Senator James Inhofe is the current chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a title previously held by the late Senator John McCain. He has come under scrutiny for a transaction that could have been seen as a potential conflict of interest.
He bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock from U.S. defense contractor Raytheon. The purchase came days after it was announced that the Department of Defense had raised defense spending for the fiscal year 2020. Senator Inhofe had reportedly been influential in persuading the Trump administration to allocate additional funds for defense.
The stock purchase was first reported by the Daily Beast. As the website pointed out, the purchase itself was legal because the information about the increase in defense spending was already public knowledge. But the transaction raised ethical questions. After the Daily Beast reached out to Senator Inhofe’s office for comment, the senator sent a letter to his financial advisor. He instructed him to cancel the stock purchase and to avoid purchasing defense or aerospace stock in the future.
Senator Inhofe has been representing Oklahoma in Congress since 1987, first in the House before being elected to the Senate in 1994. After serving on Capitol Hill for that long, his family is likely used to the spotlight. 84-year-old Inhofe has been married to his wife for six decades and they have 16 grandchildren.
Here’s what you need to know about the Senator’s family.
1. Kay Kirkpatrick Married James Inhofe in 1959
Senator James Inhofe has been married for 60 years. He tied the knot with Kay Kirkpatrick on December 19, 1959. Her birthday is April 9, 1936, and is 82 years old.
On their 57th wedding anniversary, he shared a photo on Twitter of Kay standing beside him as he was sworn into office. The caption read, “Thank you Kay, for all your love and support and for always standing by my side.”
Kay Inhofe had a family dispute in 2007 that made headlines. She filed a lawsuit against her brother, John Kirkpatrick, over their family business. Together they had inherited the company Guaranty Abstract in 1965, which is based in Tulsa.
According to Tulsa World, Kay Inhofe accused her brother of taking more than $8 million in company funds for his own salary and to buy more than two dozen vehicles. She argued that these acts damaged her financially as a shareholder. The case was eventually settled out of court.
As of December 2018, Kay no longer appears to have an active role in the company. According to the company website, Kirkpatrick is now the chairman and sole owner.
2. The Senator’s Son Perry Died in a Plane Crash in 2013
Senator Inhofe’s son, Perry, was an orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa. He worked at Central States Orthopedics and specialized in hand surgery. But he also inherited his father’s love of flying. According to an investigation by the NTSB, Perry had logged nearly 3,000 flight hours and was known to be a cautious pilot.
But something went wrong the first time he flew a Mitsubishi MU-2B-25 twin-engine turboprop airplane by himself. Perry was flying from Kansas to Tulsa on November 10, 2013, when the plane went down. Perry had communicated with the control tower, stating that the left engine had shut down and he had a “control problem.”
The crash occurred five miles north of the Tulsa International Airport. Perry was 51 years old.
3. Molly Inhofe Rapert is a College Professor
Senator Inhofe’s older daughter is Molly Inhofe Rapert. An online search of records shows she was born October 6, 1963 and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
She married Jimmy Rapert in 1994. They have four children: Jase, Luke, Jonah, and Zegita Marie. They adopted their daughter from Ethiopia.
According to her Linkedin page, Molly Rapert earned at MBA at the University of Arkansas before going on to earn a Ph.D at the University of Memphis. She has been a professor at the University of Arkansas since 1991. She teaches in the business school, with a focus on marketing.
4. Senator James Inhofe’s Father Moved the Family to Oklahoma to Run an Insurance Company
James Inhofe is the son of Perry Dyson Inhofe and Blanche Mountain Inhofe. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa. But the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942.
Senator Inhofe’s father was offered a job at the head of a struggling insurance company, according to a 2008 edition of the Oklahoma Gazette. He then launched a new company called Mid-Continent Casualty. Before getting into politics, James Inhofe worked for his father’s company.
Senator Inhofe described his father in an interview for Voices of Oklahoma. “He was a very dominating type of a personality. At that time, the husband made virtually all the decisions, but he was one who really didn’t have any doubt about anything that he said being true. Almost to a fault.”
In that same interview, he shared that his mother’s full name was Blanche Phoebe Mountain Inhofe and that she had worked as a teacher for a time. Her side of the family was originally from France.
5. Senator Inhofe Has Three Siblings, Four Children Total & 16 Grandchildren
Senator Inhofe has two other children: James Mountain Inhofe II, and Katy Inhofe Swan. Both appear to live in the Tulsa area.
In the Voices of Oklahoma interview referenced above, Inhofe also explained that he has two sisters and a brother.
Inhofe and his wife Kay are now also the proud grandparents of 16 grandkids.