OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Brad Henry, serving the final year of his second and last term in office, said Thursday he is not actively pursuing a job after he leaves office but also hasn’t ruled anything out.
“There’s a tremendous amount of speculation,” Henry said about his political and professional future. “It’s a bit humorous to me — even a bit flattering.”
The 46-year-old, term-limited governor must leave office at the end of his current term in January 2011. And Henry, an attorney, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for an upcoming vacancy on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver or the next dean of the University of Oklahoma School of Law.
But Henry said he is focused on serving out his last year as governor. He said he is working closely with legislative budget writers to fill a $729 million hole in this year’s budget caused by the economic downturn and low energy prices as well as writing a budget for next year that will likely be more than $1 billion less then the current one.
“I love this job as governor,” Henry said.
Henry, a Democrat, repeated earlier statements that he will not be a candidate for another political office this year. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is seeking a second term, and no Democrat has formally announced plans to oppose him.
“Everything else is wide open,” Henry said.
Recent speculation has focused on the 10th Circuit position. The judgeship is currently held by Henry’s cousin, Chief Judge Robert Henry, who is giving up his lifetime seat in June to become the president of Oklahoma City University.
The two-term governor endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 and would likely be a leading candidate if he pursued the judicial slot.
Henry, a University of Oklahoma Law School graduate, may also be considering a position as dean of the law school in Norman. The job is currently held by Andy Coats, a former district attorney and mayor in Oklahoma City.
Henry’s wife, first lady Kim Henry, took a job in 2009 as executive director of the Sarkey’s Foundation in Norman, a private, charitable foundation that makes gifts and grants to charitable, scientific, and educational institutions.