OKLAHOMA CITY – Tuesday (September 8), Cathy Costello, the widow of slain Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, requested that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin appoint her to serve the remainder of her husband’s term.
“So many in our state have been grieving over the loss of my late husband Mark. I cannot thank you enough for the tremendous support you have shown to me and my family during this time,” Costello said in a letter delivered to Fallin on Tuesday.
“As you know, Mark and I have been partners in everything since the day of our marriage. Throughout our 33 years in business, we have successfully launched 8 businesses in 6 different industries with service in over sixty countries worldwide, all while raising and educating our 5 children. We have always sought to use our resources to better the lives of those around us.”
Costello would join the wives of Presidents, Congressmen, and U.S. Senators who continued the work of their husbands after their death should she be appointed as Labor Commissioner.
“There is still work to be done,” Costello continued. “According to Oklahoma Statute 51.12, ‘If any officer of the state, district, county, city, town or other governmental subdivision of this state shall die while in office, and shall leave a surviving spouse, the said surviving spouse shall be eligible (if otherwise qualified) to be appointed to and to hold said office during the term for which the said officer was elected…’. In the history of our nation, and as recently as 2006, the practice known as the Widow’s Mandate has allowed 48 wives to continue the work they started with their husbands as their successors.”
As Labor Commissioner, Costello said she would continue working to improve workplace safety in Oklahoma. “As tragic as my experience was, it is not unique to me or my family,” she said Tuesday.
“Currently 2 million people suffer from work related violence every year in the United States, many of which are tied to some sort of mental illness. This is only one issue that impacts the workplace. One-in-five Oklahomans suffer from some type of mental illness that affects their ability to provide for their loved ones. We currently rank second in the nation for mental illness and it is one of the greatest challenges to our state economy.”
After learning that she was eligible to serve and receiving the encouragement of other elected officials, Costello decided to formally ask the Governor to allow her to continue her husband’s work.
“After the countless conversations with you, and the support of many citizens, the support offered by state and federal officials, as well as my business partner and brother-in-law Richard Costello and business leaders around the state, I formally ask that you allow me to finish the work that we started together,” she said.
Mrs. Costello said she is looking forward to working with Gov. Fallin and continuing to work toward a safer workplace so that Oklahoma move toward a brighter tomorrow.
Cathy Costello was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 22, 1959. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1981 where she met Mark. The couple was married in January 1982.
In front of his wife, Mark was murdered at the hand of his mentally ill son. Mark died in Cathy’s arms on Sunday, August 23, 2015. They would have been married for 34 years on January 8, 2016.