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Options If Gov. Fallin Heads To Washington

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Fallin is reportedly being considered to head the Interior Department. Fallin is reportedly being considered to head the Interior Department.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahomans may take more of an interest in the efforts of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team after the latest round of face-to-face meetings in New York.

Among those invited to ride the elevator at Trump Tower up for a meeting with Trump Monday was Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

News cameras captured Fallin, accompanied by First Gentleman Wade Christiansen, as she arrived this morning; multiple news outlets reported Fallin is being considered for Secretary of the Interior.

Following the meeting, Fallin spoke briefly with reporters, stating that the president-elect had not laid out a specific offer.

"No, I wasn't offered a position," Fallin said. "It was just an initial meeting to discuss a wide range of topics."

Fallin said she is excited at the prospect of a Trump administration and that their discussion included "how I might be able to help."

Fallin has been a loyal Trump supporter and campaigned for him just before the election. If her reward is to be named interior secretary, she would be the nation's 52nd and would replace Sally Jewell in a position that, experts say, carries a lot of responsibility.

"Things like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park System, Game and Wildlife," said Richard Johnson, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Oklahoma City University.

Johnson said the interior secretary also oversees drilling and other activity on vast tracts of federally controlled land. That is one very tangible way, Johnson said, that Fallin would turn Trump's vision into reality.

"She would really reflect Donald Trump's point of view, which would be more of a business point of view, in terms of dealing with things like grazing rights, which has been a big problem in the West, and oil and gas leases," Johnson said.

While interior may not carry the same prestige or recognition as energy or state, Johnson said it is an important choice for any president -- perhaps the fifth or sixth most powerful cabinet post.

"Fallin, in some ways, would be a pretty good match since she has the experience working with the tribes here, and working with the oil and gas industry," said Johnson.

If Fallin is offered a position in the Trump administration, and if she accepts the offer, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb would replace her and fill the remaining two years of her current term. Lamb, in turn, would appoint his replacement at lieutenant governor.

Mary Fallin, 61, currently earns $147,000 as governor of Oklahoma. Secretary of the Interior carries a salary of $205,000. Fallin has a hefty state pension awaiting her: about $162,000 if she leaves office now, or $176,000 if she finishes out her term.

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