Widow Of Slain Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner Running For Husband's Former Office

Wednesday, August 2nd 2017, 2:42 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

The widow of former Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner Mark Costello is running for the seat her husband once held.

Mark Costello served as the Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner from 2010 until he was killed in 2015. Costello's son Christian, who has a history of mental illness, is charged with the crime and has been deemed mentally able to stand trial.

Wednesday Costello's widow, Cathy Costello, made the announcement.  

"Today I am formally announcing my candidacy for Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner," Cathy Costello said during a news conference.

Cathy Costello said she and her husband worked together to start several businesses and she helped him while he was labor commissioner. 

"I will advocate for jobs, job opportunities, job securities and reducing overreaching governmental regulations that destroy job growth."

Costello said, if elected, she will make mental health in the workplace a priority at the Department of Labor.

"Mental health issues are the leading cause of work performance loss, it is the second leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace, and it accounts for 30% of disability costs."

After all, Costello said, she knows firsthand the problems mental illness can cause in the workplace.

"Commissioner Costello and I watched our son struggle to stay employed with mental health issues. That same mental health issue took the predominant wage earner in my home," Costello explained. "I do not expect your vote nor would I want your vote because of the tragedy of my past. I ask for your vote because of my vision for the future."

Rep. Leslie Osborn (R) Mustang, who was recently stripped of her position as Appropriations and Budget Chair after a public disagreement with house leadership, has also expressed an interest in the job.  She has not responded to a request for comment.