Frank Keating

For the British sports journalist, see Frank Keating (journalist). For the American military officer, see Frank A. Keating.
Frank Keating
25th Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 9, 1995  January 13, 2003
Lieutenant Mary Fallin
Preceded by David Walters
Succeeded by Brad Henry
United States Associate Attorney General
In office
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Stephen S. Trott
Succeeded by Wayne Budd
Member of the Oklahoma Senate
In office
Member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born David Rowland Keating[1]
(1944-02-02) February 2, 1944[1]
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathy Keating
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of Oklahoma
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francis Anthony "Frank" Keating II[1] (born February 2, 1944) is an American politician from Oklahoma. He served as the 25th governor of Oklahoma from 1995 to 2003.

As of 2014, Keating is one of only four governors in Oklahoma history, in addition to George Nigh, Brad Henry and Mary Fallin, to hold consecutive terms and the first Republican to accomplish that feat. As governor, he oversaw the state's response to the Oklahoma City bombing. His term was also marked by the enactment of welfare reform and tax cuts.

Early life

Frank Keating was born on February 2, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Mary Ann (Martin) and Anthony Francis Keating.[2] He was born David Rowland Keating, but his name was changed to Francis Anthony Keating II when he was two.[1] Before he was six months old, his family moved to Oklahoma and settled in Tulsa.[3] A practicing Roman Catholic, Keating attended Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa, graduating in 1962. Keating attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he was president of the college student body and an editor of The Hoya,[4] receiving his Bachelor of Arts in history, in 1966. He obtained a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, in 1969, where he also was student body president.

Upon receiving his law degree, Keating began his career in law enforcement. The same year he finished law school, Keating was made a Special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Relocated to the West Coast, Keating was charged with investigating terrorism incidents in the area and other various duties. After years on the coast, Keating returned to Tulsa to become an assistant district attorney.

In 1973, Keating, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He would serve a single term in the House, until 1975, when he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate. He would serve in the Senate from 1975 until 1981. While in the Senate, Keating became the minority leader.[3]

Federal career

Keating’s law enforcement career and prominence in the Oklahoma Republican Party prompted newly elected President Ronald Reagan to appoint Keating as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.[5] Keating served from 1981 until 1983, serving for part of that time as chairman of all U.S. Attorneys. He gave up that post in 1983[6] to run for Congress in Oklahoma's 1st congressional district and nearly defeated House Budget Committee chairman Jim Jones, holding him to only 52 percent of the vote as Reagan carried the district.

Shortly after Reagan was sworn in for his second term, he appointed Keating to serve as an assistant secretary of the Treasury and later elevated him to associate attorney general, the third ranking official within the U.S. Department of Justice. These appointments made Keating the highest ranking Oklahoman during the Reagan administration. In his positions as assistant secretary of the Treasury and associate attorney general, Keating oversaw both the Justice and Treasury's law enforcement agencies. These included the United States Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Secret Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, all 94 U.S. Attorneys and the U.S. role in Interpol.

Late in the Reagan Administration, Keating continued to serve in the Justice Department in his role as associate attorney general. In 1990, President Bush elevated Keating to general counsel and acting deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, that department’s second highest office, under Secretary Jack Kemp. He would serve as deputy secretary until 1993. As was the case in the Reagan administration, Keating became the highest ranking Oklahoman in the federal government, under Bush.

On November 14, 1991, Bush nominated Keating to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, but with Democratic control of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Keating's nomination languished and no hearing was held before Bush's presidency ended. President Bill Clinton chose not to renominate Keating, instead nominating former Oklahoma Attorney General Robert Harlan Henry, who was subsequently confirmed.[7]

Gubernatorial campaigns


After two years of private life, in 1994, Keating received the Republican nomination for Governor of Oklahoma. In a three way race against Democratic nominee Jack Mildren and independent Wes Watkins, Keating received 47% of the vote and defeated the Democratic nominee by 17 points. Keating was sworn in as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma on January 9, 1995.


Keating faced Democratic nominee Laura Boyd, the first woman to receive a major party's nomination for Oklahoma Governor, in his 1998 re-election campaign. Keating won in a landslide victory, the second of four Governors in Oklahoma history to win two consecutive terms (after George Nigh) and preceding Democrat Brad Henry. He was the only Republican to do so before Mary Fallin in 2014.

