The Norman Transcript

March 31, 2014

Okla., N.M. governors best ticket

By Lyle Larson
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Roll call at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) was the first audition for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Paul, Christie, Cruz, Perry, Rubio, Ryan, Huckabee and Santorum were all on hand talking passionately about their ideas, experience and why they should lead the charge to take the White House back in 2016. Their appeal to the CPAC participants is, as expected, hugely popular.

The Reaganesque effort to expand the base of our party to include more gender and ethnic diversity is still in the hands of the guard that led our effort in 2012.

In that year’s presidential election, President Barack Obama received 70 percent of the Hispanic vote and 90 percent of the black vote. Fifty-five percent of women voted for Obama.

This does not bode well for the Republican Party if we continue to select the same types of candidates. To mount a winnable strategy against the inevitable Hillary Clinton nomination, we must change our tactics and leadership. 

The governors from Oklahoma and New Mexico have two contrasting success stories that will resonate and transcend the partisan divide we have experienced in the last four presidential election cycles.

Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin, has an impressive fiscal record of cutting taxes, reducing unemployment and protecting the Second Amendment. She worked to balance the state’s budget in light of a $500 million deficit and lowered the income tax rate.

Proving her dedication to job creation and improving her state’s economy, Fallin developed a statewide energy plan to promote development of Oklahoma’s abundant natural resources. This plan is the first of its kind in the state.

Fallin has effectively addressed countless challenges in her state. She displayed great leadership through addressing rampant neglect throughout the state’s veterans’ centers by overhauling the War Veterans Commission and calling for increased oversight of the centers.

Committed to government efficiency, she combined or eliminated more than 75 task forces, board and commissions in a single year. She also developed a plan to modernize Oklahoma’s largest turnpikes and instituted the most aggressive program to replace structurally unsound bridges.

Susana Martinez, the Republican governor from New Mexico, made history in 2010, becoming the first-ever Latina governor in the United States. Gov. Martinez boasts a long list of accomplishments. She worked to turn the largest budget deficit in state history into a surplus without raising taxes.

Martinez reduced taxes on businesses and helped facilitate a positive regulatory environment for job creation through her support of the New Mexico Jobs Package. She led the effort to amend New Mexico’s tax code, ending penalties against manufacturers for exporting their goods. As a result of this initiative, New Mexico ascended from 38th in the nation in export growth to first.

Martinez pursued aggressive educational reforms, cleaned up corruption and increased transparency in government, all while working with a legislature controlled by Democrats.

She is leading the most comprehensive GOP Hispanic outreach effort in the country through the Republican State Leadership Committee, which is tasked with recruiting minority and female candidates to run for statewide offices as Republicans.

Both governors, who are rock stars in their respective states, have impressive resumes. This life-long Republican is ready to hand the baton to these two remarkable women in 2016 to lead our country to prosperity and the restoration of respect across the globe.

Martinez and Fallin will offer the nation a southwestern firebrand of conservatism that will transcend political partisanship, and will mitigate gender and ethnic alienation that has been evident in the last three election cycles.

On either side of the Texas border live our party’s two best assets, who should comprise the complete GOP presidential slate. Do your research, and you will see that these women are exactly what our country needs and what the presumptive Democrat nominee fears the most.

Lyle Larson is a life-long Republican who represents northern Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives. He can be contacted at lyle.larson@house.state.tx.us.

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