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Brenda Reneau
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 8, 2007
GovernorFrank Keating (1995-2003)
Brad Henry (2003-2007)
Preceded byDave Renfro
Succeeded byLloyd Fields
Personal details
BornJanuary 4, 1954
Fort Hood, Texas, U.S.
DiedDecember 5, 2013(2013-12-05) (aged 59)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Resting placeCitizens Cemetery
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceEdmond, Oklahoma, U.S.

Brenda Reneau (January 4, 1954 – December 5, 2013) was an American Republican Party politician from the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Reneau served as the Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor for three consecutive terms. First elected in 1994, she is the only woman to serve as Labor Commissioner.[2] Reelected in 1998 and 2002, she lost her bid for another term in 2006 and her term ended in January 2007.

Labor Commissioner

1994 election

Reneau and three others, Mike Fair, Milton Stavinsky, and Jim Marshall, sought the Republican nomination for Labor Commissioner in 1994. Fair was a State Senator and his friend Marshall was a Republican Party activist. Reneau had been a registered Democrat until switching to Republican on June 13, 1994, one month before filing to run, even though state law requires candidates to be a member of their party for at least six months prior to declaring themselves candidate. However, the only provision to remove a candidate for failing to meet the registration requirement is for another candidate for the same office to file a challenge within the two day protest period following the candidate registration deadline, and no one did so. Fair was challenged, by his friend and fellow candidate Jim Marshall, over a provision in the state constitution preventing state legislators from serving in any position where the salary was increased during the legislator's term. After the state election board upheld the challenge, Fair, Marshall and Reneau appeared at a press conference where Fair endorsed Reneau, as did Marshall even though Marshall would still be on the ballot as a candidate for the same office.[3][4] Stavinsky also decided to support Reneau, but both he and Marshall remained on the primary ballot.[5] The primary results favored Marshall with 47% while Reneau finished with just under 40% and the remainder going to Stavinsky.[6] Marshall and Reneau would have faced each other in a run-off, but despite finishing first Marshall officially withdrew, making Reneau the Republican nominee. In the general election Reneau was endorsed by The Oklahoman against incumbent Dave Renfro.[7] In the endorsement, it was noted that a third of the employees in Renfro's office were on the "verge of mutiny" due to "his favoritism, biased enforcement, and the sexual tensions in their daily working environment."[7] Reneau defeated Renfro by nearly 48,000 votes.[8] Marshall headed her transition team and became her chief of staff.[9]

1998 election

After easily winning the primary over Chris Brown,[10] Reneau faced the father of GOP Congressman J.C. Watts and was again endorsed by The Oklahoman.[11] She defeated the elder Watts by a more than 2-to-1 margin.[12]

2002 election

Reneau faced a primary challenge from State Representative Tim Pope, who accused her of delegating to much of the job of running the agency to others, saying "she's not spent one, single, eight-hour day in her office since May of 1998."[13] She defeated Pope handily[14] and then scored a more narrow victory in November, beating Lloyd Fields 52% to 48%.[15]

2006 election

Health issues and a divorce led to Reneau not having a fixed residence and asking for temporary disability, but by the summer of 2005 she announced plans to run for a fourth term as Labor Commissioner.[16] Lloyd Fields was again the Democratic nominee and eked out a victory by 2,626 votes out of over 900,000 cast.[17]


In 2013, Tulsa businessman Larry Mocha credited Reneau with improving the relationship with the business community and said the relationship has continued with her successors, Lloyd Fields and Mark Costello.[18]

Personal life

In 2000 Reneau married Edmond real estate investor Gordon Wynn. Later she became estranged from her husband, and moved out, living in her parents’ home at the time. They divorced in 2005[19]

Reneau died on December 5, 2013 of natural causes.[2]


  1. ^ Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau Profile on (accessed October 24, 2013)
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2014-02-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Fair Loses Attempt To Get on Ballot," The Oklahoman, August 2, 1994.
  4. ^ "Reneau's Party Switch Could Have Invalidated Candidacy," The Oklahoman, November 5, 1995.
  5. ^ "For GOP, Labor Race Takes Twist," The Oklahoman, August 24, 1994.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "For Brenda Reneau," The Oklahoman, October 27, 1994.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Labor Commission Post Filled," The Oklahoman, December 22, 1994.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Brenda Reneau," The Oklahoman, October 25, 1998.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Four candidates seeking to head Labor Department Two from each party vying for nomination," The Oklahoman, August 18, 2002.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Reneau plans re-election bid," The Oklahoman, May 6, 2005.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Krehbiel, Randy. "Proactive business cuts workers comp costs," Tulsa World, January 2013.
  19. ^ Monies, Paul. "Reneau plan re-election bid," The Oklahoman, May 6, 2005.
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