Senator Silk Commends Finch-Walker’s confirmation to state Tourism and Recreation Commission


 

OKLAHOMA CITY – McCurtain County native, Michelle Finch-Walker is the newest Tourism and Recreation Commissioner according to State Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow.

“I was honored to carry the gubernatorial nomination of Michelle Finch-Walker to the Senate,” said Silk. “It’s clear to the entire state of Oklahoma that the southeastern corner knows what it’s doing when it comes to the tourism industry. It’s time that we share that experience and expertise across our state.”

Finch-Walker was raised in the middle of what many deem to be the birth of tourism in the area; the opening of Broken Bow Lake, where her father, Bob Finch, was named the first project manager. Finch-Walker’s family moved to the area in 1971 when she was eight years old. The lake quickly became a favorite in Oklahoma and nearby states. After graduating with honors from East Central State University, she returned to McCurtain County and spent 17 years managing the Forest Heritage Center Museum in Beavers Bend State Park, adjacent to that same lake that was the backdrop for many of her childhood memories.

Being raised by two public servants, her mother Johnette worked in social services, Michelle answered the call to follow a similar path of service in a big way. The list of board seats, committees and community development projects she’s been involved with is far reaching in the southeastern corner of the state. In recent years, she was chosen for Leadership Oklahoma, graduating in the class of XV and remained actively engaged, serving as a board member and advisor with the well-connected association.

Leadership Oklahoma and many of the other opportunities I’ve had in my career and personal life (she’s also career employee for Oklahoma Department of Agriculture – Forestry Services Division) really let me see this incredible state in a brand-new way,” Finch-Walker said. “Oklahoma is a perfect fit in the tourism industry. We have so much to offer…history, culture, scenery, fun. I usually like to add fun twice, because if tourists don’t enjoy what they’re doing, they won’t be back. Luckily, we’ve got it covered.”

In 2006, she parlayed fun into a tourist business with two friends, turned partners, at Girls Gone Wine, the original winery in Hochatown, Oklahoma. She is also partner in Beavers Bend Brewery and a cabin owner, along with husband Terry, a former manager of Beavers Bend State Park.

Finch-Walkers accomplishments garnered her three nominations as Journal-Record ‘Woman of the Year’ along with a myriad of other accolades for her nearly three decades of public service in community and state roles.

“I have known Michelle for many years and am confident that she will be a great asset to this commission,” Silk said. “It’s critical to have people at the table who know what tourism is all about, from the ground up. Michelle is absolutely the person we need at that table at this time. She will be a great ambassador for southeastern Oklahoma and the entire state."