Roth's new job marks a state first 

When Gov. Brad Henry appointed Jim Roth to fill in the vacant Oklahoma Corporation Commission board seat, both the governor and Roth were making history.

For the first time in state history, an openly gay public official is in charge of a statewide office. However, Roth feels that aspect to his appointment is insignificant.

"I got involved in public service because the work interested me," Roth said. "My thought process into this was all about the work. I'm not naive. I understand. But to me, change is not about me but really about the service I want to do."

SIGNIFICANCE
While Roth underplays the significance of his appointment, political observers certainly understand.

"If you look at it from the gay angle, he is only the second to be elected to office" in Oklahoma, said University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie. "He's the first openly gay statewide official in the South. It's huge from that perspective."

According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute, Roth is the fifth openly gay statewide official in the country and first for any state in the South.

"My heart's desire is to serve, and I'm not going to not pursue passionately public service because of the fear of the unknown," Roth said. "The great majority of people are kind and considerate and intuitive, and they will hire someone to do their work if that person is the most qualified to do that work. I have left every campaign experience more enlightened because of the people I have met." "Scott Cooper

 

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