Biography

Chris Benge, Oklahoma Secretary of State

Secretary of State Chris Benge

Chris Benge was appointed as Oklahoma’s 33rd Secretary of State by Governor Mary Fallin on November 8, 2013. In addition to his duties as Secretary of State, Benge serves on the Governor’s Cabinet.

Secretary Benge was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1998 and left office in November 2010 due to legislative term limits. He served six years in leadership positions, including three years as Chairman of the Appropriations and Budget Committee, which was responsible for negotiating and writing the state budget. He spent his last three years in office as Speaker of the House.

After his legislative service, Benge worked in Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s administration as the Director of Intergovernmental and Enterprise Development. His focus was on public policy and special project development, such as river development, transportation, infrastructure needs, and energy leadership. He also concentrated on strengthening working partnerships between Tulsa County and the surrounding communities in the region.

Most recently, Benge served as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, leading the organization’s advocacy efforts at the state and federal level through the OneVoice process, as well as working with city and county officials on local policy issues.

Benge’s legislative service was highlighted by focusing on ways to encourage economic development and job growth for the citizens of Oklahoma. He was committed to funding transportation infrastructure, addressing physician training by stabilizing the OSU Medical Center, and promoting education initiatives.

He also focused on pension reform, government efficiency, and responsible use of excess oil and gas tax collections.

Benge made significant contributions to The Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program and the Closing Fund, which have brought numerous high caliber jobs to the state. He also pushed for incentives that assisted local industry growth in aerospace and energy. He received recognition for his efforts to help the state create a favorable business climate from the Oklahoma State Chamber with the organization’s Defender of Free Enterprise Award for 2009.

Benge also brought particular attention to the use of domestic energy in the state by working to establish a set of energy goals for Oklahoma that included increased use of natural gas for transportation. These efforts led to his testifying before a Congressional Committee on the benefits of using more natural gas for transportation purposes.

A lifetime Tulsa area resident, Benge and his wife, Allison, along with their two children reside in the community of Berryhill. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University.

Awards:

  • Best of Tulsa Community College Distinguished Alumni inductee, 2005
  • Legislative Advocate of the Year, Oklahoma Economic Development Council, 2008
  • Defender of Free Enterprise, State Chamber of Commerce, 2008
  • Distinguished Service Award, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, 2009
  • Jim Close Humanitarian Award, Southwest Tulsa Chamber, 2010
  • Natural Gas Vehicles of America Legislator of the Year, 2010
  • OSU Tulsa Icon Award, 2013.