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OKLAHOMA CITY – A few days after Mark Costello tragically lost his life at the hands of his own son, his wife Cathy wrote a letter to Governor Mary Fallin.

She wrote of her concern that her husband’s work as Labor Commissioner, and his dreams for Oklahoma continue despite losing him. The letter reads in part:

“One week ago today, his life was tragically and horrifically cut short before my eyes.”

Cathy Costello asked Governor Fallin to consider appointing her husband’s Chief of Staff, Jim Marshall, to take his place. If not Jim, then Cathy asked that she be considered for the post, stating,

“It is deeply important to me and our children to see his legacy fulfilled at the Department of Labor.”

She also mentioned that she and her husband had financially supported the Governor and other Republican leaders.

Political expert and OU Professor of Political Science, Keith Gaddie said it makes sense for Cathy Costello to seek her husband’s elected office.

“A spouse is supposed to be a good symbolic appointment because you’re continuing whatever the incumbent had done. Presumably a spouse will continue in their tradition”, said Gaddie, pointing to political precedent, both here in Oklahoma, and at the Federal level.

Oklahoma Law also supports Cathy Costello. The law states in part that when an elected official dies,

“said surviving spouse shall be eligible (if otherwise qualified) to be appointed to and to hold said  office during the term for which the said officer was elected.”

Gaddie says there is a downside to passing the seat of an elected official to a spouse.

“It seems to take a lot of other perfectly qualified players off the table but it allows continuity in office while the competitors sort out what they want to do.”

Now, it will be up to the Governor to decide who fill the vacancy at the Labor Commission.


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