Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry is preparing to start the final year of his four-year term in office. He hopes it won't be his last as a re-election campaign has already begun.

Mr. Henry, in an interview with Associated Press Capitol Correspondent Ron Jenkins last week, said he has no major disappointments about the first three years. He singled out health care, education and taxes.

"One of the things I am very proudest of is I've done everything I said I would do," the governor said. "One of the things I said I would do is a reduction and the ultimate elimination of income taxes on retirees over 65. Each year we've chipped away at that. I think, over the long haul, we can do that."

If he is re-elected next year, Mr. Henry would become only the third Oklahoma governor to win back-to-back terms in office. Republicans are busy preparing their case against Mr. Henry. They will tar him with the less-than-exciting results from the lottery and the tobacco tax changes which some tribal retailers have found a way to get around.

Mr. Henry told the interviewer the criticism is coming from tobacco interests who profit from cigarette sales and who have seen fewer Oklahoma customers because of the tax hike. He said $100 million in new revenue has come from the increases in tobacco tax.

He can't take credit for it but the upturn in the oil patch will help Mr. Henry's prospects for re-election. It has helped to create a budget surplus this past year that led to tax rebates after the maximum was parked in the Rainy Day fund. Taxpayers got rebate checks of $45 to $90 this year and taxes were cut a record $150 million.

Mr. Henry expects another budget surplus in 2006. Lawmakers have pledged to take up the issue of the state's roads and bridge repair crisis and the corrections mess. He'll surely face more partisan sniping as election years always bring out the worst in both parties.

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