By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
With the strike of a gavel, the 2008 legislative session was underway.
Oklahoma's Governor called on lawmakers to set aside past differences and work together for the good of all Oklahomans during his annual state of the state address.
In his 28 minute speech that was interrupted by applause 25 times, Governor Henry urged members of the House and Senate to continue investing in job growth by funding the EDGE endowment and the Bioenergy Center, adequately funding the Department of Corrections, lengthening the school year, and getting teachers' salaries to the regional average.
"We're almost there, the average teacher salary in our state is only $1,200 below the regional average," Henry said.
The Governor said he wants to double the physical education requirement for school kids, put $45 million toward the American Indian Cultural Center, and show state workers they're appreciated.
Despite the cheers, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate expressed disappointment that the Governor failed to mention income tax cuts, streamlining government or lawsuit reform.
Critics say the governor's speech light on vision, heavy on new spending.
"We're going to be anxious to see the details on how much they cost, and how he plans on paying for those," said Speaker of the House, Chris Benge.