kids encyclopedia robot

Brad Henry facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Brad Henry
US Navy 071207-N-4965F-027 The Honorable Brad Henry, Governor of Oklahoma, delivers his remarks during a joint Oklahoma Memorial Committee-National Park Service dedication ceremony for battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 3.jpg
Henry in 2007
26th Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 13, 2003 – January 10, 2011
Lieutenant Mary Fallin
Jari Askins
Preceded by Frank Keating
Succeeded by Mary Fallin
Member of the Oklahoma Senate
from the 17th district
In office
Preceded by Carl Franklin
Succeeded by Charlie Laster
Personal details
Charles Bradford Henry

(1963-07-10) July 10, 1963 (age 60)
Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse Kim Blaine
Children 4
Education University of Oklahoma (BA, JD)

Charles Bradford Henry (born July 10, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 26th governor of Oklahoma from 2003 to 2011. A Democrat, he previously served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1992 to 2003.

Henry was elected governor in 2002 with 43% of the vote and reelected for a second term in 2006 with 67% of the vote. He was the third governor and second Democrat in Oklahoma history to serve two consecutive terms, along with Democrat George Nigh and Republican Frank Keating. Henry was unable to seek a third term in the 2010 election due to term limits set by the Oklahoma Constitution. He was succeeded as governor by Republican former Lieutenant Governor and former U.S House of Representatives Congresswoman Mary Fallin on January 10, 2011.

Henry had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate, but declined to run in the 2014 special election to replace Tom Coburn.

Early life and education

Brad Henry was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the son of Charles Henry, a prominent judge and former state representative. After graduating from Shawnee High School in 1981, Henry attended the University of Oklahoma as a President's Leadership Scholar and earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1985. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. In 1988, he was awarded his J.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he served as managing editor of the Law Review.

Henry practiced law in Shawnee, Oklahoma before running for the Oklahoma State Senate. He served as a state senator from 1992 until he became governor.

Gubernatorial campaigns

Brad Henry
Henry as a State Senator


In the 2002 election for governor, Henry defeated State Senator Enoch Kelly Haney and businessman Vince Orza in the primary election. In the general election, he defeated former Republican Congressman Steve Largent, an NFL Hall of Famer, by just over one-half of one percent of the vote, in a race that also included Independent candidate Gary Richardson, a retired federal prosecutor. Henry received 448,143 votes (43.27%) to Largent's 441,277 votes (42.61%). Richardson, a former Republican candidate, received 146,200 votes (14%).

Henry ran a campaign of "barnstorming" rural areas, and stopping at Wal-Mart stores in an RV with supporters. Henry was endorsed by football coach Barry Switzer, who has widespread popularity in the Sooner State and accompanied Henry to many campaign events.

On the policy side of the campaign, Henry branded himself as the "education governor." He argued for increasing teachers' salaries and funding for higher education in the state by approving a state lottery to raise money.


In the Democratic Party primary election on July 25, 2006, Henry received 218,712 votes, 86% of the vote.

In the November 7 general election, Henry faced Fifth District U.S. Congressman Republican Ernest Istook and won with 66% of the vote. He won with a higher total than any gubernatorial candidate in almost fifty years. He only lost the three counties of the Panhandle, and won by large margins in a number of counties that normally vote Republican.

Governor of Oklahoma

The Cabinet of Governor Brad Henry
Office Name Term
Governor Brad Henry 2003–2011
Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin 2003–2007
Jari Askins 2007–2011
Secretary of State M. Susan Savage 2003–2011
Attorney General Drew Edmondson 2003–2011
State Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan 2003–2008
Steve Burrage 2008–2011
State Treasurer Robert Butkin 2003–2005
Scott Meacham 2005–2011
Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher 2003–2005
Kim Holland 2005–2011
Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau 2003–2007
Lloyd Fields 2007–2011
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett 2003–2011
Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach 2003–2011
Secretary of Commerce and Tourism Kathy Taylor 2003–2006
Natalie Shirley 2006–2011
Secretary of Education vacant 2003–2011
Secretary of Energy David Fleischaker 2003–2008
Bobby Wegener 2008–2011
Secretary of the Environment Miles Tolbert 2003–2008
J.D. Strong 2008–2011
Secretary of Finance and Revenue Scott Meacham 2005–2011
Secretary of Health Tom Adelson 2003–2004
Terry Cline 2004–2007
Mike Crutcher 2007–2009
Terri White 2009–2011
Secretary of Human Resources Oscar B. Jackson Jr. 2003–2011
Secretary of Human Services Howard Hendrick 2003–2011
Secretary of the Military Harry M. Wyatt III 2003–2009
Myles Deering 2009–2011
Secretary of Safety and Security Bob Ricks 2003
Kevin L. Ward 2004–2011
Secretary of Science and Technology Joseph W. Alexander 2004–2011
Secretary of Transportation Phil Tomlinson 2003–2009
Gary Ridley 2009–2011
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Norman Lamb 2003–2011

Henry was sworn in as Oklahoma's 26th governor on January 13, 2003, with the oath of office being administered by his cousin, federal appeals court judge Robert Harlan Henry. As governor, he was a member of the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Democratic Governors Association. He was the president of the Council of State Governments in 2007.

