Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma
|Lieutenant Governor of
the State of Oklahoma
Great Seal of Oklahoma
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||George W. Bellamy|
|Formation||November 16, 1907|
|Website||Lieutenant Governor's Website|
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma is the second-highest executive official of the state government of Oklahoma. As first in the gubernatorial line of succession, the Lieutenant Governor becomes the new Governor of Oklahoma upon the death, resignation, or removal of the Governor. The Lieutenant Governor also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Senate, and may cast the tie breaking votes in that chamber.
The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma traces its history back to the pre-state era of Oklahoma Territory. Though there was no office title the “Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma Territory,” there was a Secretary of Oklahoma Territory which served as the immediate successor should the Governorship of Oklahoma Territory become vacant. This power was exercised twice in the Territory’s history: when Secretary Robert Martin replaced Governor George Washington Steele, and again when Secretary William C. Grimes replaced Governor William Miller Jenkins. Aside from its succession function, the Secretary would serve as a chief aid to the Governor.
When the Oklahoma Constitution was adopted in 1907, the office of Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma was created. Though based on the idea of the Territorial Secretary, the Lieutenant Governor followed suit of the other state Lieutenant Governors and was modeled after the Vice President of the United States. The authors of the Oklahoma Constitution placed the Lieutenant Governor as the ex officio President of the Oklahoma Senate. This allowed the Lieutenant Governor, the second-ranking executive branch official, considerable legislative power. However, the Lieutenant Governor could only vote in order to break a tie.
Though in the early years of Oklahoma’s history the Lieutenant Governor played a large role in crafting legislation, in more recent years, that role has shifted to the President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, the Senate’s number two. This has not been due to any law or court ruling, but simply as a matter of fact. Instead, Governors have tended to appoint their Lieutenants as the head of a board, agency, or commission within the executive branch. This has transformed the Lieutenant Governor into something of what the Territorial Secretary was: a chief aid to the Governor with powers and responsibilities determined by the Governor.
The lieutenant governor is elected directly by the people of Oklahoma every four years on the same day as the election of the governor. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on separate ballots and are not running mates. This presents a chance that they may represent different political parties, as was the case from 2003 to 2007 when Democratic Governor Brad Henry and Republican Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin were in office. The election of Democratic Lieutenant Governor Leo Winters and Republican Governor Henry Bellmon in the 1960s was the first instance of this occurrence. It also occurred in 1967 with Republican Governor Dewey F. Bartlett and Democratic Lieutenant Governor George Nigh and in 1987 with Republican Governor Henry Bellmon and Democratic Lieutenant Governor Robert S. Kerr III.
To hold the office, the lieutenant governor must satisfy the same constitutional qualifications as the governor. He or she must be a citizen of the U.S. state of Oklahoma, at least thirty-one years of age and a resident of the United States for ten years.
The lieutenant governor’s term lasts for four years and runs coequal with the term of the governor, beginning on the first Monday in January following their election. As originally written, the Oklahoma Constitution placed no limits on the number of terms an individual could serve as lieutenant governor. Following the results of the 2010 state elections, the state constitution was amended to limit the lieutenant governor to no more than two terms, consecutive or not.
Democratic Lieutenant Governor James E. Berry holds the record for the most terms served in the office, having served for five consecutive terms from 1935 to 1955.
Oath of office 
"I, . . . . . . . , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, dieactly or indieactly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law; I further swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma to the best of my ability."
Relationship with the Governor 
When a Governor and Lieutenant Governor are of the same party, the Governor often uses the Lieutenant as the head of board, agency, or commission. This can been seen when Governor Frank Keating appointed Mary Fallin to serve as his Small Business Advocate within his Cabinet. However, when the Governor and Lieutenant are of different parties, the Lieutenant's role in the administration is often minimal.
This unique relationship occasionally comes into play when the Lieutenant Governor is the Acting Governor. When acting as the Governor, the Oklahoma Constitution provides all the powers of the Governor to the Lieutenant Governor. This includes the power of signing or vetoing legislation, making political appointments, calling out the Oklahoma National Guard, or granting pardons. The need for the Lieutenant Governor to act as the Governor may come about due to the Governor's absences from the State, or his inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office. The Lieutenant Governor holds the powers of the Governor until the Governor returns to the state or the disability is removed.
Powers and duties 
|Office of the Lieutenant Governor|
|Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma|
|Preceding Agency||Office of the Territorial Secretary|
|Headquarters||Oklahoma State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Minister responsible||Todd Lamb, Lieutenant Governor|
|Office of the Lieutenant Governor|
The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, similar to the Vice President of the United States, is the ex officio President of the Oklahoma Senate. As President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor oversees procedural matters and may cast a tie-breaking vote in the event of a dead lock in the Senate. The Lieutenant Governor also receives a vote during a joint-session of both the Houses of Representatives and Senate. Rarely, however, does the Lieutenant Governor actually preside over the Senate. That function is typically handled by the President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.
Despite a large legislative role, the main function of the Lieutenant Governor lies in the executive branch as the immediate successor to the Governorship in the event of a vacancy. In case of impeachment of the governor, or of his or her death, failure to qualify, resignation, the Governorship, with its compensation and responsibilities, devolves upon the Lieutenant Governor for the remainder of the gubanatorial term. In the event of the governor’s absences from Oklahoma, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office, the Lieutenant Governor shall become the “Acting Governor” until the governor returns to the state or the disability is removed.
The Lieutenant Governor presides over or is a member of ten state boards and commissions as per state statute and the Oklahoma Constitution.
|Tourism and Recreation Commission||Chair|
|Film Office Advisory Commission||Chair|
|Oklahoma State Board of Equalization||Vice-Chair|
|School Land Commission||Vice-Chair|
|Oklahoma Linked Deposit Board||Vice-Chair|
|State Insurance Fund||Member|
|Archives and Records||Member|
|Oklahoma Capitol Complex Centennial Commission||Member|
|Capital Improvement Authority||Member|
|Native American Cultural & Education Authority||Member|