Governor of Oklahoma

The Cabinet of Governor Frank Keating (1995–2003)
Office Name Term
Governor Frank Keating 1995–2003
Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin 1995–2003
Secretary of State Tom Cole 1995–1999
Michael J. Hunter 1999–2002
Kay Dudley 2002–2003
Attorney General Drew Edmondson 1995–2003
State Auditor and Inspector Clifton Scott 1995–2003
State Treasurer Robert Butkin 1995–2003
Insurance Commissioner John Crawford 1995–1999
Carroll Fisher 1999–2003
Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau 1995–2003
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett 1995–2003
Secretary of Administration Tom Brennan 1995–1997
Pam Warren 1997–2003
Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Howard 1995–2003
Secretary of Commerce Dean Werries 1995–1997
Ron Rosenfeld 1997–1998
Howard Barnett, Jr. 1998–1999
Russell M. Perry 1999–2000
Vacant 2000–2003
Secretary of Education Floyd Coppedge 1995–2003
Secretary of Energy Carl Michael Smith 1995–2002
Robert J. Sullivan, Jr. 2002–2003
Secretary of the Environment Gary Sherrer 1995–1997
Brian C. Griffin 1997–2003
Secretary of Finance and Revenue Tom Daxon 1995–2003
Secretary of Health and Human Services Ken Lackey 1995–1997
Jerry Regier 1997–2002
Howard Hendrick 2002–2003
Secretary of Human Resources Oscar B. Jackson Jr. 1995–2003
Secretary of the Military Stephen Cortright 1995–2003
Secretary of Safety and Security Robert Ricks 1995–2003
Secretary of Science and Technology W. Arthur Porter 1999–2003
Secretary of Tourism and Recreation Edward H. Cook 1995–1999
Jane Jayroe 1999–2003
Secretary of Transportation Neal A. McCaleb 1995–2001
Herschal Crow 2001–2003
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Norman Lamb 1995–2003

Oklahoma City bombing

Main article: Oklahoma City bombing

Within three months of taking office, on April 19, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed in the Oklahoma City bombing, in which the lives of 168 Oklahomans were lost and over 800 people were injured. The blast destroyed or damaged more than 300 buildings in the surrounding area, leaving several hundred people homeless and shutting down business.

Governor Keating mobilized relief and rescue teams to handle the crisis. Over 12,000 people participated in relief and rescue operations in the days following the blast. The national and worldwide humanitarian response was immediate and overwhelming. Governor Keating declared a state of emergency, which allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to activate 11 of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces to assist in rescue and recovery operations.

The national focus climaxed on April 23, when President Bill Clinton, along with Governor Keating and the Reverend Billy Graham, spoke in Oklahoma City. In the weeks following the bombing, rescue efforts ceased and the building was imploded. Through both his own works and the works of his wife Cathy Keating, Governor Keating gained both national and international attention for his efforts to help the victims and their families. Governor Keating also created a $6 million fund to assist victims and provide for college scholarships for children who lost a parent, or both parents, in the attack.

First term

Governor Keating set out with an agenda for the state under his administration, with many of his initiatives passed, despite an often hostile Democratic controlled Legislature. Many of Keating’s proposals were policies designed for growth and reform for Oklahoma. These included education reform, environmental protection, tax relief, road building, economic development, public safety, and tougher law enforcement. Keating created a public-private partnership to assure care for the indigent as well as a stronger medical education program.

Keating’s first major success was the passage of the first welfare reform law in the nation in 1995.[8][9] The success of the law served as a model for President Clinton’s welfare reform act of 1996. Keating managed to improve road and highway conditions throughout the state without raising taxes.

Keating implemented tougher parole policies and introduced a landmark truth-in-sentencing legislation. Keating also provided no amnesty when handling death sentence criminals, allowing all of those sentenced to death to be executed. Keating also raised the salaries of Oklahoma’s state troopers from the lowest in the nation to the 24th highest.

Keating appointed a special task force that created tougher regulations on Oklahoma’s hog and poultry industries.[10]

In 1998, Keating became the first governor in 50 years to achieve a tax cut in the state’s income tax. This combined with reduction in the sales tax, estate tax, and unemployment tax formed the largest tax break in the state’s history until that point.

Second term

Sworn in on January 11, 1999, Keating’s second term began with a progressive agenda, based primarily on education. In his 1999 inaugural address, Keating set four goals for Oklahoma for his second term:

  1. Raising Oklahoma’s ACT to the national average by 2005,
  2. Decreasing Oklahoma’s divorce rate by 50% before 2010,
  3. Ensure one out of every three Oklahomans has a college degree by 2010, and
  4. Raising Oklahoma’s per capita income to reach the national average by 2025

Keating focused largely on education. He increased spending for common, vo-tech, and higher education facilities throughout the state and introduced charter schools to Oklahoma for the first time. His policies and recommendations on education to the Legislature lead to the largest investment, over $100 million, on higher education. Keating, in 2000, also raised teacher pay by over $3000 annually, the largest raise Oklahoma’s teacher had ever experienced. Keating even managed to get higher educational facilities attracted to Tulsa for the first time. His legislative agenda required that all Oklahoma students take three years of math and four years of English, History and Science before graduation.

Along with the agenda set forth in his inaugural address, Keating sought to address out-of-wedlock births, substance abuse, and child abuse. Enlisting state government, community groups, and faith organizations, he organized the statewide initiative to strengthen marriage.

