Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced two new staff hires late this afternoon, with businessman Bond Payne becoming his chief of staff and former Sen. Brian Bingman becoming his chief policy advisor.
“Bond Payne will play a key role in helping us build bridges both inside the Capitol and out in the community. He will be a trusted sounding board for me as we work together to carry out my vision of making Oklahoma a top-10 state,” Stitt said in a press release. “I am excited to use Sen. Bingman’s vast experience to partner with the Legislature to make our state a better place to live and work for all 4 million Oklahomans. He understands the process to get things accomplished at the Capitol and will be a great resource for my administration and our state.”
Payne succeeds Michael Junk as Stitt’s chief of staff. Junk announced last month that he would be pursuing other employment opportunities and was returning to Tulsa to be closer to his family.
Bingman becomes the second former member of the Oklahoma State Senate to join the Stitt administration alongside Secretary of Budget Mike Mazzei. Their tenures overlapped in the Oklahoma Legislature’s upper chamber, and from 2011 through 2016 Bingman served as president pro tempore of the Senate, its highest position. That made him the longest-serving Senate pro tem since Republicans took control of the body a decade ago.
“I am honored to be asked to join Gov. Stitt’s team, and I am ready to dive in and get to work,” Bingman said in the release. “Our colleagues in the Legislature share our desire to make Oklahoma a top-10 state, and together we can accomplish great things.”
Current Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC) praised Bingman’s time in the Legislature.
“During his time as Senate leader, Brian Bingman successfully championed conservative policies like workers’ comp reform and other policies that laid the groundwork for Oklahoma becoming a top-10 state,” Treat said in the release. “His respect for the interaction, the equality and the unique roles of the legislative, executive and judicial branches will be a good addition to the governor’s team. I respect Brian Bingman and am proud to call him a friend.”
A former mayor of Sapulpa, Bingman ran for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in 2018, losing to 30-year incumbent Commissioner Bob Anthony.
Humphreys: Bond Payne ‘a respected leader’
Payne is considerably less well known in the State Capitol than Bingman. Payne, whose first name is Stephen, co-founded Heritage Trust Company and remains its chairman. He also serves as vice chairman of corporate development for Argent Financial Group, which merged with Heritage Trust Company in 2016.
“It is an honor to be able to serve Gov. Stitt and my home state during this challenging time for Oklahoma,” Payne said in the release. “I wholeheartedly embrace the governor’s goal of Oklahoma becoming a top-10 state and look forward to working with leaders across the state to make it happen.”
Michael Rogers resigns as Stitt’s secretary of education by Tres Savage
Payne holds a political science degree from Vanderbilt University, and like many Stitt confidants he is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a global leadership community of chief executives.
“I’ve known Bond Payne personally for more than 20 years and have worked with him closely in many important initiatives,” former OKC Mayor Kirk Humphreys said in Stitt’s press release. “Bond is a respected leader in the Oklahoma City business and civic community and will serve Gov. Stitt and all of Oklahoma with distinction.”
Like Humphreys, Payne was a founding board member of John Rex Charter School in downtown Oklahoma City.
Stitt’s release said both Payne and Bingman would join his team by Sept. 1 at the latest.
Later Thursday, NonDoc confirmed that Secretary of State Michael Rogers had resigned from his additional positions of secretary of education and chief policy negotiator for the Stitt administration.