March 18, 2014
The Mustang Times
By Jon Watje, Managing Editor
Governor Mary Fallin made a stop in Mustang on Friday to talk to area chamber board members and city officials.
Gov. Fallin spoke about her agenda for 2014 at a private luncheon at Mustang Town Center and also heard concerns from civic leaders in the Mustang community, mainly regarding roads.
"I was reminded several times that roads in this area are in need of repair, especially Sara Road," Fallin said. "Mustang has had tremendous growth and the continued economic development here is remarkable. There are great schools here and I think people want to live here because it is an ideal place to raise a family."
Mustang Chamber of Commerce Director Renee Peerman said the city received the opportunity to host the governor from the State Chamber of Commerce.
"A liaison from the State Chamber offered us the opportunity and we invited chamber directors from Yukon, El Reno, Piedmont and Tuttle to join us," Peerman said.
Before speaking at the luncheon, Fallin had a private meeting with chamber executives.
During her talk at the luncheon, Fallin encouraged civic leaders to express concerns to her and legislators.
"Your voice does matter and we do listen," she said. "We need to hear from you because sometimes we hear better ideas from you than what we can come up with."
Fallin was the first woman elected as governor in the state in January of 2011.
She currently serves as the chair of the National Governors Association, a bipartisan group representing all of the nation’s governors.
Prior to her election in 2011, Fallin served in a number of state and federal positions. She served two terms as a state representative before becoming Oklahoma’s first Republican and first woman lieutenant governor in 1995. From 2006 to 2010, she served as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
In subsequent legislative sessions, the governor signed into law a historic overhaul of the workers’ compensation system that will lower costs of businesses.
"When I took office we had a $500 million shortfall and we had to figure out a way to close that gap," she said. "We also had almost no money in savings and our unemployment rate was at seven percent. Now, we have closed that $500 million gap and we now have $570 million in our rainy day account, and the unemployment rate is now down to 5.4 percent. Since 2011, our per capita income has grown by six percent."
Fallin also expressed her top priorities as governor.
"Job creation has always been one of my top priorities," she said. "Education is also very important to me. I think we need higher academic standards and this isn’t to punish the schools. Fifty years ago, 75 percent of jobs only required a high school degree, now that percentage is 35 percent. Jobs will go somewhere else if people here don’t have the training and education."
Peerman said the event was a success.
"It was great having her here and she was very friendly to us and made us feel important," Peerman said. "We had the chance to talk to her a little ahead of time to talk about some of the issues here in Mustang. We also loved having the other chamber board members here."
Mustang Mayor Jay Adams attended the luncheon on Friday to listen to the Governor speak.
"I did not attend the earlier meeting with the Governor, but I am happy they addressed those concerns to her like the roads," Adams said. "Sara Road is a big issue for us and hopefully we can work together to improve that road. Our goal is to improve Sara Road from State Highway 152 up to the turnpike and that will take a team effort."
Adams said he was thrilled the City had the opportunity to host the event.
"It is always a good thing for us to have the chance to sell Mustang," he said. "I think we are setting a great example."