Frank Keating: Wikis


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Frank Keating

In office
January 11, 1995 – January 13, 2003
Lieutenant Mary Fallin
Preceded by David Walters
Succeeded by Brad Henry

Born February 10, 1944 (1944-02-10) (age 66)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathy Keating
Profession Lawyer, Lobbyist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francis Anthony "Frank" Keating (born February 10, 1944) is an American politician from Oklahoma. Keating served as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma. His first term began in 1995 and ended in 1999. Keating won reelection to a second term, which ended in 2003.

As of 2009, Keating is the second Governor in Oklahoma history to hold two consecutive terms and the only Republican to accomplish that feat.


Early life

Born Francis Anthony Keating on February 10, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri, Keating was not even six months old when his family moved to Oklahoma and settled in Tulsa. A devout Roman Catholic, Keating attended Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa, from which he graduated in 1962. Keating was accepted to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he became a member of the Philodemic Society. He would go on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1966. After receiving his degree, Keating would return to Oklahoma to further his education. He received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1969.

Upon receiving his law degree, Keating began his career in law enforcement. The same year he finished law school, Keating was made a Special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Relocated to the West Coast, Keating was charged with investigating terrorism incidents in the area and other various duties. After years on the coast, Keating would return to Tulsa to become an Assistant District Attorney.

In 1973, Keating, under the Republican Party banner, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He would only serve a single term in the House, until 1975, when he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate. He would serve in the Senate from 1975 until 1981, winning reelection in 1978. While in the Senate, Keating rose to become the highest ranking Republican as the Senate Minority Leader.

Federal career

Keating’s law enforcement career and prominence in the Oklahoma Republican Party prompted newly elected President of the United States Ronald Reagan to appoint Keating as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. Keating served as the US Attorney from 1981 until 1985, becoming the chairman of all US Attorneys within that four year time. Following President Reagan’s reelection in 1984, Reagan once again tapped Keating to serve in the federal government.

Reagan appointed Keating to serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and later elevated him to United States Associate Attorney General, the third ranking official within the United States Department of Justice. These appointments made Keating the highest ranking Oklahoman during the Reagan administration. In his positions as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Associate Attorney General, Keating over saw both the Justice and Treasury departments’ law enforcement agencies. These included the United States Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, all 94 United States Attorneys, the United States role in Interpol and the United States Secret Service.

Following the election of George H.W. Bush as President in 1988, Keating continued to serve in the Justice Department in his role as Associate Attorney General. President Bush elevated Keating in 1990 to General Counsel and Acting Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, that Department’s second highest office, under Secretary Jack Kemp. He would serve as the Deputy Secretary until 1993. As with the case of the Reagan administration, Keating became the highest ranking Oklahoman in the federal government under Bush.

On November 14, 1991, Bush nominated Keating to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, but with Democrats controlling the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Keating's nomination languished, and no hearing was held before Bush's presidency ended. President Bill Clinton chose not to renominate Keating to the seat.[1]

After over a decade of service to the federal government, Keating returned home to Oklahoma.

Gubernatorial campaigns



After two years of private life, in 1994, Keating received the Republican nomination for Governor of Oklahoma. In a three way race against Democratic nominee Jack Mildren and independent Wes Watkins, Keating received 47% of the vote and defeated the Democratic nominee by 17 points. Keating was sworn in as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma on January 9, 1995.


Keating faced Democratic nominee Laura Boyd, the first women to receive a major party's nomination for Oklahoma Governor, in his 1998 re-election campaign. Keating won in a landslide victory, becoming only the second Governor in Oklahoma history to win two consecutive terms (after George Nigh) and (as of 2010) the only Republican to ever do so.

Governor of Oklahoma

The Cabinet of Governor Frank Keating (1995 - 2003)
Office Name Term
Governor Frank Keating 1995 - 2003
Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin 1995 - 2003
Secretary of State Tom Cole 1995 - 1999
Michael J. Hunter 1999 - 2002
Kay Dudley 2002 - 2003
Attorney General Drew Edmondson 1995 - 2003
State Auditor and Inspector Clifton Scott 1995 - 2003
State Treasurer Robert Butkin 1995 - 2003
Insurance Commissioner John Crawford 1995 - 1999
Carroll Fisher 1999 - 2003
Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau 1995 - 2003
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Administration Tom Brennan 1995 - 1997
Pam Warren 1997 - 2003
Secretary of Agriculuture Dennis Howard 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Commerce Dean Werries 1995 - 1997
Ron Rosenfeld 1997 - 1998
Howard Barnett, Jr. 1998 - 1999
Russell M. Perry 1999 - 2000
Vacant 2000 - 2003
Secretary of Education Floyd Coppedge 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Energy Carl Michael Smith 1995 - 2002
Robert J. Sullivan, Jr. 2002 - 2003
Secretary of the Environment Gary Sherrer 1995 - 1997
Brian C. Griffin 1997 - 2003
Secretary of Finance and Revenue Tom Daxon 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Health and Human Services Ken Lackey 1995 - 1997
Jerry Regier 1997 - 2002
Howard Hendrick 2002 - 2003
Secretary of Human Resources Oscar B. Jackson Jr. 1995 - 2003
Secretary of the Military Stephen Cortright 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Safety and Security Robert Ricks 1995 - 2003
Secretary of Science and Technology W. Arthur Porter 1999 - 2003
Secretary of Tourism and Recreation Edward H. Cook 1995 - 1999
Jane Jayroe 1999 - 2003
Secretary of Transportation Neal A. McCaleb 1995 - 2001
Herschal Crow 2001 - 2003
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Norman Lamb 1995 - 2003

