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Oklahoma lawmakers react to Sen. Jim Inhofe's retirement

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford to host invite only town hall
Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 23:28:42-05

TULSA, Okla. — It's official - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced his resignation on Friday in a news conference.

Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement after the announcement:

“Senator Jim Inhofe has served the State of Oklahoma with unwavering devotion. At every turn, Oklahoma has benefited from his profound vision for a strong national military, robust infrastructure system, and vibrant domestic energy production. I am grateful he has committed to serving the state and our nation through the end of 2022.”

Fellow Senator James Lankford (R-OK) talked about the legacy Inhofe would leave behind:

“Cindy and I are deeply grateful for the service and friendship of Jim and Kay Inhofe. The Senate is losing a warrior. His absence will be felt, and he will be missed. But we are thrilled for him and Kay, along with their family, to get more time together in the days ahead.

His legacy in the Senate will be remembered as a fighter for our military service members and our nation’s infrastructure. Oklahomans will remember his leadership when they’re driving on sound highways and bridges—but he will also be known for his love for Jesus and his love for sharing Jesus with the world.

On behalf of Oklahoma, we are grateful for the dedication he and Kay have given to our state. He will truly be missed in the Senate.”

Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) spoke highly of Inhofe's contribution to Oklahoma:

“Today, the great state of Oklahoma, past and present members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation and the entire United States Senate celebrate the impactful career of Senator Jim Inhofe.

For five decades, Jim has served the people of Oklahoma with the utmost integrity and purpose. Long before serving in the U.S. Senate, Jim began his tireless work for his community in the Oklahoma Legislature and later as the mayor of Tulsa. Senator Inhofe’s calling- whether it be from the importance of family and serving those around you or from his moral compass and patriotism- is a combination of duty and decency.

To watch and work with Senator Inhofe is to witness a true statesman. Jim’s work advocating for numerous policies and practices that be believed were worthy of his country has made our entire nation stronger, safer, and has made a loving impact on millions of families across the United States. But we all know Jim takes greatest pride in the many ways he helped his fellow Oklahomans back home. From being a larger-than-life advocate for Oklahoma’s military installations to improving infrastructure across the state, Jim Inhofe has made an impact on Oklahomans that will be felt for generations.

While I know he is happy to spend more time with his loving family, fortunately, the Oklahoma delegation and the Senate are not bidding farewell to Jim Inhofe just yet.

Lynda and I are honored to call Senator Inhofe and Kay dear friends and we thank them both for their shared public service to a grateful state.”

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) praised Inhofe in his statement:

“Senator Inhofe has dedicated his life to serving our state and our country. Serving in both chambers of both our state and federal governments, he has been a strong and steady voice for Oklahomans every step of the way. His accomplishments for Oklahoma are too many to name and his commitment to our men and women in uniform is too great to be matched. I have no doubt we are better off today because of his tireless service and I am truly at a loss for words in describing my gratitude. While I will sincerely miss him in Washington, I wish him and Kay nothing but the best in their well-deserved retirement in the Sooner state.”

Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) reflected on his time working with Inhofe:

“While I respect Jim Inhofe’s decision to retire in January of next year, I heard the news with a heavy heart. Jim Inhofe is the longest-serving federal elected official in Oklahoma history. He casts a giant shadow in Oklahoma political history.

I first met Jim Inhofe almost 50 years ago when I was a young Republican activist, and he was running for Governor in 1974. Jim didn’t win that race, but he went on to become the most consequential and effective political leader in Oklahoma history.

Jim was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 when I was Republican State Chairman. When he ran for the U.S. Senate, I was privileged to be one of his political consultants. And I was his chief pollster in his 1996 and 2002 Senate campaigns. It was an honor and an education to be part of his political team.

In 2002, in a late campaign development, I ran for the U.S. House when my friend and client J. C. Watts decided not to seek re-election. Jim was one of those who encouraged me to run for Congress, and he helped me every step of the way.

“Once I arrived in Washington, no one did more to help, advise, educate and support me than Jim Inhofe. He has been a role model, a mentor, and a wise counselor throughout my career.

In my time in Congress, no one has done more to defend America, build infrastructure across our country and fiercely defend and advance the interests of Oklahoma than Jim Inhofe. He leads our congressional delegation and represents our state with unmatched vision, energy and integrity. He is a giant in the Senate and the most important Republican leader in the history of our state.

Serving in Congress with Jim Inhofe has been one of the greatest privileges of my career. We have worked hand in hand on defense issues, infrastructure improvement and a range of issues impacting America’s and Oklahoma’s future. I always found that when I was working with Jim, I was on the right side for both America and Oklahoma.

I look forward to working with my friend Jim Inhofe in the months ahead to advance the interests of our state and our country. But when he retires from the Senate, no one will miss him more, no one will honor him more and no one will celebrate his service more than me. When Jim Inhofe leaves the Senate, America will be losing a great patriot and statesman. Oklahoma will be losing a relentless advocate and defender. And I will be losing a role model, a mentor and a great friend.

I wish Jim and his family well in his retirement. But I know Oklahoma and America will miss his leadership, integrity and vision in the years ahead. Very few political leaders are irreplaceable. In my opinion, Jim Inhofe is.”

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum took to Facebook thanking Inhofe:

I want to thank Senator Inhofe for his decades of service to our city, state, and country. No member of Congress in history has done more for Tulsa than Jim Inhofe, and our community looks forward to welcoming him home in his retirement.

Attorney General John O'Connor gave a statement hours after the announcement:

“Senator Inhofe has been an exemplary leader for Oklahoma and for the United States of America. I want to thank him for his 27 years of service in the U.S. Senate, and for all he has done for our great state over the course of his career. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of all Americans, dedicating his life and career to fighting for a safer and stronger America.

It is with great respect that I wish him, Kay and their entire family all the best in his final year of service and well-deserved retirement."

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