Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Francis Anthony (Frank) Keating (born February 10, 1944) is an American politician who was the Republican Governor of Oklahoma from 1995 to 2003. He was the second governor and the first Republican to win two consecutive terms.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Keating's family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma before he was six months old. He graduated from Cascia Hall High School in 1962, received a B.A. in history from Georgetown University in 1966 and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1969. In the same year, Keating served as an FBI agent. In 1972, he returned to Tulsa, serving as an assistant district attorney. In 1974 he won a seat in the Oklahoma State Senate, serving seven years and rising to the level of Senate Minority Leader. In 1981, he was appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma by President Ronald Reagan. Keating became the highest ranking Oklahoman in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush Administrations, serving in the Justice, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Departments. In 1985 he was named Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, beginning seven years of service in various agencies under the Republican administrations. President George H. W. Bush appointed him in 1992 to the Federal Appeals bench, but partisan wrangling in Congress delayed his confirmation until after the 1992 election, when it was scuttled by the incoming Clinton administration. Keating then returned to Oklahoma and won the governor's race in 1994. In 2000, he was a contender for U.S. Attorney General but was rejected when it was reported that before he was governor, Keating had accepted gifts of nearly $250,000 over ten years from mutual fund pioneer Jack Dreyfus. Keating publicly stated the gifts were fully disclosed and were approved by the Federal Office of Government Ethics.
Governor Keating's accomplishments included overseeing the largest road construction project in Oklahoma history, the first cut in the state income tax in 50 years, and a dramatic decline in the welfare rolls. He also led a successful attempt to win a public vote on right-to-work. Keating raised more than $20 million in private money to complete the Oklahoma State Capitol with a dome. The capitol was orginally designed for a dome, but state funding for it ran dry during World War One.
Governor Keating won national acclaim for his leadership during the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. He and his wife, Cathy, raised seven million dollars in bombing relief funds, much of which went to college scholarships for children left with one or no parents by the attack.
Keating and his wife are the parents of three children, Carrie, Kelly, and Chip. In 2001, Cathy Keating was an unsuccessful candidate for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Steve Largent. Following his two terms as governor, Keating accepted a position as president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, the trade association for the life insurance industry. In 2002 he authored a children's book about Oklahoma humorist Will Rogers.
- April 19, 1995: Three months after he was sworn in as Oklahoma governor, a fertilizer bomb exploded in front of a federal building in the capital killing 168 people. See Oklahoma City bombing.
- June, 2002: He was named Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board examining sex abuse by Catholic Priests.
- June 16, 2003: He stepped down as head of the Catholic review board. The resignation came days after Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony criticized Keating for comparing some church leaders to the Mafia.
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