TULSA — He’s been a state representative, Secretary of State for Oklahoma, and now he’s the state’s top law enforcement official.
Monday, Attorney General Mike Hunter sat down with KRMG and our partners at FOX23 for an extensive interview on a wide range of topics.
He left no doubt that his plans include running for election to the same office in 2018.
“This is a job that I’m trained for, and I’ll have to work very hard to earn people’s vote,” he said.
So while he’ll be a candidate, he’s also got a lot on his plate serving out the term of former AG Scott Pruitt, who was appointed Administrator of the EPA by President Trump.
Early in the conversation, KRMG asked about the lawsuits filed by Pruitt against the EPA.
“We anticipate that our involvement with the federal government is going to be much more collaborative, much more cooperative,” Hunter said. “The lawsuits that are pending, we believe, are going to be settled in a way that’s favorable to the state, and restores what we think the traditional boundaries of the states and the federal government are.”
And he says, that doesn’t mean tossing out all oversight on the oil and gas industry.
“I’m convinced that we can have clean air and clean water without destroying the economy,” he said, “without costing this state hundreds of jobs.”
But he’s planning on continuing to push Oklahoma’s lawsuit against Colorado over that state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
“Our view is that the trafficking out of Colorado is very damaging to the state. We think that we have made our case. So far we have not gotten relief, but I’m optimistic that working with the State of Nebraska in a similar lawsuit, that we’re going to be successful.”
One problem plaguing state agencies is drastic budget cuts, but Hunter says happily, his office draws money from several sources that don’t involve appropriations.
“We’re in an unusual situation because we’re not 100 percent self-funded, but we’re primarily self-funded through legal activities on behalf of the state,” he explained. “We’re allowed to, when we win a judgement, we’re allowed to keep a small percentage of that judgement and keep that in a revolving fund to fund operations. We also get a percentage of the tobacco settlement monies every month.”
Hunter was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1984 and served for six years.
He was General Counsel for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission from 1993-94, and served as Chief of Staff for Oklahoma Congressman J. C. Watts from 1995-99.
He became Secretary of State under Governor Frank Keating from 1999 to 2002, and again for Governor Mary Fallin from November of last year until February of this year, at which time he was appointed as AG.
He also served as Secretary of the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office in 2009-10.
Hunter also worked with former Gov. Keating as EVP and COO of the American Council of Life Insurers.
He worked with Keating again as COO of the American Bankers Association before returning to Oklahoma again - “for good,” he told KRMG.