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OLA 2015: Opening General Session
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Opening General Session with Jari Askins

Date: Thursday, April 30
Time: 8:45 am – 10:00 am

Photo of Jari AskinsJari Askins has served the people of Oklahoma for over 30 years. After leaving elective office, in 2011, she was named Associate Provost for External Relations at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In that capacity she provided leadership for the services offered at the OUHSC with a priority focus on the Stephenson Cancer Center as Director of Marketing and Outreach. In August, 2014, Askins was running her own consulting company, JARICO, LLC, when she was asked to return to public service as Interim Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. When Jari was sworn in as Oklahoma's 15th Lieutenant Governor in 2007, she achieved the rare distinction of being involved in public service in all three branches of state government.

Born and reared in Duncan, Askins received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and earned a Juris Doctorate from the OU College of Law. She served as Special Judge for the District Court of Stephens County for eight years, from 1982 - 1990. In 1991, the Governor appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board, which elected her as its first woman chairman. She later served as Executive Director of the Pardon and Parole Board and as Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the Governor. Askins was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1994 from District 50 and served her full term limit of 12 years. During her last term, Askins became the first woman to lead a caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature when she was elected Democratic House Leader. She won statewide election as Lieutenant Governor in 2006.

Askins received numerous awards during her career in public service. Honors include "outstanding legislator" awards from more than three dozen organizations, Leadership Oklahoma's Outstanding Graduate, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women’s Kate Barnard Award, the Association for Women in Communications’ Byliner Award, and the Commitment to Excellence Award from The Oklahoma Academy. In 2001, Jari was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame. Since leaving office, Jari has received the 2012 Pioneer Woman Award from the Pioneer Woman Museum Advisory Board; the William G. Paul Oklahoma Justice Award from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma; and the Spirit of the Urban Indian Award from the Oklahoma City Indian Health Clinic.

Askins serves on the Board of Directors of Arvest Bank in Southwest Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame; the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence; the Board of Trustees for Phillips Theological Seminary and Dean McGee Eye Institute Foundation. She is a member of the First Christian Church in Duncan, where she still sings in the church choir.

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