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2015 Robert M. Kerr

Robert M. Kerr

Robert M. Kerr, a graduate of Altus High School, attended Altus Junior College and continued his education at Oklahoma State University where he received a degree in Agriculture in 1954. Senator Kerr was married to Robbie Tinney and had two sons, one daughter and 5 grandchildren.

Kerr was a farmer, stockman and real estate developer. In 1986, he was elected to his first term in the State Senate representing District 38. Senator Kerr quickly rose through the ranks to leadership positions, chairing the Agriculture Committee from 1988 to 1994, the Rules Committee from 1995 to 2000, and the Subcommittee for Human Services from 2001 through 2003, and in 2004 he was appointed Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate, a position he held until his death January 25, 2006. Throughout his career, Senator Kerr was responsible for numerous pieces of landmark legislation.  He was the author of legislation creating the state-of-the-art Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center at Oklahoma State University. The University honored Kerr by renaming this facility the “Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Product Center” for his role in the conception and development of the Center in 1996. Senator Kerr, as Highway Commissioner, played a key role in the completion of several highways in Southwest Oklahoma and for his support a portion of Highway 283 was named in his honor. He was also a key promoter for the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority and the American Indian Cultural Center. After the Quartz Mountain Lodge burned in early 1995, Senator Kerr was influential in getting the Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center rebuilt. After his passing the performing arts center was named the “Robert M. Kerr Performance Hall at Twin Peaks”.

Senator Kerr demonstrated a fondness for Western as a key person in securing property in the early seventies for a college rodeo arena.  That desire to continue his support for the college continued during his leadership as a senator in aiding and benefiting the future of Western Oklahoma State College.

Governor Brad Henry, who served alongside Senator Kerr, said this of his fellow statesman, “The Oklahoma State Senate is a better place because of him. Indeed, Oklahoma is a better place because of him.”