Last week was a hectic one for Gov. Mary Fallin, and perhaps an emotional one, as well.
On Tuesday afternoon, she lashed out at the Oklahoma Legislature, particularly the House of Representatives, for failing to take up major issues, like funding long-needed repairs to the crumbling state Capitol, while passing what she deemed as flawed legislation. She announced she was vetoing 15 House bills.
That evening, a rare double execution was planned at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The first lethal injection was botched, attracting worldwide criticism, including from the White House. She ordered an investigation, and some criticized the investigation as not being truly independent.
On Wednesday, the House by an 86-3 margin passed an attempt to override one of her vetoes, involving a firearms bill.
On Friday, she answered some questions before beginning her weekend.
Q. Is this one of the more difficult weeks you’ve been through?
A. It’s been a long week hourwise, but that’s what I’m elected to do is to make tough decisions to guide and direct the state. So while it’s been a busy week, it’s not that unusual as a governor or elected official to have to make tough decisions and move issues along.
Q: Has there been unfair criticism of your role in the execution?
A. I think the process is important in our execution policies. It’s an issue that I take very seriously. We want to make sure we get it right. That’s why I’ve given some very specific instructions and laid out a plan of action very quickly with our commissioner of public safety, who is going to be the independent person who will review the process and what happened during the execution.
Q. Have you been trying to turn people’s attention where a lot of people say it belongs, on the victims in this case?
A. “Well, absolutely, I think one of the things that got lost in this whole discussion about the execution itself is the victims. I mean there is a reason why we’re having an execution because someone committed a horrible crime that killed a lady, buried her alive, shot her, raped another person, and there was a jury. They gave the death penalty and it is my job as governor to make sure that death penalty is carried out and justice is served.
Q. Do you feel your vetoes and the broadside has been effective? Are you seeing movement now?
A. Absolutely, I think the vetoes have been effective because my goal was to get the attention of the Legislature and say we’ve only got a couple more weeks to get the budget done. We need to fix the Capitol. We have other important pieces of legislation that have not been addressed. We need to get busy and get about solving the problems of the state and finding solutions to those issues. So I think we have had a very successful week. It’s been a hard week but a very successful week. I do think our actions this week broke the logjam and helped refocus everybody.