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Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell gives up workforce secretary role

Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell shakes hands with Governor Kevin Stitt moments before last year's State of the State Speech, Feb. 6, 2023, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. That summer, Stitt appointed Pinnell as Secretary of Workforce Development.
Abi Ruth Martin
/
Legislative Services Bureau
Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell shakes hands with Governor Kevin Stitt moments before last year's State of the State Speech, Feb. 6, 2023, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. That summer, Stitt appointed Pinnell as Secretary of Workforce Development.

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell resigned from his position as Secretary of Workforce Development Wednesday morning. He was appointed to the position last summer.

News of Pinnell’s resignation was first reported by online news outlet Nondoc the day after Attorney General Gentner Drummond released a legal opinion stating elected and appointed officials can only hold one state office at a time.

“If a state officer enters upon the duties of a second office in violation of the dual office holding prohibition, it operates as a vacation of the first office,” the opinion reads, referencing state statute.

Pinnell will remain in his elected position of Lieutenant Governor.

In a letter to fellow cabinet members and his own chief of staff hours before Drummond released his opinion, Pinnell cited his many other obligations as the reason for his decision.

“I believe it is time for me to step away from the Governor’s Cabinet,” Pinnel wrote. “With the number of boards and commissions that I currently serve on, and with the number of lieutenant governor requests for my time, I believe it is the best path.”

He chairs the Tourism and Recreation Commission and is a member of the Oklahoma Board of Equalization, the Commissioners of the Land Office, and the Capitol Improvement Authority, among others.

His is one of two departures from Stitt’s cabinet this week following Drummond’s opinion.

Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Tim Gatz, also vacated his positions as Secretary of Transportation and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

The governor’s spokesperson, Abegail Cave, said replacements for the two cabinet positions are pending, as the vacancies are so recent.

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Lionel Ramos covers state government for a consortium of Oklahoma’s public radio stations. He is a graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos with a degree in English. He has covered race and equity, unemployment, housing, and veterans' issues.
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