Lt. Gov. Jari Askins to give commencement address at NEO Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will address an estimated 375 graduates from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College at the 88th commencement ceremonies Thursday. 

The commencement ceremonies for NEO A&M College will begin at 8 p.m. at Red Robertson Field.  In case of inclement weather, graduation ceremonies will be held in the NEO Gymnasium.   

"Lieutenant Governor Askins has dedicated her career to serving the citizens of Oklahoma," said Dr. Jeffery Hale, president.  "She remains a tireless advocate for quality, affordable public higher education. It is exciting to have Lt. Gov. Askins join the NEO A&M College community for the 2009 commencement ceremonies."

Askins was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 15th lieutenant governor in 2007.

Born and raised in Duncan, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and earned a Juris Doctorate from  the OU College of Law. 

She served as special district judge for the district court of Stephens County from 1982 until 1990.  The following year, the governor appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board.  She was the  first female to chair the board.  Askins later served as executive director for the Pardon and Parole Board and as deputy general counsel to the governor. 

In 1994, residents of District 50 in Stephens, Comanche and Cotton counties elected Askins to represent them in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She served them for 12 years. 

During her final term, Askins earned the position of Democratic House Leader.  She was the first woman to lead a caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature. 

Askins was elected to serve as Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor in November of 2006, becoming the first Democratic woman to attain that position. 

On Jan. 8, 2007, Askins took the oath of office.

Askins has received numerous awards during her career in public service. Her honors include distinctions as an outstanding legislator from more than two dozen organizations, the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation President’s Award, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women Kate Barnard Award and the Commitment to Excellence Award from the Oklahoma Academy. 

In 2001, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

Askins is a director of Arvest Bank in Duncan and a member of the Duncan Noon Lions Club, the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Academy of State Goals and the First Christian Church. 

As lieutenant governor, Askins is president of the State Senate. She also serves on numerous boards and commissions, chairing the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission and the Oklahoma Film and Music Advisory Commission.

Gov. Brad Henry has appointed her the task of providing assistance to small business owners throughout the state.  She also participates in and promotes various economic development projects and supports legislation and innovative means of providing greater opportunities for Oklahoma’s citizens.