "2010 Election Results". ok.gov. State of Oklahoma. Archived from the original on March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Finchum, Tanya (November 6, 2008). "Oral history interview with Jari Askins". Women of the Oklahoma Legislature. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  3. ^ "Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins – About Jari Askins". Ok.gov. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  4. ^ "Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins – Boards and Commissions". Ok.gov. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  5. ^ McNutt, Michael. "Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins said she will run for governor in 2010." NewsOk.com, January 4, 2009
  6. ^ Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame list of inductees
  7. ^ First Christian Church of Duncan
Party political offices Preceded byLaura Boyd Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma 2006 Succeeded byKenneth Corn Preceded byBrad Henry Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma 2010 Succeeded byJoe Dorman Political offices Preceded byMary Fallin Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma 2007–2011 Succeeded byTodd Lamb