Mary Newt Copeland was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, on December 9, 1954, to Newton and Mary Jo Copeland. She grew up in Tecumseh and graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater in 1977 with a degree in Family Relations and Child Development.
In 1990, after a career in real estate, Fallin ran for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She campaigned while pregnant with her son and gave birth just more than a month before the general election, which she won. Fallin served four years in the Oklahoma legislature and passed 16 bills, including the state’s first anti-stalking law. In 1995, she became the first woman and first Republican lieutenant governor.
In 2006, Fallin was elected to the 110th Congress (2007–2009) and became just the second woman to represent Oklahoma in Congress.
Fallin served on the Natural Resources, Small Business, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. In floor speeches, Fallin advocated for small business owners and additional oil exploration in the United States.
Fallin was easily re-elected to the 111th Congress (2009–2011). She won a seat on the Armed Services Committee, and she retained her position on the Small Business and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. She also served in the leadership of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Fallin became the state’s first female governor in 2011.