Nichols tops state poll 5th year Vicki Clark Gourley Fri, Jun 27, 2014 300 Ballots were mailed statewide to business, civic, government and industry leaders. The ballots had to be returned in the envelope provided by May 30th to be counted. The ballots are secret and voters do not sign their name, but an unusually high number did write comments. Larry Nichols Bill Anoatubby Clay Bennett Mary Fallin David Boren Mick Cornett Burns Hargis Harold Hamm George Kaiser Jim Inhofe Christy Gaylord Everest Tom Cole John Richels Tom Love James Lankford Pete Delaney David Rainbolt Aubrey McClendon David Green Robert Henry Roy Williams Jim Couch Gene Rainbolt Doug Lawler Meg Salyer Lee Allan Smith Barry Switzer George Records Robert Ross Russell Perry Judy Love Tom McDaniel George Nigh Ron Norick Dewey Bartlett, Jr. Brian Bingman Todd Lamb Mike Turpen Cliff Hudson Mary Melon Tricia Everest Polly Nichols Sam Presti Ed Martin Jeff Hickman Glen Johnson Gary Pierson Bill Cameron David Griffin Tom Colbert Devon Energy Executive Chairman Larry Nichols continues his reign as "Oklahoma’s Most Powerful” drawing more votes and winning by a wider margin than ever before in the OKC FRIDAY poll of the state’s business, civic and political leaders. The Nichols family and Devon Energy have long advocated community involvement and outreach in every area where they drill and especially in Oklahoma City, where their corporate headquarters tower 50 floors above the skyline. Nichols’ civic leadership, charitable and educational contributions, Devon’s donations and its employee’s volunteerism keep this much admired man at the top of most everyone’s list. Nichols uses money and leadership to impact in a powerful way. Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw nation, began his rise to power in 1987, the year he was elected to lead the twelfth largest tribe in the United States. Previously he was employed by Little Giant Corporation, working in the areas of accounting, budgeting financial analysis and electronic data processing before joining the Chickasaw Nation government as Director of Tribal Health Services. He is widely respected for his business acumen in directing the Chickasaw Nation to literal fame and fortune with the tribe’s casinos, thought by most to be the classiest of all the state’s casino operations. His civic roles include Oklahoma City University’s Board of Trustees (1991-98), Easter Seals and numerous state and national boards. The Chickasaw Nation’s television commercials for its cultural center, Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma have been viewed across the country leaving OKC and Oklahoma deeply grateful. He finds ways to promote the Chickasaws through donations from everything from the Centennial to most recently a new children’s playground at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Anoatubby has climbed steadily in OKC FRIDAY’s "Most Powerful Oklahomans” poll and ranks No. 2 this year. Thunder Owner Clay Bennett occupies the No. 3 position again this year. The city and whole state loves the NBA team, its stars and Bennett for bringing The Thunder to Oklahoma City. Governor Mary Fallin fell two rankings to No. 4 this year. The numbers for the top five differed by only a few votes for all except Nichols. The state legislature gave Fallin fits this year, overriding one veto and threatening to do the same if she vetoed the repeal of Common Core standards. She remains extremely popular state-wide, but the capitol gang put a little chip in her armor. University of Oklahoma President David Boren polled at No. 5. His power has remained undiminished over the years, even in years when OU did not finish the football season by beating Alabama. Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm survived the Wall Street Journal’s constant stories about his divorce, by continuing to be, as FORBES described him, "the most disruptive oilman since Rockefeller” and Hamm’s television appearances saying he would keep control of the publically trade company. (A judge’s ruling indicates a 70 percent majority.) Hamm’s belief that through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling America could become energy independent, makes him Oklahoma’s King of the Bakken in North Dakota, with Continental Resources producing more than 10,000 barrels a day there and Hamm worth almost $17 billion. But it takes more than money to make the "Most Powerful” list. Hamm’s generosity to education and charitable organizations, his involvement in politics, his employing thousands, his enriching initial stockholders by 600 percent... gives him a well-deserved 6th place. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett decided to run one more time, when Councilman Ed Shadid filed for the office and threatened to dismantle some of the MAPS 3 projects. Cornett defeated Shadid with over 65 percent of the vote and remains OKC’s "Most Powerful” politician ranking No. 7 in FRIDAY’s statewide poll. Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis continues to raise money and improve the university with innovations and ranked No. 7. Tulsa’s highest rank in the poll is Bank of Oklahoma’s Chairman George Kaiser, who gives to everything, especial education. He’s No. 8. U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe ranked No 10. Oklahomans continue to believe that the men and women in the state are more powerful than a senator in Washington D.C. Christy Everest moved up 10 positions in the ranking from last year. She fell when she sold The Oklahoman and other Gaylord properties, but her philanthropy and administration of the Gaylords’ foundation is making an impact and raised her to No. 11 in the eyes of the FRIDAY poll voters. Congressman Tom Cole ranked 12th. Devon Chairman and CEO John Richels moved up two places this year to No. 13 as he continues to become more involved in state leadership roles. Tom and Judy Love are celebrating their 50th year in business and as Love’s Country Stores have progressed to Love’s Travel Stops and now just plain Love’s, so has their community activism and philanthropy. From leasing an abandoned filling station in Watonga to making the FORBES Billionaire list, the couple continues to share their wealth and expertise with the community, chairing numerous fundraising galas. Tom ranks No. 14 this year and Judy is No. 31. In our May poll, Congressman James Lankford ranked No. 15 and his opponent for the U.S. Senate T.W. Shannon ranked No. 57. Last year, Shannon as Oklahoma Speaker of the House ranked closely behind Lankford. OG&E’s main man Pete Delaney ranked No. 16. BancFirst’s CEO David Rainbolt and Aubrey McClendon, CEO of American Energy Partners, tied at No. 17. McClendon ranked as high as No. 2 while CEO of Chesapeake Energy, which he founded with Tom Ward. Chesapeake’s current CEO Doug Lawler, No. 24, ranked below McClendon. While Chesapeake continues to be a major employer and donor, the perception seems to be Lawler has yet to focus on the OKC community. David Green, No. 19, is owner of Hobby Lobby. He is still in the national headlines fighting providing IUDs and morning after pills for employees this year in the U.S. Supreme Court. Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry, No. 20, is closely followed by Roy Williams, No. 21, President of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, who has emphasized economic development, and Jim Couch, No. 22, City Manager of Oklahoma City. Three prominent women appear on the poll in the 40s. Mary Melon, No. 40, Publisher of the Journal Record, has managed to keep Oklahoma operations profitable despite the parent company’s financial trouble and the ousting of CEO Jim Dolan by the board. Tricia Everest, No. 41, is a lawyer, former Assistant D.A. and the fourth generation of the Gaylord family in Oklahoma. Polly Nichols, No. 42, OKC bombing survivor, long-time community activist and volunteer, has headed many nonprofits. As the wife of Devon Executive Chairman Larry Nichols, she perfected the art of bringing nonprofits and the business community together to further community and state goals. Three other women missed the top 50 by one or two votes: Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices Yvonne Kauger and Vicki Miles-LaGrange; and Editor of The Oklahoman Kelly Dyer-Fry. Fred Hall, Scott Brooks and Congressman Frank Lucas were tied with them at Nos. 51-53.
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