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State House

December 23, 2010

Henry reflects on bipartisanship, challenges



Advice to the next leaders

When Gov.-elect Mary Fallin takes over for Henry in January it will mark the first time in state history that Republicans control both legislative chambers and the governorship.

Henry said Democrats still can make sure their voices are heard despite being in the minority. He said the lawmakers need to look for compromises and focus on issue-based legislation.

"They are not going to control things, but Democrats and Republicans alike need to work together," Henry said. "Just because one party has a substantial majority, it doesn't mean the other party becomes irrelevant. If either party treats the other that way it will cause great problems and difficulties for our state."

Henry said he doesn't plan to be outspoken on advising politicians on policy issues after he leaves office. But he said he encourages lawmakers to avoid making decisions that solely benefit a particular special interest or political party.

"I really believe that Oklahomans and Americans, for that matter, are fed up with the partisan bickering that occurs in our nation's capitol and state capitols around the country," he said. "It is about time for strong people in the legislature and the governor's office to stand up — just as I tried to — and say we've got to put the partisan pettiness behind us. We've got to find common ground, build a consensus and do what is best for Oklahoma."

Trevor Brown covers the Oklahoma statehouse for CNHI. He can be reached at


Party control of the statehouse during Henry's tenure

2003-2004: Democrats control House and Senate

2005-2006: Republicans control House, Democrats control Senate

2007-2008: Republicans control House, Senate split

2009-2010: Republicans control House and Senate


sug hed: Henry still deciding future plans

By Trevor Brown

CNHI Capital Bureau

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Brad Henry said he remains undecided regarding his next move after he leaves office Jan. 10.

"I wish I knew, and believe me, my wife, Kim, wishes I knew," he said. "You'll just have to stay tuned, but I plan to figure it out sooner than later hopefully."

After eight years as governor and 10 years as a state senator, this will be the first time since 1992 he will not be an elected official. Previous to his political career, Henry practiced law in Shawnee.

Although he is vague on the specifics, Henry said he would like to move forward with the goals and initiatives he set out to accomplish during his years in the governor's office. But Henry said one thing is for sure: He will continue calling the Sooner State his home.

"I'm staying in Oklahoma," he said. "I love Oklahoma and I'm going to continue to do what I can to improve the quality of life in our state."


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