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June 14, 2014

Governor says federal storm relief has been good

MIDWEST CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said the federal government’s response to the Cleveland County tornadoes has been “good.”

“It’s been good. For the most part, it’s been good,” Fallin said, adding she has dealt with many natural disasters in her years as governor, lieutenant governor and as a member of Congress. “We appreciate the attention we got during the Moore tornado.”

She said the state has a top-notch emergency management program that doesn’t wait on help from others.

“One thing we don’t do is wait for the federal government to come in,” she said.

Fallin’s comments came during the summer meeting of the Oklahoma Press Association. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, also has been satisfied with the federal government’s response.

She talked about her accomplishments since being sworn into office in January 2011. She said the state’s rainy day fund has topped $500 million and that the unemployment rate in Oklahoma is among the nation’s lowest.

Recent announcements by Macy’s and General Electric will add jobs to the state. State employee pay raises and pension changes should make the state a more competitive employer, she said.

The governor pledged transparency and openness and told the meeting of journalists that she signed six pieces of legislation that strengthen open meetings and open records laws.

“I want you to know I am a strong supporter of the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts,” she said.

She called the recent legislative session “interesting.” “There were good things that came out of the legislative session for the people of Oklahoma.”

When fully implemented, the reduction in the state’s income tax rates will return about $158 to the average Oklahoma family and return about $200 million to the local economies.

“It will make us more competitive and help our families,” she said.

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