Chris Benge, Oklahoma Secretary of State



Chris Benge was appointed as Oklahoma's thirty-third 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. He is also responsible for twenty executive entities.

Secretary of State Chris 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 House leadership positions, including three years as chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, which is responsible for negotiating and writing the state budget. Benge's legislative service was highlighted by his focus 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. Benge steered the effort in the legislature to help attract an NBA franchise to the state which led to the beginning of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He spent his last three years in the legislature 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.

Benge then served as the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs with the Tulsa Regional Chamber. As a way to increase the focus on growing the state’s economy, he brought focus 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. Benge 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. He 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.

On February 9, 2015, Governor Fallin appointed Secretary Benge to fill the position of Native American Liaison. In addition to his duties as Secretary of State, he will work directly with the Tribal Nations of the State of Oklahoma. He will work to further the relationship between the State of Oklahoma and tribal leadership and build on the momentum of the State and Tribal Nations have developed over the last few years.

On July 1, 2015, Governor Fallin appointed Secretary Benge to serve on the Oklahoma F-35 Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to ensure a successful mission change for the 138th Fighter Wing to the F-35 Lightning II, based at the Tulsa International Airport. The 138th Fighter Wing is one of the premier combat units in the USAF.

Benge is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of States (NASS). He is a lifetime member of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XXVI. Benge is also listed among Presidential Who's Who, 2010, served as the Honorary Chair of the 2013 Academy Salute event and is a recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award from The Oklahoma Academy, just to name a few of the professional and civic organizations of which he is involved and/or is a member.

A lifetime Tulsa area resident, Chris and his wife Allison, along with their two children, reside in the community of Berryhill. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University.