In farewell exchange with CapitolBeatOK, Governor reflects on ‘the best medicine any parent can ask for’

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 07-Jan-2011

On Friday, boxes lined the long hallway that runs down the middle of the area at the state Capitol that has, for the past eight years, been the home office for Governor Brad Henry and his staff. Some of the framed photographs, newspaper covers, awards and other memorabilia were already off the walls, ready to go into storage.

A long-anticipated final sit-down interview with CapitolBeatOK fell victim to the pressures of final appointments and executive decisions that could not be put off, so the “face time” anticipated did not come to pass.

So, here was a busy reporter down to one last question, posed to a busy governor on his last full week-day in office: “What question have you not been asked that you would like to address?”

Within an hour, his answer came by email: 

“Over the past few months, it seems like Kim and I have been asked just about every possible question about our time in the governor’s office and our future to come, so it is a little difficult to think of a topic we have not discussed.  

“One of the things that has been so important to us and has sustained us these past eight years is the love of our daughters – Leah, Laynie and Baylee. For whatever reason, the news media’s questions have focused more on this policy challenge or that legislative accomplishment, but at the end of the day, what is most important to us is our family, particularly our girls.

“They played a very prominent and important role in both of my campaigns, but for the most part during our time in office, they have tried to stay out of the spotlight and just be regular kids growing up and preparing for the rest of their life.  

“It’s not easy to be the governor’s daughter, but I am so proud of the way Leah, Laynie and Baylee have handled the challenge of public life and the potential pitfalls that come with it. They’ve had their shares of ups and down as any children do, but I cannot say enough about their perseverance and their ability to retain as normal a life as possible while keeping their sense of humor.

“No matter how good or bad our days at the office were, Kim and I knew when we got home the girls would bring us back down to earth and cheer us up. That’s the best medicine any parent can ask for.”

First Lady Kim Henry is working as executive director for the Sarkey’s Foundation, a leading non-profit in Oklahoma. The departing governor intends to join the Edmond law firm of Lester, Loving and Davies, serving “of counsel.” The couple will live in rural northeast Oklahoma City.