July 29, 2013
By Michael McNutt
Gov. Mary Fallin will become the first governor from the Sooner State to head a bipartisan organization of the nation's governors.
Fallin on Aug. 4 will become chairman of the National Governors Association, during the group's summer meeting in Milwaukee. She will be the third woman to serve as chairman, and the first female Republican governor to hold the post.
Fallin's chairmanship offers another rarity. She will be serving at the same time that Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. Lamb was elected to the one-year term last week during a conference in Oklahoma City.
Fallin's term as chairman also is for a year. She also was the first Oklahoma governor to serve as the group's vice chairman. Fallin, elected governor in 2010, was named in 2011 to the organization's nine-member executive committee.
“It is of great benefit to the state of Oklahoma to have a governor that has the opportunity to be the national chair of the governors association,” she said. “As the national chair, you are the voice for the national governors … you are the direct link to the president, the vice president and the (U.S. House) speaker and the leader of the U.S. Senate. You certainly have input to initiatives of the National Governors Association … and have the opportunity to be a part of shaping the national debate.”
After being named chairman, Fallin will unveil her initiative for the year. She said she can't announce her topic until she takes office. The governor in 2010 ran on a platform of job creation and the importance of an educated workforce as well as streamlining state government.
“I also will once I announce my initiative by having some round-table discussions around the nation about the topic and the initiative itself and working with other governors across the nation on the initiative,” she said.
Fallin will succeed Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat. The chairman and vice chairman rotate political parties each year. The vice chairman will be announced in the meeting, which runs Aug. 1-4.
The National Governors Association was founded in 1908. Its members are the governors of the states, territories and commonwealths.
Among the services the association provides to governors is representing states on national issues and developing solutions to public policy challenges.