September 29, 2017
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), spoke on the Senate floor this week to commemorate President of the University of Oklahoma David Boren.
Sen. Inhofe remarks as prepared for delivery:
A lot of people who have been around this Senate for a while remember the name of David Boren, from my state of Oklahoma. He was a Senator here for quite some period of time. He went on to be the Oklahoma University President.
I’m excited about recognizing him in a special way because David Boren and I in 1967, before any of you were born, were elected to the State Legislature in the state of Oklahoma. At that time people thought of Oklahoma as a red state. It wasn't a red state. We had a House of Representatives and only seven were Republicans, the rest were Democrats. The way it is set up, you have two members per desk. They would have two Democrats at one desk and two Republicans at another desk. It came out uneven so the only integrated desk was ours, David Boren and myself.
In January 1967, we came to Washington and were going to testify before the Environment and Public Works Committee. I do not remember his name, but a popular Democrat from West Virginia was the chairman of that committee. And I remember standing up and testifying as a junior Senator from the state of Oklahoma and I really thought I was something. It was right after the Johnson administration and I was protesting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, taking private property away from people and all of that.
I ended up chairing that same committee a few years later, but David Boren and I testifying before that committee in January of 1967 was the beginning. David Boren being a Democrat and myself being a Republican coming from a very strong almost entirely Democrat state, we started introducing reforms. All of the reforms in that decade were the product of Democrat David Boren and Republican Jim Inhofe. None of them ever passed, but we introduced these things.
So we had a governor at that time. It's not necessary to mention his name. He was a corrupt governor. He ended up in the penitentiary. We put together a plan of how to get him out of office. I would run for governor as a Republican. I would win my nomination. He would run for governor as a Democrat, and of course he most likely would lose, he was running against a very popular Democrat named Clem McSpadden.
As it turned out, he won.
Being from a solid Democratic state, I remember calling him up and saying “what do we do now?” I think I had been best advised to just go out of town until the campaign was over. We spent time together and had a great time.
David did a great job as the University of Oklahoma's president. As president, he would actually teach classes. He always put students first. It’s fitting he announced his retirement this year because this is his 50th year of public service. He leaves a legacy of dedication, hard work and public service. His influence has shaped Oklahoma more than I think he ever thought he could.
His daddy was Lyle Boren, who was a very popular Democrat House member for a long period of time and we all became very close friends.
I don't think there has been a man who loved Oklahoma more and served our state more faithfully than David Boren. God bless you, David Boren. Enjoy your retirement.