By Governor Brad Henry
For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as Governor of the Great State of Oklahoma. I want to say thank you to all Oklahomans – thank you for your faith, your support and your trust. It is a rare and amazing blessing to serve our state as Governor and First Lady, and Kim and I thank you for the opportunity to do so.
Together, we weathered some challenging times, but we always met our challenges head on and made the most of our opportunities, emerging stronger and better than before.
While there is certainly much more work to do in the months and years ahead, I’m proud of all we have accomplished in the last eight years. We have moved Oklahoma forward and built a solid foundation for future growth.
There is nothing more important than a strong public education system, and we did our best to improve schools and expand opportunities for students. We created the first new revenue sources for education in decades and channeled those funds to classrooms and higher teacher salaries. We increased standards and accountability and enhanced an early childhood education program that is a model for the rest of the world.
With a historic bond issue, we made much-needed capital improvements on state college campuses, and we fully funded the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program, allowing thousands of hard-working Oklahoma students to attend college tuition-free.
We established the EDGE research endowment to spur job creation and directed record amounts of funding to Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure, repairing roads and bridges statewide to assist Oklahoma motorists and economic development.
We drew national attention with Insure Oklahoma – an innovative private-public partnership that has helped small businesses provide health insurance to thousands of employees. Other states followed our lead again when we cracked down on methamphetamine labs with a landmark law that restricted access to meth ingredients.
We were both tough and smart on crime, expanding drug and mental health courts to punish first-time offenders in a more cost-effective manner while reserving expensive prison cells for the truly dangerous criminals. And, as our country fought wars overseas, we honored and assisted the members of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard and their families with Operation Homefront.
While all of these accomplishments are significant, I am most proud of the tone we have set at the State Capitol. There have been disagreements and squabbles – that is simply the noise of democracy – but in the end, Democrats and Republicans never failed to pull together and do what is best for Oklahoma.
Neither party has all the answers. By listening to each other and building consensus, we can find innovative solutions to the challenges we face. As I said in my first inaugural speech, we must all be Oklahomans first.
And we should be proud to be Oklahomans. Oklahoma is unlike any place on Earth, and I am glad to call it home. With a wealth of scenic beauty and natural resources, with friendly, smart and creative people, our state has all the tools it needs for incredible success.
As I prepare to leave the Governor’s Office, I look forward to the future of our state with anticipation and optimism. Oklahoma, in its second century of statehood, will shine more brightly than ever. God bless you, and God bless Oklahoma.
Thank you, Oklahoma
By Governor Brad Henry
Agricultural protection measures key to state’s economic future
The roots of agriculture run deep in Oklahoma and there is no question that our farmers and ranchers feed the world.
Dorman lays out legislative plans for end of year
I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I had a great time with my family on Thanksgiving. I was certainly thankful for Samantha, my niece, as she hosted our family dinner with almost twenty-five people present. It was nice to be able to spend time with the family and catch up with each other as it does not happen enough.
Turkey Day game predictions
It's not Thanksgiving without football.
Biggs thankful for 2013, looks forward to next legislative session
It is the time of year when the family holiday trips are in the works, Thanksgiving dinners are planned and Christmas shopping is started. Time seems to be flying by as we wrap up 2013. It is a time to be thankful and count our blessing. As we reflect on the past year, many are looking forward to what 2014 holds. While the upcoming session does not start until February, December 13 is the deadline day for Representatives to file the bills they want to address during the upcoming session.
Theodore Roosevelt visits Osawatomie for the Common Good
Republican President Theodore Roosevelt packed his bags and left the left the White House in March 1909. Seven and a half years as the country’s chief executive had hampered his ability to enjoy the great outdoors. That is not to say that he had been locked in the presidential mansion, but his term had been marred by bumpy economic times extracting focus and attention that otherwise would have been allocated to the enjoyment of those expanses of natural scenery and wildlife habitat that have become his legacy.
Cole spies roadblocks, delays and barriers
Since its passage and throughout the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nothing has gone as promised, planned or expected by President Obama. Instead, the entire country has watched him try to dodge or make excuses for every barricade or bump along the road. Each roadblock has led Americans to seriously question the president’s ability to lead and lowered confidence in his promises.
Pearl Jam puts on timeless show in OKC, addresses controversy
This is a story about Eddie Vedder and his wine.
The Pearl Jam frontman downed three bottles during his band's almost three hour, riveting performance Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Dorman celebrates Veteran's Day
Happy Veteran’s Day! I had the opportunity to celebrate the holiday starting last Friday by helping honor our retired military at a ceremony in Elgin.
Walmart story brings out annoying commentaries
This week we broke a story about a local gay couple who were asked to leave the Chickasha Walmart due to their sexual orientation. Since equality for homosexuals is the major civil rights issue of our time, I had an inkling that this piece may gain some notoriety. It did, and after reviewing its aggregation on sites across the country I decided to address a few key misconceptions commenters continue to bring up.
The Spirit of the BB-48 for the Common Good
It was September 2, 1945 and each of the 280 Allied Warships that had accompanied the USS Missouri into Tokyo Bay for the formal signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, had its own story of heroism and perseverance. Assembled shoulder to shoulder on the decks of American ships were soldiers and sailors of every rank, of every race, from every state of the Union.
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