Gov. Mary Fallin was sworn in right around noon Monday for her second term as the Governor of Oklahoma.
It was a bitter cold and dreary Inauguration day, but Fallin painted a sunny picture of the state as she began her Inaugural address
“Together, we worked hard to help move Oklahoma forward. I believe the story of the last four years will be the story of an economy lifted out of one of the deepest recessions our state and our nation has ever faced,” she said.
Still the governor said there are three areas that could stifle that momentum. Educational attainment is the first. Fallin said Oklahoma must raise its high school graduation rate and award more career tech and college degrees.
“The fact remains, we need to do more. We need to improve, and improve quickly. This is an all-hands-on-deck challenge. It requires an all-hands-on-deck solution. Together – as parents, teachers, lawmakers, and even the business community – we need to do the work and get it done.”
The governor also advocated what she calls smart on crime initiatives, like Remerge, that offers treatment over incarceration for non-violent offenders with drug abuse and alcohol problems.
“They need treatment; they need supervision; and they need to be returned to their communities as sober adults ready to support themselves and their families.”
Fallin also encouraged Oklahomans to work together to improve the health of our citizens. She points to the Governor's Fit Challenge that she launched with Kevin Durant to encourage children to exercise and eat right.
“I believe we can agree on the importance of encouraging personal responsibility to improve one's health. We need to do a better job educating people about why this is important, and what they can do to get healthier.”
What the Governor didn't mention, but what will likely be a big issue at least this coming session: the budget. Early projections showed the state will have about $300 million less this year to spend over last.
The Inaugural Ball was Monday night. It featured several Oklahoma performers including Justin Adams, Hanson and Larry Gatlin.