The Edmond Sun


December 2, 2013

OKLAHOMA NOW: Celebrating an inspiring year in Oklahoma

OKLA. CITY — Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is on its way. This is a great time of year to reflect on all of God’s blessings and to be thankful for what we have.

Like many Oklahomans, I am thankful for my faith, my wonderful family, and my friends. I am also thankful for the opportunity to be your governor.

Oklahoma is a special state. We are a community of generous and caring individuals. I am thankful for that sense of community, and for the Oklahoma Standard which it represents.

It was that sense of resilience and compassion that allowed us to recover and rebuild so quickly in the wake of the May tornadoes. The tragedy of those storms was devastating; but the volunteer spirit, the fearlessness of our first responders, and the generosity of our people was inspiring. Today, organizations like the OKStrong Disaster Relief Fund run by the United Way have raised millions of dollars for families affected by the storms. I am thankful for anyone who participated in that relief and recovery effort.

Storm recovery is just one example of Oklahomans taking care of their neighbors. I continue to be thankful — and amazed — by how successful each year’s Feeding Oklahoma Food Drive has been because of our generous individuals and businesses. It is a sad truth that one in four Oklahoma children suffers from food insecurity. To help feed those children, as well as their parents, Oklahomans contributed more than 3.1 million meals, right on time for the holiday season.

I am also thankful for the industriousness of our people, their hardworking nature, and the tremendous results which their work has sown.

In 2009, Oklahoma followed the rest of the nation into a deep and damaging recession. For the last three years, we have put that recession behind us, dramatically outpacing national growth.

Consider this:

• Since 2011, our unemployment rate has fallen from 7 percent to just 5.3 percent, one of the best rates in the nation.

• Our Rainy Day Savings Account has risen from $2.03 to more than $530 million.

• Oklahoma families have seen their incomes rise by 8 percent since 2011, meaning they have thousands more dollars to save or invest. That growth is extraordinary, especially given challenging national economic circumstances. In fact, Governing Magazine recently identified Oklahoma as one of only three states to see average wages increase during the period of 2007-12.

I am thankful that Oklahoma and Oklahoma families are on the rise.

At the state Capitol, we are working hard to support and sustain this forward momentum. We’ve pursued tax cuts and eliminated barriers to job creation by pursuing legal reform and reducing red tape. We are delivering smart, balanced budgets that eliminate government waste and inefficiencies. And we’re also making the investments we need in our schools, because nothing is more important to getting a good job with a living wage than education.

All of this is part of what I call the Oklahoma Comeback. As we move toward the New Year, I’m thankful and proud to have been part of one of the country’s greatest success stories. I hope you are too!

GOV. MARY FALLIN may be reached via her website at

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  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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