Congressman Wes Watkins
Congressman Wes Watkins was raised on a small cattle and peanut farm near Bennington in southeast Oklahoma. As a young boy, Watkins was involved in 4-H and FFA and later became state FFA president. Wes found time for leadership positions in school despite working three part-time jobs, playing basketball and baseball, and earning the title of salutatorian of his graduating class.
Wes's determination and success followed him to Oklahoma State University, where he worked on the college farm and lived in a converted chicken house. Wes again showed his leadership skills as president of the OSU student body. He was an honor student and selected as the Outstanding Agriculture Senior. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Agricultural Education from Oklahoma State University.
In 1974, Wes was first elected to public office when he won a seat in the Oklahoma State Senate. Two years later, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served four years on the Banking and Finance Committee and on the Science and Technology Committee. He then served 10 years on the House Appropriations Committee, where he worked to increase funding for rural economic development and education programs in Oklahoma.
Wes ran for governor in 1990 and 1994. In 1996, Wes again won election for the Third District Congressional seat, which he had previously held from 1977 to 1991. He was re-elected by wide margins in 1998 and in 2000. Wes has served on the House Ways and Means Committee since his return to Congress in 1997, and in early 2001 was also appointed to the House Budget Committee.
During his term in government, Wes has spent an enormous amount of time and political capital in support of career and technology education. That support is evidenced by his securing nearly one million dollars in federal funds for the CareerTech Learning Network, which provides online training and education resources. One great testament to Wes's support of CareerTech is that the Wes Watkins Technology Center in Wetumka bears his name. He has also lent his considerable support to raising funds for the Francis Tuttle Endowed Chair at OSU.
Mr. Watkins was inducted into the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2001.