September 20, 2014
By David Arnett
In a video interview covering a wide variety of topics, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin spoke with Tulsa Today on her current campaign and her goals for a second term. Topics included common and higher education, Federal and State debates, immigration and the Federal response or lack thereof and many other issues.
Gov. Fallin said, “We’ve got to keep the peddle to the metal and keep pushing on things that will grow our economy, create good paying jobs, provide a strong educated workforce, focus on eliminating government waste to keep it more efficient and effective, keeping our taxes low while also funding our public priorities like education, public safety and infrastructure .”
Gov. Fallin was in Tulsa to celebrate the opening of the rebuilt bridge on I-244 at the Arkansas River September 15. The previous structure, built in 1967, had been featured on the list of Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges.
“We’re going to move from some of the worst bridges in the nation to some of the best bridges in the nation,” Fallin said while cutting the ribbon to open the $41 million project to public traffic. She told Tulsa Today the bridge replacement was one major effort she was glad to see complete.
Naming education advancement among her top goals, Gov. Fallin said, “Education is critical, it is the key to our success and the elimination of poverty in our state.”
When asked about Common Core, Gov. Fallin said, “We have had quite the debate over the last many years over [common] education in Oklahoma. We have to have rigor in the classroom with standards, accountability and transparency in how schools are preforming. We have to have the best teachers in the classrooms and make sure [public] money gets to the classroom.”
Higher education was also discussed as Gov. Fallin called for more financial accountability and transparency saying, “I wish we could audit [Higher Education] because it is important to the taxpayers that fund our system.”
As the critical point person for Oklahoma in the national debate on states’ rights, Gov. Fallin said, “The Obama Administration said they weren’t going to provide surplus property used in firefighting to our local fire departments. The reason the EPA gave was that the firefighting equipment caused too much carbon emission.”
“We have a lot of grassfires in Oklahoma and that equipment is important… so Senator Inhofe and I stood up to the Obama Administration and said that is not right,” Gov. Fallin said. That EPA policy was rescinded as a result of their efforts.
Gov. Fallin also noted the dispute with the Federal Government on housing illegal immigrate children at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma.
“We weren’t given any information. Basically, who they were, where they went, why they were there … information was very limited,” Gov. Fallin said.|
“I started putting pressure on the Obama Administration to give us the information. Let us see it. Let us talk with the people and let us know where the children were going. Enforce the laws, enforce the borders and let’s do the things we need to do – frankly for national security purposes. Because of that pressure, we were able to get Ft. Sill shut down from housing those children,” Gov. Fallin said.
“I was told we have had 240 something children that have been placed in Oklahoma either with sponsors or with a family member, but they refuse to tell us where…or if they are with a legal family or an illegal family,” she said.
Gov. Fallin also discussed Obamacare and other topics, click here to see the full interview.