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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: April 4, 2007

Former Senator Gary Gardenhire addresses the State Senate on Wednesday, with Senator Jonathan Nichols at right and son Damon Gardenhire on left.
Former Senator Gary Gardenhire addresses the State Senate on Wednesday,
with Senator Jonathan Nichols at right and son Damon Gardenhire at left.

Senate Honors Public Service Career of Gary Gardenhire

The State Senate on Wednesday honored the public service career of former Senator Gary Gardenhire, passing a resolution wishing him well upon his retirement.

Gardenhire’s most recent role in public service concluded in February, when he retired from his position as General Counsel for the Oklahoma Health Department. Sen. Jonathan Nichols authored Senate Resolution 28, praising the distinguished veteran and lifelong public servant for his numerous contributions to the state.

“Gary Gardenhire devoted his life to serving his country and the state of Oklahoma,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “His distinguished career contributed greatly to the betterment of our state. Today we celebrate his career, his numerous accomplishments and all he has done for Oklahoma.”

Gardenhire’s career in public service began upon his graduation from the University of Texas in 1968. He was a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, and earned the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal. His service in Vietnam culminated in his role as fire support planner and coordination officer for the invasion of Cambodia along the “Fish Hook” sector of the Cambodian border. Leaving active duty, Gardenhire served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard from 1974 through 1976. He went on to serve in the United States Army Reserve from 1983 through 1990, and in 2001 he joined the staff of the 75th Division and served on active duty through 2003 as the Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Security.

Gardenhire received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1975. His business career included being a partner in an oil and gas exploration company and a financial consultant, in addition to his career in law. His state service began in 1981 when he served as Assistant State Attorney General, Chief of the Civil Division.

In 1986, he was elected to the state Senate, representing District 16. While in the Senate, Gardenhire served as Assistant Whip and as both Republican Party Caucus Secretary and Chair. He served on the state’s first Bond Oversight Committee, coauthored the endowed chair program for Oklahoma Higher Education, and participated in the creation of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

He was the principal author of the nation’s first state legislative term limit initiative, and was active in promoting and defending the term limit concept in courts and also public debate.

From 2000 to 2006, he served as General Counsel of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, where he defended the Health Department’s right to enact rules prohibiting smoking indoors in public places.

Gardenhire thanked the Senate both for recognizing his career and for maintaining an atmosphere of bipartisan cooperation throughout the legislative session.

“From a personal standpoint, I’m humbled and appreciative of this honor,” Gardenhire said. “On behalf of those I served with, I appreciate your recognition of my service in the Vietnam conflict. As an Oklahoman, I want to congratulate this body on steering this institution toward becoming a truly bipartisan endeavor.”

Gardenhire has been awarded with the Legion of Merit medal for his conduct and service in the United States Army during the Vietnam conflict, the Gulf War and during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Gardenhire retired after 36 years of service in the United States Army Reserve with the rank of Colonel in 2006.

For more information contact:
Senator Nichols' Office: (405) 521-5535

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