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Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth asked to return to public service

By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

Recently former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the Oklahoma Election Board.

Roth’s first gubernatorial appointment was by former Governor Brad Henry in 2007 when he was asked to serve as a State Corporation Commissioner.

Fallin has appointed three members and two alternates to the Oklahoma Election Board, the agency that handles state elections and oversees the state’s 77 county election boards.

Roth was named to the board as a Democratic member. The Oklahoma Senate must confirm his appointment as well as the other four appointees.

“I am very honored by Governor Fallin’s appointment, as I believe the foundation of our democracy is only as strong as the strength and integrity of our election processes. Every American deserves to have their voice heard and their vote counted,” said Roth.

Republican Governor Fallin is required under the new law that went into effect last month (Senate Bill 931) to name at least one Democrat and a Democratic alternate to the board. Previously, the governor was required to name two members from the political party with the most members in the State Legislature.

Others selected were Oklahoma City brokerage director Steve Curry and Edmond attorney Tom Prince as the Republican members. Tulsa investment company owner Jerry Buchanan would serve as a Republican alternate member and Norman adjunct professor Tim Mauldin would be a Democrat alternate member.

If confirmed, the three panel appointees along with the two alternates will all serve four-year terms.

Roth’s public service career began early in life. Roth graduated from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. After operating an Oklahoma City private practice, 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 until 2002.

That year Roth was first elected county commissioner and in 2006, was the first re-elected county commissioner in over a decade. While in office, he worked to improve new road construction throughout the county and better Medicaid programs.

As county commissioner, Roth’s office was responsible for 41% of the roads in Oklahoma County while receiving only 33% of the allotted funding. After trimming his staff, Roth managed to save $2 million in taxpayer money that funded these projects.

After the departure of Denise Bode, Jim Roth was handpicked by former Governor Brad Henry to serve as a Corporation Commissioner on June 1, 2007. Roth held the office through January 2009 losing a bid to win a full, six-year term in the 2008 elections.

During his time as a corporation commissioner, Roth voted as one of a two-member majority rejecting an application by the state’s two largest electricity utility companies to raise rates in order to build the most expensive power plant ever proposed in Oklahoma – a $1.9 billion coal-fired plant known as Red Rock.

Roth now works as an attorney for Phillips Murrah, LLC in the Transactional Department. He is a member of the Firm’s Energy & Natural Resources practice group and Chair of the Alternative “Green” Energy practice group.

HTe represents individuals and both publicly owned and private companies in a wide range of business, energy and environmental matters.

The focus of Roth’s practice is in the areas of clean energy and all public policy with environmental implications. Roth lectures on these issues and currently serves on the Advisory Board for The Institute for Energy Law, a division of The Center for American and International Law.

Roth also serves as Project Director for the Oklahoma Sustainability Network’s Green Building Code grant project, an effort funded by Oklahoma’s State Energy Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Roth writes a weekly column for The Journal Record, where he explores energy and environmental matters.

Born in Prairie Village, Kansas, Roth has called Oklahoma City home since 1991. A devoted community advocate and public servant, Jim says, “public service feeds my soul.”

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