Raised with conservative values on a Garfield County farm, Mike Hunter holds degrees from both Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Mike has always been committed to public service. In the 1980s, as a young private practice attorney focusing on energy and real estate law, he ably served six years as a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives where his efforts led The Daily Oklahoman to name Mike one of “Oklahoma’s Best Legislators” – an honor bestowed upon only eight legislators. He also received the Oklahoma District Attorneys’ Legislative Appreciation Award for his work on criminal justice issues.
After leaving the legislature, Mike continued in public service as the general counsel at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and thereafter was tapped by Congressman J.C. Watts to be his Chief of Staff. During this time, Mike also served as Watts’ legal counsel for both the National Security and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
In 1999, Governor Frank Keating persuaded Mike to become Oklahoma’s Secretary of State and the governor’s chief liaison to the legislature, the judiciary, and the state’s federal delegation. He later became Secretary of Oklahoma’s Commissioners of the Land Office where he was instrumental in putting new security measures in place and professionalizing the agency after decades of controversy and investigations. Mike also put new guidelines in place to allow more funding for both common and higher education protecting this entity’s mission of using public lands to benefit Oklahoma’s public education system.
Mike also brings national experience in running large organizations. For eight years, he served as COO of the American Council of Life Insurers and oversaw its 135 member staff. He later held the same position with the American Bankers Association for four years.
In 2015, Mike became then Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s first assistant attorney general, where he oversaw the staff of more than 180 lawyers, investigators and support staff. Mike briefly served again as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. Upon Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA Administrator, Mike’s experience and conservative credentials made him both the obvious and best choice to fill the remainder of Pruitt’s term, a role he began on February 20, 2017.
Mike and wife Cheryl have been married for 35 years and have two adult sons, Barrett and Brock. Cheryl is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma City and served as a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Barrett and Brock are just beginning careers after playing Division I sports in college. Barrett and his wife Rachael live in Norman, Oklahoma and Brock lives in Alexandria, Virginia.