Moore, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement on the passing of the longest serving Republican state legislator in Oklahoma history, Charles Ford of Tulsa.

“I learned of Senator Ford’s passing with a heavy heart. He was a colleague, a personal friend and a great Oklahoman who served our state with great integrity, skill and decency over the course of a long and distinguished career in the Oklahoma Legislature.

“Both my late mother, Helen Cole, and I had the privilege of serving with Senator Charles Ford in the Oklahoma State Senate. And during my tenure as Secretary of State and Chief Legislative Liaison for Governor Frank Keating, Charlie Ford was an invaluable ally, wise counselor and critical voice in moving Oklahoma forward.

“Senator Ford was respected on both sides of the aisle and brokered many a deal between the two parties in the Oklahoma Legislature. Everyone who served with him respected his wisdom and wit. Charlie made his points with a home spun humor that made legislators laugh and pushed them toward making the deals necessary to move the state forward.

“No one loved and revered the Oklahoma Legislature as an institution and a fraternity more than my friend, Senator Ford. He founded and served as president of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Fund, Inc. When my mother passed, Senator Ford helped me to secure the funding for an appropriate memorial — a portrait of my mother’s revered Aunt Te Ata, the famous Chickasaw artist and storyteller, painted in the 1920’s. It now is permanently displayed at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“Charles Ford was a visionary Oklahoma leader who served our state and his party with distinction, honor, integrity and great professionalism. He was the greatest Republican legislator of his era and probably in the history of Oklahoma. 

“We have lost a great Oklahoman and I have lost a wonderful mentor, trusted advisor and dear friend. I will miss Charlie Ford. Oklahoma will miss him even more.”