February 3, 2014

Fallin addresses legislature in speech

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


Gov. Mary Fallin addressed Oklahoma's legislature yesterday during the first day of the 2014 session. 

During her "State of the State" speech Fallin detailed key points she plans to address this year. 

Fallin said the state's economy has recovered well since the Great Recession. 

“Our 7.2 percent unemployment rate is now down to 5.4 percent. Oklahoma families have seen their incomes rise by over 6.3 percent since January 201l.," she said. "That’s 44 percent higher than the national average and second in the nation.”

Fallin also took time to detail her plan dealing with school safety for instances of severe weather or an active shooter situation. 

“This is a responsible plan for improving safety and security at Oklahoma schools. We aren’t forcing new taxes on Oklahoma families or businesses," she said. "We aren’t passing new mandates. Most importantly, we are making our schools safer.”

She went on to speak about the importance of education for all ages in the state. 

“I believe that every child can learn.  Our job as a state is to empower our students, parents and teachers to succeed by setting the bar as high as we can. …That’s why we need to work relentlessly on two fronts: First, we must improve K-12 public school results. … Second, we have to increase the number of Oklahomans who continue their education beyond high school, either by attending college or a career technology center. A high school diploma is not enough,” she said. 

Fallin also detailed the importance of continuing to reject The Affordable Care Act. 

“We cannot plunge this nation further into debt, or place Oklahoma on a fiscally unsound path, by expanding Medicaid. Both the president’s plan and alternative proposals that rely on federal dollars in the Affordable Care Act amount to the same thing: a dramatic growth in unsustainable government spending," she said. “Washington wants to lead this nation in the wrong direction – but Oklahomans will not be led astray. We will find our own way forward, a better way."

Fallin is up for reelection this year. Grady County State Representative Joe Dorman started an exploratory committee late last year aimed at a possible gubernatorial run, but has yet to officially announce his candidacy.