Gov. Brad Henry has appointed Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth to replace Denise Bode on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Bode is resigning from her post on the commission, which regulates utilities, telecommunications and oil and gas drilling in Oklahoma.
Roth's appointment will make him the first and only openly homosexual person to hold a statewide office in Oklahoma when he assumes his new role June 1.
"Jim Roth has the intellect, the integrity and the dedication to public service needed to be an outstanding corporation commissioner," said Henry. "Not only does he exemplify the highest ethical standards, but he is a consensus-builder who recognizes the importance of bipartisanship and working together. I am confident that Jim's fair-mindedness, honesty and attention to detail will make him an excellent addition to the commission."
Roth said he accepted the appointment after learning Gov. Henry's vision for the position.
"To take advantage of Oklahoma's unique natural resources, its energy and its agriculture, and to reposition it for the sake of America's energy independence for the sake of all of our Oklahoma neighbors," said Roth. "To start looking at the things (the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University) and great Oklahoma assets like the Noble Foundation are looking at biomass and biofuel - and issues of sustainability we need to be talking about as a country and as a state."
Roth, an attorney trained at Oklahoma City University School of Law, also has a political science degree from Kansas State University. He is also a National Security Forum graduate of the United States War College and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. After practicing law in a private practice in Oklahoma City, Roth joined the staff at Oklahoma County in 1995, serving as chief deputy under the county clerk and chief deputy county commissioner for District 1 before he was elected to the office of county commissioner.
Roth considers his unfamiliarity with many of the energy and regulatory issues governed by the Corporation Commission as an asset, not a liability.
"I approach the issues without bias, without predetermination, ready to learn and make fair decisions," said Roth. "I'm a ratepayer. I too have electricity, I too have cell phones, so I also have that consumer perspective."
His background in law will also assist him in the quasi-judicial role of commissioner, he said. …