According to the governor’s office, once two cabinet secretary nominees announced this week are confirmed, Gov. Kevin Stitt will have the most women working in his cabinet in state history.
While the new additions only bring that number up to four out of 15 positions, the governor’s team said it is a step in the right direction.
Stitt selected former oil executive Jennifer Grigsby as Secretary of Economic Administration and former lawmaker Susan Winchester Secretary of Licensing and Regulation.
“Just some talented Oklahomans,” Stitt told News 9 and News on 6. “Doesn’t matter to me if they’re women or men. I’m going to find the very best talent.”
As Secretary of Economic Administration, Grigsby will oversee more than 20 state agencies including the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, the Office of the State Treasurer, the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the State Auditor and Inspector
“A lot of these agencies, they have commissioners that oversee the primary decision-making, rulemaking for these organizations so I really will be a fresh set of eyes and will be able to work at executive directors, maybe help them identify efficiencies in the organization,” Grigsby said.
Grigsby was an executive at Chesapeake Energy for 18 years before following Aubrey McClendon to American Energy Partners. As a cabinet secretary, she’ll continue serving on the board of a Kansas-based bank holding company.
“It just feels like an opportunity to make Oklahoma a better state for residents, for the taxpayers and it’s just something that I’ve never done and it’s a fantastic opportunity,” Grigsby said.
A certified public accountant, Grigsby received a bachelor's degree in Accounting in 1991 from Oklahoma State University and her MBA from Oklahoma City University in 1999.
If confirmed, she’ll join Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard, and Secretary of Licensing and Regulation nominee Susan Winchester.
“The three other women that I’ll be serving with are just incredible women,” Grigsby said. “They’ve got incredible credentials; their hearts are tremendous. I’m just honored to be serving aside them.”
“Susan Winchester’s been around state government for a long time, she was the Pro Tem of the House, just a talented, talented person,” Stitt said.
Winchester returns to state government as secretary of licensing and regulation overseeing more than 80 state agencies with the goals of “cutting red tape, getting rid of excessive regulations and creating a system that encourages success instead of preserving mediocrity.” She is married to Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice James Winchester.
Grigsby said she expects the Senate confirmation process to be in the next couple weeks.