Keating struggled get workers' compensation reform and right to work laws enacted due to the political makeup of the Oklahoma Legislature. Keating adjusted policies, made new appointments to Oklahoma’s Worker’s Compensation Court, and took other measures to control Oklahoma’s rising worker’s compensation costs. He would have to wait two years to see his vision for a right to work fulfilled. The Legislature decided to propose right to work laws as a 2001 constitutional amendment. Keating’s six-year battle came to an end when, on September 21, 2001, Oklahomans approved the measure into law.

As he had done in first term, Keating sought to grant broad-based tax cuts. To further reduce taxes, Keating won passage of an income tax break and of the creation of Oklahoma’s earned income credit system to benefit the poor. Also, under Keating’s auspices, both Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature launched studies to examine Oklahoma’s tax system, with the purpose of overhauling the entire system. During the study, the complete elimination of Oklahoma’s income tax was proposed.

Keating signed a major criminal justice bill that reformed Truth in Sentencing law in Oklahoma.

In other legislative initiatives, Keating signed the repeal of Oklahoma's annual vehicle inspection program. He also granted state correctional officers and highway patrol troopers pay raises. Keating addressed the problems faced in Oklahoma’s Tar Creek Superfund site by appointing a task force on the issue.

Among Keating's other accomplishments; overseeing the largest road construction project in Oklahoma history and leading his state through devastating tornadoes in 1999. As a crowning achievement, Keating raised more than $20 million in private money towards completion of the Oklahoma State Capitol with a dome. The capitol was originally designed for a dome, but state funding for it had run dry during World War I.

Term limits prevented him from running for a third term; he was succeeded by Brad Henry as governor.

Oklahoma Supreme Court appointments

Governor Keating appointed the following Justices to the Oklahoma Supreme Court:

2000 Presidential election

During the 2000 presidential election, Keating, while still Governor of Oklahoma, was considered a potential candidate for the Republican nomination of Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush.


In 2002 he authored a children's book about Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers. Another children's book about Theodore Roosevelt followed in 2006. Keating's third children's book about the trial of Standing Bear was published in 2008. His most recent children's book about George Washington was published in 2012. Keating also served on the boards of the National Archives, the Jamestown Foundation, the Federal City Council and Mt. Vernon. He was president of the Federal City Council and chairman of the Mount Vernon Advisory Board. He currently lives in McLean, Virginia

Keating and his wife Cathy are the parents of three children, Carrie, Kelly, and Chip. In 2001, Cathy Keating was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to one of Oklahoma's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives being vacated by Steve Largent. In 2006, Chip Keating was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

On December 2, 2006 columnist Robert Novak suggested Keating might be a candidate for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination.[11]

On December 20, 2006, Keating visited Columbia, South Carolina, where he spoke to a group of GOP supporters about a possible 2008 Presidential bid.[12] On January 17, 2007, Keating was quoted in the Tulsa World as declining a possible run for the U.S. Presidency in 2008.[13] His reasons for not running were associated with the relative head starts in preparations of U.S. Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In February 2007 Keating appeared in Spartanburg, South Carolina and endorsed McCain's bid.[14]

Following his two terms as governor, Keating accepted a position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council of Life Insurers, the trade association for the life insurance and retirement security industry. Keating's former Secretary of State, Michael J. Hunter, served alongside his former boss at ACLI where Hunter served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

On January 1, 2011, Keating became president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.[15] Founded in 1875, the American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation's $14 trillion banking industry and its 2 million employees.

Keating served as a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force and Housing Commission at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[16][17]

Amid the immigration debate of 2013, Keating wrote an op-ed in which he announced support for "open borders" arguing that it would help Social Security and Medicare.[18]

On February 4, 2016, Keating joined the law firm of Holland & Knight as a partner.[19]


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4
  3. 1 2 Everett, Diana. Keating, Frank Anthony (1944– ), Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed April 4, 2013)
  4. Streeter, Bill (January 2011). "New Man at the Helm". ABA Banking Journal. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  5. Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating (accessed April 6, 2013).
  6. Keating resigns as U.S. Attorney,, Dec. 2, 1983 (accessed April 6, 2013)
  7. Google Search
  8. Welfare Reform in Oklahoma, Issue Papers (accessed April 6, 2013).
  9. History of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (accessed April 6, 2013).
  10. Biographical Note on Frank Keating, Oklahoma Department of Libraries (accessed April 6, 2013).
  11. Novak, Robert. Hamstringing Bush (accessed April 5, 2013)
  12. Keating visits South Carolina while mulling presidential run, (accessed April 6, 2013).
  14. Novak, Robert. Bill's Displeasure: McCain's New Backer (accessed April 5, 2013).
  15. Phil Mattingly, Former Oklahoma Governor Keating to Head Banking Trade Group, Bloomberg, Nov. 23, 2010.
  16. "Debt Reduction Task Force Members"
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Keating.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Stephen Trott
United States Associate Attorney General
Succeeded by
Wayne Budd
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Price
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Steve Largent
Political offices
Preceded by
David Walters
Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Brad Henry
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