Oklahoma City bombing

Governor Keating had little time to relax upon taking office. Within three months of taking office, on April 19, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed in the Oklahoma City bombing, in which the lives of 168 Oklahomans were lost and over 800 people were injured. Coincidentally, the governor's brother, Martin Keating, had already written a novel about a man named Tom McVey that blew up said federal building. The book is still sold today and is called "The Final Jihad". The blast destroyed or damaged more than 300 buildings in the surrounding area, leaving several hundred people homeless and shutting down business.

Governor Keating immediately mobilized relief and rescue teams to handle the crisis, assuring prompt assistance. Over 12,000 people participated in relief and rescue operations in the days following the blast. The national and worldwide humanitarian response was immediate and overwhelming. Governor Keating declared a state of emergency, which allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to activate 11 of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces to assist in rescue and recovery operations.

The national focus climaxed on April 23, when President Bill Clinton, along with Governor Keating and the Reverend Billy Graham, spoke in Oklahoma City. In the weeks following the bombing, rescue efforts ceased and the building was imploded. Through both his own works and the works of his wife Cathy Keating, Governor Keating gained both national and international attention for his efforts to help the victims and their families. Governor Keating also created a $6 million fund to assist victims and provide for scholarships for children who have lost a parent in the attack.

First term

Governor Keating set out with an impressive agenda for the state under his administration, with many of his initiatives passed, despite an often hostile Democrat controlled Legislature. Many of Keating’s proposals were polices designed for growth and reform for Oklahoma. These included education reform, environmental protection, tax relief, road building, economic development, public safety, and tougher law enforcement. Keating also lead the charge in privatizing the state’s teacher hospital system, created a public-private partnership to assure care for the indigent as well as a stronger medical education program.

Keating’s first major success was the passage of the first welfare reform law in the nation in 1995. The law, by 2001, had reduced Oklahoma’s welfare rolls by over 70%. The success of the law served as a model for President Clinton’s welfare reform act of 1996, the first major reform of Social Security since its institution. Keating even managed to improve road and highway conditions throughout the state without raising taxes through his policies.

A law and order politician, Keating used his career in law enforcement to serve Oklahomans. He implemented tough parole policies and introduced the landmark truth-in-sentencing legislation. Keating also showed little amnesty when handling death sentence criminals, allowing many of those sentenced to death to be executed. Keating also raised the salaries of Oklahoma’s state troopers from the lowest in the nation to the 24th highest.

Keating has been at the forefront of tougher regulations on Oklahoma’s hog and poultry industries. Keating appointed a special committee to craft legislation to address the issue. His Animal Waste and Water Quality Protection Task Force studied the problem, and created a solution that both regulated the commerce of the industries as well as to protected the environment.

Keating’s greatest success of his first term come in 1998 when he become the first Governor in 50 years to achieve a tax cut in the state’s income tax. This combined with reduction in the sales tax, estate tax, and unemployment tax formed the largest tax break in the state’s history until that point. Keating’s policies and tax cuts created the greatest era of prosperity Oklahoma had ever seen, causing the creation of over 130,000 new jobs for Oklahomans.

Second term

Sworn in on January 11, 1999, Keating’s second term began with a progressive agenda, based primarily on education. In his 1999 inaugural address, Keating set four goals for Oklahoma for his second term:

  1. Raising Oklahoma’s ACT to the national average by 2005,
  2. Decreasing Oklahoma’s divorce rate by 50% before 2010,
  3. Ensure one out of every three Oklahomans has a college degree by 2010, and
  4. Raising Oklahoma’s per capita income to reach the national average by 2025

Keating focused largely on education. He increased spending for common, vo-tech, and higher education facilities throughout the state and introduced charter schools to Oklahoma for the first time. His policies and recommendations on education to the Legislature lead to the largest investment, over $100 million, on higher education. Keating, in 2000, also raised teacher pay by over $3000 annually, the largest raise Oklahoma’s teacher had ever experienced. Keating even managed to get higher educational facilities attracted to Tulsa for the first time.

