At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. House (1986 to 1994); Tulsa mayor (1978 to 1984); Oklahoma Senate (1969 to 1977); Oklahoma House (1966 to 1969)
- Birthday: Nov. 7, 1934
- Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
- Alma Mater: University of Tulsa, B.A., 1973
- Spouse: Kay
- Religion: Presbyterian
- Committees: Armed Services , Environment and Public Works
- DC Office: 453 Russell House Office Building, 202-224-4721
Path to Power
Inhofe was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and raised in Tulsa, Okla. He served in the Army in the late 1950s and returned to school to earn a bachelor's degree in economics from University of Tulsa in 1973. He worked in real estate, insurance and aviation before entering public office.
At age 31, he was elected to the Oklahoma House. Three years later, in 1969, he won a seat in the Oklahoma Senate.
Inhofe's voting record is consistently conservative. He voted with his party 85.4 percent of the time in the 110th Congress. The American Conservative Union gave the senator a 100 percent score in its 2007 congressional ratings of Congress. ACU and Human Events, a conservative publication, also named Inhofe the "Most Outstanding Conservative Senator" for 2005 and the top conservative senator in 2007. National Journal ranked Inhofe the 8th most conservative senator in its 2008 scorecard.
Inhofe backed the Bush administration's policies on taxes and the war in Iraq, but split from the Bush White House in 2008 over how to address the financial crisis.
Inhofe has received more than $1.1 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries in his career, making him one of the sector's top recipients. In the 2007-2008 cycle, he was a top recipient of campaign funds from the coal mining, mining and natural gas industries.
Inhofe has a particularly tense relationship with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who succeeded him as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee when the Democrats gained control of the Senate in 2006. The two often spar over such charged issues as climate change. Inhofe also accused the California senator of conspiring with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to seek legislative action to curb the influence of conservative talk radio. Boxer and Clinton have both denied the conversation took place.