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“Governor Henry Bellmon was the first statewide elected official I ever met when I was 10 years old at Carl Albert State College. Meeting this great leader had a tremendous impact on me then, and still does to this day.
“He was a true champion of improving education in Oklahoma. The landmark legislation he championed, House Bill 1017, pulled education out of the gutter in Oklahoma and provided it with a standard driven system that emphasized student achievement unlike anything that had ever been done before.
“Bellmon was an Oklahoman first, and his service set a high bar for anyone who aspires to be a public servant.
“We should all remember the statesmanlike leadership Bellmon displayed throughout his life, especially during this current polarized political environment we now so often find ourselves.
“Bellmon loved Oklahoma; his love and passion for this state was infectious. Many generation of Oklahomans and those yet born are simply better off because of that love and passion.
“I will miss Governor Bellmon, and am committed to work tirelessly with those on both sides of the aisle to realize the vision he had for our state and its people.”