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Snodgrass Named Secretary of Tourism
By Office of the Governor of Oklahoma
Governor Mary Fallin today announced the appointment of two new cabinet secretaries as part of a larger realignment of her cabinet. Dr. Robert Sommers, the current director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, was named secretary of education and workforce development. Deby Snodgrass, the executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, was named to the new position of secretary of tourism.
In an executive order filed today, Fallin renamed secretary of education, “secretary of education and workforce development.” Sommers begins serving in this new position immediately.
“Good schools help drive economic growth and job creation because they provide the education and training ground for our workforce,” Fallin said. “I have asked Dr. Sommers to focus his expertise on policies that will give students – including adult students – the skills they need to find and keep thing jobs that are increasingly coming to Oklahoma.”
"Raising the bar in education and improving our workforce means supporting and implementing the reform efforts already enacted by the legislature and being pursued by the State Department of Education, Oklahoma CareerTech, and Higher Education. Dr. Sommers has long been an advocate for the kind of accountability measures implemented in Oklahoma, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new cabinet level position."
Snodgrass’ cabinet post, secretary of tourism, is also a new position. Fallin said its creation reflects the importance of tourism to Oklahoma’s economy.
“Travel and tourism dollars generate over a billion dollars in annual revenue for Oklahoma’s state and local governments and help to support almost 80,000 jobs. Deby Snodgrass has ensured the Department of Tourism and Recreation is a productive and responsible partner to the private sector as it works to promote and support this industry. As a cabinet secretary, she will ensure that the tourism industry continues to be well-represented in the highest levels of the executive branch.”
Snodgrass begins serving in her cabinet position immediately.
Fallin also combined the positions of secretary of energy and secretary of environment, creating a new “secretary of energy and environment.” She has 30 days to fill this position with either a permanent or an interim cabinet secretary.
“Good energy policy is good environmental policy,” said Fallin. “The policies being pursued by this administration will not only help deliver more affordable energy and create more Oklahoma jobs, they will also deliver a healthier environment and cleaner air and water. The job of our secretary of energy and environment will be to focus on policies that encourage the production of Oklahoma energy and the good stewardship of Oklahoma’s environment.”
Finally, the executive order combines the secretary of information technology position wit position currently held by Preston Doerflinger, who will assume the expanded title and role of “secretary of finance, administration and information technology.” Former Secretary of Information Technology Alex Pettit will continue to serve as state chief information officer.
Fallin said the move to expand the secretary of finance’s title and responsibilities reflects the reorganizations that have occurred under government consolidation. With the former Office of State Finance now consolidated with several agencies to form the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the secretary of finance – also the director of OMES – now plays an expanded role.
More on Secretary of Tourism Deby Snodgrass
Deby Snodgrass has more than 30 years experience in marketing and public policy in the private sector. Prior to accepting the Executive Director’s post at the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Snodgrass served as Senior Director of Public Affairs for Chesapeake Energy. In that role, she developed and executed strategic political and public policy initiatives, managed both state and federal political action committees and monitored federal, state and local issues. Previous to her tenure at Chesapeake, Snodgrass was a founding partner of the public policy and research firm Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates. She has been a frequent guest speaker and has taught policy and strategy at various national and international venues.
Snodgrass was also a founding member of the Board of Directors for Friends of the Mansion, Inc. and is a former co-chair of "Opening Night," Oklahoma City's annual New Year's Eve celen. She served eight years on Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Commission and is a former board member for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City. She currently serves as a member of the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority and as an ex-officio board member of Allied Arts, and the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority.
Snodgrass also serves on the Oklahoma Compensation and Unclassified Positions Review Board and the Governor's Remuneration Study Group.