by Kim Jarrett
U.S Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is stepping down from his Senate seat.
The senator said in a letter to Oklahoma Secretary of State Brian Bingman he and his wife, Kay, felt like it was time to “stand aside and support the next generation of Oklahoma leaders.”
Inhofe will retire Jan. 3. Oklahoma election law requires a special election to fill the seat and serve the rest of Inhofe’s term, which ends in 2027. The election will be held with the current midterm schedule.
Inhofe serves as the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and on the Small Business and Environment and Public Works committees. He was first elected to the Senate in 1994.
Inhofe said his letter to Bingman he was endorsing his chief of staff, Luke Holland, as his successor, and called Holland “a fierce conservative and the best person to continue my legacy of a strong national defense and investment of local infrastructure.”
The senator’s career in public service began in 1967.
“For years, Kay and I were focused on our family and building our business together,” Inhofe said in a statement. “Then, one day, I needed a dock permit. I had to visit 27 government offices to get a single dock permit, and realized if we wanted the government to work for the people, not against the people, it was up to us to make a change.”
Oklahoma leaders praised Inhofe for his years of service.
“Sen. Jim Inhofe has served the State of Oklahoma with unwavering devotion,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a statement. “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.”
U.S Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said the Senate was losing a warrior.
“His legacy in the Senate will be remembered as a fighter for our military service members and our nation’s infrastructure,” Lankford said in a statement. “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.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Inhofe one of Oklahoma’s fiercest advocates.
“But Jim’s legacy of consequential public service extends even beyond our borders,” McConnell said in a statement. “As a longtime member and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, his advocacy for his fellow veterans and for the men and women serving today in uniform has helped make America safer and our power more respected around the world.”
– – –
Kim Jarrett reports for The Center Square. Kim’s career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.
Photo “Jim Inhofe” by United States Senate Photography. Background Photo “U.S. Senate” by U.S. Senate.