Governor names interim state health commissioner – The Journal Record

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Dr. Lance Frye, state air surgeon, Oklahoma Air National Guard, speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City. (AP photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt has named Oklahoma Air National Guard surgeon Col. Lance Frye of Tulsa as interim commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health as the state continues to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Frye replaces Gary Cox, whose nomination was never taken up by the state Senate after several senators expressed concerns that Cox, an attorney, lacks the qualifications to be state health commissioner.

The qualifications include being a medical doctor or holding at least a master of science degree.

Frye’s appointment will go to the state Senate during its next session, starting in early 2021, for confirmation.

Stitt said Frye has worked on a task force responding to the spread of the coronavirus in the state, including developing a plan to deal with a potential surge in the need for hospital beds in the state.

“My job is going to be just getting acclimated to the new role,” Frye said. “I’ve been working alongside these people for the last two months.”

Stitt, after praising Cox, called Frye “an incredible choice” as health commissioner.

Besides serving with the Guard, Frye has been interim department chair, residency program director and a professor at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences.