Jari Askins has served the people of Oklahoma for more than 30 years in a variety of roles ranging from judge to legislator to Lieutenant Governor. She currently serves as Administrative Director of the Courts where, under the supervision of the Chief Justice and the Oklahoma Supreme Court, she coordinates judicial operations and personnel throughout the state. The Administrative Office of the Courts also provides leadership and staff support for the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Oklahoma Children’s Court Improvement Project, the Board of Certified Courtroom Interpreters and the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission.
Prior to assuming her current position, Jari served as special advisor to the governor on child welfare and Pinnacle Plan implementation. In that role, Jari worked with the Department of Human Services lending her expertise to the state’s reform of the foster care system.
When Jari was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 15th Lieutenant Governor in 2007, she achieved the rare distinction of being involved in leadership roles in all three branches of state government. She served as Special Judge for the District Court of Stephens County from 1982-1990. In 1991, the governor appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board, which elected Jari as its first woman chairman. She later served as Executive Director of the Pardon and Parole Board and as Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the Governor. In 2014, Governor Fallin called upon Jari to once again lead the Pardon and Parole Board by serving as the agency’s interim executive director.
Jari was elected to the House of Representatives from District 50, Duncan, and served her full 12-year term limit. During her last term, she became the first woman to lead a caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature when she was elected Democratic House Leader. She was elected Lt. Governor in 2006 and served until 2011. After leaving elective office, Jari served as Associate Provost for External Relations at the OU Health Sciences Center with her primary focus on the new Stephenson Cancer Center.
She serves on the Board of Directors of Duncan Regional Hospital and the Board of Trustees for the Dean McGee Eye Institute Foundations. Jari was born and reared in Duncan where she is a member of the First Christian Church and still sings in her church choir.