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Jim Barker
[[file:Barker Jim Speaker 1989.jpg|frameless|alt=]]
Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives

In office
September 19, 1983 – May 17, 1989
Preceded by Daniel Draper
Succeeded by Steve Lewis
Member of the
Oklahoma House of Representatives
from the 13th district

In office
Preceded by Drew Edmondson
Succeeded by Bill Settle
Personal details
Born June 20, 1935
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Died April 25, 2005(2005-04-25) (aged 69)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kay
Alma mater Northeastern Oklahoma State University
Occupation businessman
Religion Baptist

Jim Barker (June 20, 1935 – April 25, 2005) was a Democratic politician from the U.S. state of Oklahoma. He is the only state representative to serve four times as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.[1]

Barker authored several bills that became national models and addressed as fiscal crisis in the state during his time as speaker. He was ousted from office during his fourth term, due to political infighting. He died April 25, 2005, of a stroke in Oklahoma City.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on June 20, 1935, Barker graduated from the Oklahoma Military Academy and earned a degree in business administration from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in 1957.[2] He was the son of Fred and Pearl Barker.[3] He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division and returned to Oklahoma to found Muskogee Restaurant Supply.[2] He married Kay Tucker.[2] He was a World War II veteran.[3]

Political career[edit | edit source]

Barker was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1969, but served only one term, before returning to serve from 1977 through 1990.[4] He was first elected speaker in 1983, following the conviction of the former speaker on fraud charges.[5] As speaker, he inherited a fiscal crisis brought on by the collapse of the oil boom and a severe depression in the agricultural sector.[6] Barker addressed the crisis by diversifying Oklahoma's revenue base and a series of tax increases.[6] When Chickasha-area state representatives resisted tax increases, Barker hinted that the University of Science and Arts in Oklahoma's funding might be in jeopardy.[7]

Barker authored many bills that became national role models, among them five pieces of legislation titled the Victim Bill of Rights.[8] As speaker he was an early author of the state's Rainy Day Fund legislation, which established a set-aside for state emergencies.[8]

Barker was ousted from his post as speaker on May 17, 1989,[9] due to political infighting.[10]

Later life and death[edit | edit source]

Barker moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, and worked as a lobbyist after his term as a state representative ended.[2] He died on April 25, 2005, leaving his wife, Kay, a widow.[8] The cause of death was a stroke that occurred while he was at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City.[3]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Legislature considering renaming bridge for area men, Muskogee Phoenix, March 8, 2008 (accessed June 15, 2013).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Biographical sketch of Jim Barker, University of Oklahoma. (accessed July 14, 2013)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 political graveyard (accessed July 14, 2013)
  4. Historic Members Archived 2013-06-22 at WebCite, Okhouse.gov (accessed June 17, 2013)
  5. House speaker role assumed by Jim Barker, The Oklahoman, September 20, 1983 (accessed June 15, 2013).
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Century to Remember Archived 2012-09-10 at the Wayback Machine., Okhouse.gov (accessed June 17, 2013)
  7. Joyce, Davis D. An Oklahoma I Had Never Seen Before: Alternative Views of Oklahoma History, p. 349, University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8061-2945-X (accessed June 14, 2013)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jim Barker Obituary on Legacy.com (accessed July 8, 2013)
  9. Morgan, David R. Oklahoma Politics and Policies, University of Nebraska Press, 1991. (accessed via Google Books on June 20, 2013)
  10. Past Oklahoma officials trouble with law, The Oklahoman, June 17, 2008 (accessed June 15, 2013).

External links[edit | edit source]

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