Chris Benge (born September 9, 1962) is an American Republican politician from the U.S. state of Oklahoma and the current and 33rd Oklahoma Secretary of State. Benge was appointed to serve as Secretary of State by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on November 8, 2013.
Benge served as the Oklahoma House of Representatives as the Speaker of the House, a position he took over after Lance Cargill resigned in January 2008.
Benge was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. His term ended due to term limits in 2010.
Benge was born and raised in southwest Tulsa. He graduated from Webster High School in 1980 and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in business. Benge has managed a business, Benge Painting Company from 1981 to 1997.
Benge was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1998, narrowly defeating Shelby Satterfield, an incumbent Democratic candidate.
The first piece of legislation authored by the Tulsa lawmaker and signed into law was the "Prisoners Public Work Act". The legislation allows public agencies to enter into a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to utilize offender labor.
Prior to becoming Speaker of the House, Benge served as a House appropriations chairman and on one occasion criticized Gov. Brad Henry for proposing $18.8 million in bonds for common education ad valorem reimburesment.
As Speaker of the House, Benge presided over the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature. During this time, he pushed for energy reform in Oklahoma, stressing the need for the U.S. to wean itself from foreign oil rather than any concern about climate change.
Benge announced in January 2010 that his agenda for the upcoming session included reforming the workers' compensation system, promoting the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, modernizing state government through the use of more technology and creating a plan to deal with an expected shortfall.
Benge authored six bills signed into law by Governor Brad Henry from the 2009 legislative session.
House District 68 encompassed southwest Tulsa and a portion of Tulsa County outside of the city. It also included a small portion of Creek County. The district is a mix of urban Tulsa neighborhoods and Tulsa suburbs.