MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 23, 2014

Fallin talks federal gridlock


— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —  Governors are meeting the needs of their states while the federal government is “mostly gridlocked,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Saturday at the 2014 winter meeting of the National Governor’s Association.

“Governors across this country are making government work every single day,” Fallin, the chair of the NGA, said in Washington.

“While Washington remains mostly gridlocked - preventing long-term solutions - we are addressing challenges by reforming education, building infrastructure, improving health care and developing energy resources. Governors do not have the luxury of standing still. Our hope is that our federal partners will do their part and take action,” she said.

Fallin, a Republican who served two terms in the U.S. House after first being elected in 2006, was elected Oklahoma governor in 2010.

She said that the federal government needs to allow flexibility to solve what she calls “the unique needs” of each state.

“States are innovating at all levels and leading the country in finding solutions to often complex issues,” she said. “Governors need flexibility to take care of the unique needs of our citizens and the challenges facing our states.”

Fallin pointed to her NGA Chair’s Initiative, which she called “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”

It focuses on improving state education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of businesses located in the state.

“Our children need either a two-year or four-year college degree or relevant workforce certification to compete in today’s global economy,” Fallin said.

The NGA’s Winter Meeting runs through Monday and is to include the annual White House dinner Sunday night and the governors-only meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday.

The meeting also will include sessions with members of the president’s cabinet, business leaders and other experts, and several governors-only meetings on issues that include education, health care, prescription drug abuse, employment trends, transportation issues and national security, including the future of the National Guard.