Modernization in government is essential, said U.S.Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Edmond. Considering her 2010 gubernatorial bid, Fallin said it’s important to question if any new agency being proposed would be a cost-effective system of government while delivering services effectively.

“I think it would be a great benefit to have someone who knows the state very well, knows the elected officials, knows the agency heads and has been deeply involved in various problems for our state, and can help bring forth some of the solutions,” Fallin told The Edmond Sun about her candidacy.

Fallin is one of four announced candidates running for governor. State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, is the only other Republican currently in the race. Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will compete on the Democratic ticket.

“Let’s look at efficiency and accountability and transparency, cost effectiveness, because we can’t afford in a down economy to be wasting money on programs that don’t work,” Fallin said. “Like the medical examiner’s office — it’s not working. Fix it. That’s the kind of item I’ll be looking at as I look at different agencies.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner lost its accreditation with the National Association of Medical Examiners. Chief Medical Examiner Collie Trant, M.D., has been working to upgrade the office since his service began there in May.

Serving Oklahoma as lieutenant governor gave Fallin the opportunity to advance business issues, she said. Fallin’s federal experience combined with her service in Oklahoma’s executive branch has enriched her with insight to move Oklahoma forward, she said.

“I think it gives me a great opportunity as a governor of Oklahoma to work with the (state) House and Senate that I know really well from my years of service, to really work on issues that I believe have been holding us back,” Fallin said.

As governor, Fallin would not only encourage businesses to expand in Oklahoma, but also make Oklahoma a magnet to recruit businesses, she said. Lowering insurance premium costs would create a more competitive business environment, she said. Workers compensation reform means removing fraud and abuse from the system, and the injured worker should be taken care of in a more timely manner, she added.

“In the past I’ve worked on issues like Right to Work, bringing it to a vote of the people when I took over the Senate,” Fallin said.

Education is key to improving the economic future of Oklahomans, she said. There are too many high school dropouts and not enough college graduates in the state, she continued.

“We have a tremendous career technology training system that can help build up the skill level of our workforce and looking at where our needs will be in the future, in five, 10, 20 years down the line,” Fallin said.

Regarding health care, Fallin said competition results when people are given options in the marketplace, so she supports more options for the health insurance industry.

“If we have some basic plans where we can encourage some younger people who may not need some of the levels of mandates that are included in coverage, if we can have plans that offer people options to get different kinds of coverage that they may need as they grow older, that’s an option,” Fallin said.

A 20-year-old may not need a health insurance plan with a 10 percent cost to cover Alzheimer’s disease, Fallin said. This could make insurance more affordable for younger people, she said. A more established person with a higher income might be able to afford insurance with more levels of coverage, Fallin explained.

“As far as special needs such as autism, to have options to where the coverage would be available for people to get, but not mandated for people to get, but to encourage incentives for those types of things — I’m not sure what form that would take,” Fallin said. “But that’s certainly something we could consider looking at.”

Mandates can make health insurance policies more expensive, Fallin said.

THE OFFICIAL filing period for candidates is set for June 7-9. The statewide primary will be July 27, with a run-off election on Aug. 24, 2010. The general statewide election will be Nov. 2, 2010. To learn more about Congresswoman Mary Fallin’s 2010 campaign for governor, go to www.maryfallin.org.

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