Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe’s decision to leave the Senate when the next Congress begins in January prompted tributes on Friday from elected officials in Washington and Oklahoma. Inhofe, 87, has been in the Senate since 1994. He served eight years in the U.S. House before winning the Senate seat. He also served as Tulsa mayor and in the state Legislature.
Inhofe, who has chaired two committees in the Senate — Armed Services and Environment and Public Works — said Friday, “Throughout our years there has been one constant – making the world safer and better for our 20 kids and grandkids and the next generation of Oklahomans. It is now time for that next generation of Oklahomans to have the opportunity to serve the state in the U.S. Senate.”
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford
“Cindy and I are deeply grateful for the service and friendship of Jim and Kay Inhofe. The Senate is losing a warrior. His absence will be felt, and he will be missed. But we are thrilled for him and Kay, along with their family, to get more time together in the days ahead.
“His legacy in the Senate will be remembered as a fighter for our military service members and our nation’s infrastructure. Oklahomans will remember his leadership when they’re driving on sound highways and bridges — but he will also be known for his love for Jesus and his love for sharing Jesus with the world.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt
“Senator Jim Inhofe has served the State of Oklahoma with unwavering devotion. At every turn, Oklahoma has benefited from his profound vision for a strong national military, robust infrastructure system, and vibrant domestic energy production. I am grateful he has committed to serving the state and our nation through the end of 2022.”
Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell
“I will forever be indebted to him for giving me my first job in politics and for his advice and counsel over the years. I’ve been inspired by his unwavering commitment to his family, to our state and to our country.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky
“Jim’s legacy of consequential public service extends even beyond our borders. As a longtime member and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, his advocacy for his fellow veterans and for the men and women serving in uniform today has helped make America safer and our power more respected around the world.”
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne
“For five decades, Jim has served the people of Oklahoma with the utmost integrity and purpose. Long before serving in the U.S. Senate, Jim began his tireless work for his community in the Oklahoma Legislature and later as the mayor of Tulsa. Senator Inhofe’s calling — whether it be from the importance of family and serving those around you or from his moral compass and patriotism — is a combination of duty and decency.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore
“In my time in Congress, no one has done more to defend America, build infrastructure across our country and fiercely defend and advance the interests of Oklahoma than Jim Inhofe. He leads our congressional delegation and represents our state with unmatched vision, energy and integrity. He is a giant in the Senate and the most important Republican leader in the history of our state.”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville
“Senator Inhofe has dedicated his life to serving our state and our country. Serving in both chambers of both our state and federal governments, he has been a strong and steady voice for Oklahomans every step of the way. His accomplishments for Oklahoma are too many to name and his commitment to our men and women in uniform is too great to be matched.”
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
“From reforming the Stigler Act to helping grow our defense and contracting capabilities to leading on Army Corps and water issues within our reservation, and navigating the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Senator Inhofe’s door was always open to the Cherokee Nation. Irrespective of whether we agreed or disagreed on a particular issue, he showed the Cherokee Nation respect and understood that Oklahoma’s past, present and future is inextricably linked to that of the tribes.”