Along with the agenda set forth in his inaugural address, Keating also tackled out-of-wedlock births, substance abuse, and child abuse. Enlisting state government, community groups, and faith organizations, Governor Keating organized the statewide initiative to strengthen marriage. The executive branch agencies that dealt with health issues were reorganized by Keating in 2000 amid a purge of legislative patronage to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Next on Keating’s list was a reform of Oklahoma’s antiquated worker’s compensation system. Keating, a staunch proponent of right-to-work laws, struggled to get his reforms passed while the Democratic legislature debated his measures. In reasons, Keating adjusted policies, made new appointments to Oklahoma’s Worker’s Compensation Court, and took other measures to control Oklahoma’s rising worker’s compensation costs. Despite his works, Keating would have to wait two years to see his vision fulfilled. In 2000 when Republicans gained many seats within both the Oklahoma House and Oklahoma Senate, the Legislature decided to propose right to work laws as a 2001 constitutional amendment. Keating’s six year battle came to an end when, on September 21, 2001, Oklahomans approved the measure into law.

As he had done in first term, Keating sought to grant broad-based tax cuts. To further reduce taxes, Keating won passage of an income tax break and of the creation of Oklahoma’s earned income credit system to benefit the poor. Also, under Keating’s auspices, both Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature launched studies to examine Oklahoma’s tax system, with the purpose of overhauling the entire system. During the study, the complete elimination of Oklahoma’s income tax was proposed.

Also continuing with his tough crime policies, Keating signed a major criminal justice bill that reformed Truth in Sentencing (TIS) to Oklahoma. This legislation extended TIS of previous administrations to ensure that violent and repeat offenders would remain in jail. To represent this to Oklahomans, Keating issued very few pardons or paroles to individuals sentenced to long detentions or capital punishment.

In other legislative initiatives, Keating signed the repeal of Oklahoma's annual vehicle inspection program. He also granted state correctional officers and highway patrol troopers pay raises. Keating addressed the problems faced in Oklahoma’s Tar Creek Superfund site by appointing a task force on the issue.

Among Keating's other accomplishments; overseeing the largest road construction project in Oklahoma history and leading his state through devastating tornadoes in 1999. As a crowning achievement, Keating raised more than $20 million in private money towards completion of the Oklahoma State Capitol with a dome. The capitol was originally designed for a dome, but state funding for it had run dry during World War I.

Budget documents

Oklahoma Supreme Court appointments

Governor Keating appointed the following Justices to the Oklahoma Supreme Court:

2000 Presidential election

During the 2000 presidential election, Keating, while still Governor of Oklahoma, was considered a potential candidate for the Republican nomination of Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush. After Bush chose Dick Cheney, and won the Presidential election, Keating was a contender for U.S. Attorney General in Bush’s administration. However, he was rejected when it was reported that from 1990 through 1997 Keating had accepted gifts of nearly $250,000³ from mutual fund pioneer Jack Dreyfus. Keating publicly stated that the gifts were fully disclosed and were approved by the Federal Office of Government Ethics.


Following his two terms as governor, Keating accepted a position as President and Chief Excutive Officer of the American Council of Life Insurers, the trade association for the life insurance and retirement security industry. Keating's former Secretary of State, Michael J. Hunter, served alongside his former boss at ACOLI where Hunter served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

In 2002 he authored a children's book about Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers. Another children's book about Theodore Roosevelt followed in 2006. Keating's third children's book about the trial of Standing Bear was published in 2008. Keating also served on the boards of the National Archives and Mt. Vernon. He currently lives in McLean, Va. Keating and his wife Cathy are the parents of three children, Carrie, Kelly, and Chip. In 2001, Cathy Keating was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to one of Oklahoma's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives being vacated by Steve Largent. In 2006, Chip Keating was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

On December 2, 2006 columnist Robert Novak suggested Keating might be a candidate for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination.[2]

On December 20, 2006, Keating visited Columbia, South Carolina, where he spoke to a group of GOP supporters about a possible 2008 Presidential bid.[3]

On January 17, 2007, Keating was quoted in the Tulsa World as declining a possible run for the U.S. Presidency in 2008 [1]. His reasons for not running were associated with the relative head starts in preparations of U.S. Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In February 2007 Keating appeared in Spartanburg, South Carolina and endorsed McCain's bid [2].


  • April 19, 1995: Three months after he was sworn in as Oklahoma governor, a fertilizer bomb exploded in front of a federal building in the capital killing 168 people.
  • June, 2002: Keating, a practicing Roman Catholic, was named Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board examining sex abuse by Catholic Priests.
  • June 16, 2003: After months of working with the Catholic Church, Keating stepped down as head of the Catholic review board. The resignation came days after Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony criticized Keating for comparing some church leaders to the Mafia. In his resignation letter, Keating said, "My remarks, which some Bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology.... To resist Grand Jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church."

See also


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Oklahoma State Representative
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Oklahoma State Senator
Succeeded by
Preceded by
United States Attorney for the
Northern District of Oklahoma

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Stephen S. Trott
United States Associate Attorney General
Succeeded by
Wayne Budd
Preceded by
Alfred A. DelliBovi
United States Deputy Secretary of
Housing and Urban Development

Succeeded by
Preceded by
David Walters (D)
Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Brad Henry (D)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Price
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Steve Largent


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