Henry was generally seen as a moderate Democrat. ..... He has a mixed view of racial affirmative action, supporting it in college and graduate schools, but not in hiring for the bureaucracy. Henry supports expanding public healthcare and holding HMOs accountable for poor care; however, he also is in favor of upholding the death penalty and is against gun control. The governor supports tax cuts for the lower and middle classes and believes in keeping the income tax; he also supports using the "War on Drugs" strategy to combat methamphetamine use within his state.

Henry made national headlines by giving sanctuary from the controversial redistricting warrant to Texas Democrats in that state's legislature by allowing them to travel across state lines into Oklahoma en masse to deny a quorum for voting on a redistricting plan. "Our position is that, without a warrant signed by a judge, we have no authority. Even under those circumstances, we are hesitant to get pulled into a Texas political battle. If we're going to do battle with Texas, we prefer that it be on the football field," Henry said through his spokesman.

On May 27, 2004, Governor Brad Henry issued Executive Order 04-21, which created the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council. The Ethnic American Advisory Council then published an English translation of the Quran embossed with the Oklahoma State seal which was then distributed to 149 Oklahoma state legislators. There were 35 lawmakers who declined to accept the copy of the Quran that they were offered. After refusing the copy of the Quran, Republican State Representative Rex Duncan wrote a letter to his colleagues explaining, "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology."

..... He also was a strong supporter of a ballot proposal to establish a statewide lottery to benefit schools.

FEMA - 35188 - FEMA Administrator Paulison with Governor Henry in Oklahoma
Henry with FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison, 2008

In 2004, he signed a bill into law that set out a total of $2,100 in across-the-board salary increases for state employees, public school teachers and state troopers.

..... The veto was overridden and was the first override in Oklahoma since 1994, when Gov. David Walters was in office. That law was struck down by a state district court, but passed again in April 2010, whereupon Henry again vetoed it. His veto was again overridden. .....

Despite high job approval ratings and avoidance of controversy, Oklahoma voters approved a term limit holding the governor to a total length of time of eight years in office. The law already provided for a term limit of two consecutive terms for the governor. This effectively prohibited Henry, then 47, from making a comeback attempt at a later date.

Oklahoma Supreme Court appointments

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

  • James E. Edmondson – 2003
  • Steven W. Taylor – 2004
  • Tom Colbert – 2004, making Henry the first governor to appoint an African American justice to the Court.
  • John F. Reif – 2007
  • Doug Combs – 2010

Budget proposals

Governor Henry submitted the following budgets to the Oklahoma Legislature: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Post-Gubernatorial Career

Henry was seen as a candidate for President of the University of Central Oklahoma. However, the state's largest newspapers, The Daily Oklahoman and The Tulsa World, both editorialized against the appointment of Henry as UCO president by the UCO Board of Regents, which was appointed by Henry. Another candidate, Don Betz, was named to the position. Henry was considered a likely choice to be Dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. However, U.S. Federal Magistrate Valerie Couch was appointed. As governor, Henry appointed 5 members of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and delivered the 2010 commencement address at the OCU School of Law.

In 2013, supporters had asked Henry to run in the 2014 elections against incumbent Republican governor Mary Fallin, but he declined. However, Henry said the term limit initiative voters passed didn't apply to him as he had already been term limited by the State Constitution before the proposition was approved. Henry was considered a contender for the 2014 U.S. Senate Special Election, but ultimately did not run. He would also be sought out for the election for a full term 2 years later, but again, was not a candidate.

On June 8, 2016, Henry joined the law firm Spencer Fane.

Election results


Oklahoma 2002 gubernatorial election map
Oklahoma gubernatorial election 2002 results map. Red denotes counties won by Steve Largent, Blue denotes those won by Brad Henry.
Summary of the November 5, 2002 Oklahoma gubernatorial election results
Candidates Party Votes %
  Brad Henry Democratic Party 448,143 43.27%
  Steve Largent Republican Party 441,277 42.61%
  Gary Richardson Independent 146,200 14.12%
Total 1,035,620 100.0%
Source: 2002 Election Results


Oklahoma 2006 gubernatorial election map
Oklahoma gubernatorial election 2006 results map. Red denotes counties won by Ernest Istook, Blue denotes those won by Brad Henry.
Summary of the November 7, 2006 Oklahoma gubernatorial election results
Candidates Party Votes %
  Brad Henry (Incumbent) Democratic Party 616,033 66.50%
  Ernest Istook Republican Party 310,273 33.50%
Total 926,306 100.0%
Source: 2006 Election Results
kids search engine
Brad Henry Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.