Fallin’s first choices: Some donors, some Democrats
Published: June 17th, 2011
(Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a three-part series on Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive appointments from her inauguration on Feb. 7 through May 31.)
OKLAHOMA CITY — While most of her choices, and her policies, are conservative, some of Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive appointments are Democrats — and some are donors to her 2010 campaign for governor.
Stuart Jolly, Oklahoma director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity in Oklahoma City, who supported most of Fallin’s choices including the Democrats in the mix, singled out donor appointee Democrat Pete Regan, who was nominated to the state Transportation Commission District 8. Americans for Prosperity is a national activist organization that works for limited government and free markets.
“According to Mike McCarville’s blog, he is an up-and-rising star in the liberal Democrat Party. Any boost to his stature could come back and haunt this state, if Mr. Regan continues to pursue higher offices. I hope Gov. Fallin realizes this and removes Mr. Regan immediately. It’s not unreasonable to ask if there were any qualified conservatives considered for the Transportation Commission,” said Jolly.
Regan ran in the 2006 primary for lieutenant governor..
Other Fallin choices this year have provoked rumblings among her allies, including prominent Democrat Edward Keller’s reappointment to the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Board of Trustees.
Joe Hall, renamed to the Agricultural & Mechanical Board of Regents, in the past election cycle made personal donations across the partisan spectrum. For 2010, he “maxed out” at the state level by giving $5,000 each to Fallin and each of the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial hopefuls, Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
Fallin’s appointees to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority include Kenneth Adams, David Burrage, Kevin Hern and Albert Kelley, each of whom gave $5,000 to her gubernatorial campaign this past year.
Another Turnpike Authority choice, C. Carl Gibson, donated $200 to the governor’s campaign. Fallin’s sixth appointee to the Turnpike Authority, E. Gene Love, donated $250 to her — and $1,500 to her opponent, Askins.
Despite the scrutiny of these Fallin donors and Democrats, a strong majority of the governor’s appointees are Republicans and conservatives.