With the state Capitol and the Devon Tower looming in the background, Gov. Mary Fallin began her campaign for a second term Thursday at the Oklahoma History Center. She also made stops in Tulsa and Lawton.
A former congresswoman, state House representative and lieutenant governor, Fallin became Oklahoma's first female governor when she took office in 2011.
In her first term, Fallin and her administration have focused on creating a pro-business economic climate in the state, pushing reductions in the state's income tax and backing changes in the state's civil justice system.
“I think our big goal moving forward is that we've got to keep our foot on the gas and keep Oklahoma's pro-growth and job creation economy going forward, because these are interesting times in our nation, especially with all of this going on in Washington, D.C.,” Fallin said to about 50 supporters.
Fallin touted her administration's economic accomplishments, including increasing the state's Rainy Day Fund and lowering Oklahoma's unemployment rate from 7 percent to where it currently stands at 5.3 percent.
Fallin said that in a second term she would increase economic and business growth by focusing “on right-sizing state government, making things more efficient, more effective.”
Last session, Fallin asked her Cabinet secretaries to meet with state agencies to compile a list of agencies, boards, and commissions that no longer met or were duplicative. She then worked with legislators in the House to dissolve or combine about 70 such entities.
Wallace Collins, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said that Fallin's focus on business growth is to the detriment of many Oklahomans.
“She wants to brag about her and her team's leadership that has caused Oklahoma to not suffer as much economically, and our unemployment rate being better than average, but in those times Oklahoma cut funding for public education by 23 percent,” Collins said. “That was the highest percentage in the nation. Those two things don't jive … in my opinion she has chosen corporations over kids.”
Fallin is currently running unopposed, but Libertarian Democrat R.J. Harris of Norman said Thursday he is in the process of filing for candidacy.