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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  • Loosening constraints on campaign donations and spending doesn’t destroy democracy

    Campaign finance reformers are worried about the future. They contend that two Supreme Court rulings — the McCutcheon decision in March and the 2010 Citizens United decision — will magnify inequality in U.S. politics.
    In both cases, the court majority relaxed constraints on how money can be spent on or donated to political campaigns. By allowing more private money to flow to campaigns, the critics maintain, the court has allowed the rich an unfair advantage in shaping political outcomes and made “one dollar, one vote” (in one formulation) the measure of our corrupted democracy.
    This argument misses the mark for at least four reasons.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 23, 2014

  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • 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


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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