In an interview Friday, October 1, U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin expressed determination to
win the November gubernatorial election, and conveyed equal passion to
govern Oklahoma as a multi-issue conservative.
Asked to outline her top three issues, the Republican nominee for chief
executive told CapitolBeatOK, “I’m pressing on jobs and the economy and
the need for creating the best business climate. We need to keep taxes
low, and work at lowering them even more. The pro-business initiative
has to include going further on workers comp reforms and tort reform for
the sake of lowering costs to our businesses.
“Creating the best business environment we can must include a push for
more education reform, including assuring better reading skills and
depth in the core knowledge subjects. A strong and educated workforce is
essential to building a stronger Oklahoma economy.
“Second, government has to be made smaller, smarter and more cost
effective. Waste and duplication in government remains a major
challenge. The money that could be saved or better spent is our money as
taxpayers and businesses. Government must work for the people, and
that’s not always the case now.
I will bring together and empower, as soon as I can get them in place,
the cabinet secretaries and agency heads with the mission of
transforming government itself. A question to ask is if some of these
agencies are as relevant as they were 40 or 50 years ago. Are they
efficient and effective? If not, what is needed to make government work
for and not against the people? Those are questions I’ll be asking, and
pressing for answers.”
Fallin continued, “Third, Oklahoma needs a governor who is bold enough
to work hard, if Washington, D.C. is wrong on a policy issue, to push
for Oklahoma’s rights and to fight bad policies. I’ve done this in
Congress on health care, or ObamaCare.
“I believe the new federal law is bad for our health care system. It
raises taxes and it grows government. The mandate to buy something, in
this case health insurance, is wrong, and unconstitutional. If I’d been
governor in this past two years, I would have challenged the
constitutionality of ObamaCare.
“We need a governor who can stand up against unfunded mandates,
including mandates like those in the health care bill. We need a
governor who will fight on Cap-and-Trade and every other effort to raise
taxes on our energy sector. I am the only candidate who has stood up
and said these proposals will devastate not only jobs but also industry.
“I’m the only candidate for governor who supports what Arizona is doing
to secure its borders and stand up to the drug cartels. I believe it’s
important to have a governor who stands up to D.C., when necessary, to
defend our freedoms and rights.”
Asked to discuss Republican calls to “repeal and replace” the new
federal health care bill, Fallin responded, “I am for repealing and
replacing the new law replacing it with comprehensive consumer choice
and a free market system to work for the people.
“I believe you’ll see an effort to allow consumers to buy insurance
across state lines, the kind of health care that is best for them. Also
in the health care area, we must have major tort reforms to protect
citizens and our system from frivolous lawsuits that drive up the cost
of premiums. That’s not in the federal legislation at all, and that’s a
“As you asked, those are just a couple of examples. The major
alternatives like those, [U.S. House] Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not
even allow to be heard. She would not even debate concerns about costs
and access in the proposal that became the president’s law. She wants a
big government health care system and it needs to be stopped.”
CapitolBeatOK asked Fallin about the negative turn the election has
taken in recent weeks, including how that has tested the friendship the
two women have previously enjoyed. She answered:
“I have been friends with her, I respect her hard work and care for Oklahoma. I believe when this is over we’ll be friends.
“Some of the discussion about negative ads is interesting, because I’ve
had many negative attacks on me for many years, including a lot of them
in the time since I decided to run for governor. I’m going to stay ‘on
message’ in my campaign about the need to create a more prosperous and
“I’m focused on the future of the state of Oklahoma. My campaign
advertisements don’t even mention my opponent and I certainly have faced
attacks on the Internet and elsewhere.”
As for “messaging” in these final weeks of the campaign, Fallin
explained, “We’re going to stress the importance of having a governor to
provide leadership when Washington D.C. does that that hurt our state
economy and state reaction of jobs. We’ve going to have themes that
stress jobs and a stronger business climate, policies that put
Oklahomans to work and keep them working.
“A third theme you’ll see is how important an educated workforce is to
those first two issues, the need to have a business climate in which our
children can find jobs and stay here at home. Wade and I have six
children between us so that’s personal to me. Kids won’t stay here at
home if they can’t, as they become adults, find jobs good enough to keep
them at home.
“Another theme is to keep taxes low and when possible to make them
lower. That will be an effort at distilling the Fallin Plan I described
Fallin added, “One thing I have to say is I’ve been a little surprised
some have tried to say I’m not rooted here in Oklahoma. I have come home
every weekend I could to be back here and stay rooted here. And, back
on the issue of commercials, Jari has had two commercials against me.
So, CapitolBeatOK asked, how ardent a conservative will she be if she
wins on November 2, and how does she avoid overconfidence in the ranks
in the final month of campaigning? She answered:
“I’m working as hard as I can, as I ever have, to fight for this job. I
am traveling between 1500 and 2300 miles every week here at home. I’m
going to be campaigning aggressively to win this until the final hour of
Election Day. I’ve been putting in 12-16 hour days to get this done,
and yesterday was one of those 16-hour days. To some extent it’s been
seven days a week, but I am blessed that I’ve been able to stop long
enough on Sunday to go to church and have some family time.
“So, I’m not taking anything for granted. This is about the future of
our state and nation. I have come to believe that the nation’s governors
will lead the way, to get America back on track.
“In Arizona, I support what Jan Brewer is doing to protect her state’s
borders and fight against the drug cartels. In Texas, Rick Perry has
pushed through the strongest workers’ comp reforms in the nation. In
Mississippi, Haley Barbour got major tort reforms enacted into law. In
Florida, Jeb Bush in his time in office became a great education
“The governors will play the essential role in getting our country back
on track, improving the economy and insisting on a right-sized