For Immediate Release: April 4, 2007
Former Senator Gary Gardenhire addresses the State Senate on
with Senator Jonathan Nichols at right and son Damon Gardenhire
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
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