Asked the importance about the historical election of Oklahoma's first woman Governor, Fallin said gender shouldn't matter and Askins used her time to cite her experience.
Asked about State Question #755- the one about Oklahoma judges not following Sharia Law, Fallin stated clearly and definitely, she supports passage of 755- didn't want to make the same mistake twice. Askins supports passage of 755 as well.
Asked why Oklahoma has so many women in prison per capita, Askins said it's because Oklahoma doesn't spend enough on community based counseling. Fallin said it's because we are a poor state and need jobs and economic development. Askins' answer was the classic liberal answer to everything- throw government/taxpayer money at the problem.
Asked about a recent report the Oklahoma State Teachers Retirement fund is the third worst in the country, Askins said “ We need to fix it before it hurts our bond rating.” Fallin said, "We need to keep the promise we made to the participants in the plan." While neither gained a clear advantage with their answer, Askins has a creditability gap on this issue. She was in the legislature for twelve years when the Democrats were underfunding the retirement systems and she was in the Democrat House leadership.
How can Oklahomans get better physically fit? Why are we so unhealthy?
Will Mary Fallin endorse Sarah Pallin for President?
Stupid question and has nothing to do with the issues in a campaign for Governor of Oklahoma, but it was asked anyway. A better question would have been WHO DID YOU VOTE FOR IN 2008 FOR PRESIDENT? Fallin evaded the answer, citing the names of friends she has who are considering a run at the White House. Askins said she hadn't met Pallin, but would go grizzly bear hunting with her if invited. She talked about her turkey hunting experience and how she bagged her first gobbler this year.
Is funding common education a worthy goal?
Askins answered this question well. She said, “Oklahoma should never strive to be average, but to be excellent.” There is just one problem- the reason Oklahoma is at the bottom in education is because Askins and her Party(Democrat) failed to get money to the classrooms during their "100 year reign of terror" in Oklahoma. Fallin fumbled this question, but eventually managed to say she favored administration sharing. Neither breached the "C" word (Consolidation). Fallin appeared to not be prepared for this question.
How do we get Oklahoma moving forward economically?
Fallin hit her three key points out of the park on this question. "I will focus on reducing our tax burden, educating our workforce and right sizing government," Fallin said. "I will create a governor’s task force on what holds Oklahoma back economically." Fallin said. Askins cited the success of the Quality Jobs Act and how important it is to have seed capital available for people who want to start a business.
Another stupid non- issue oriented question. Stating that Governor Henry will be remember as the 'Education Governor," the question was; "How do you want to be known as Governor? Askins had a very good answer. "I want to be known as the Governor who focused on children," she said. Referencing her meetings with Speaker Designate Chris Steele, (R-Shawnee), Askins said she has always had a keen interest in protecting and helping children. Fallin used her time to go back to her three point message, however this was a question that required sensitivity and Fallin fumbled with her answer. "I want to be known as the Governor who gave children and all citizens of Oklahoma a better future." Fallin said. It was a direct slap at Askins response. Askins was specific, clear, concise and believable. On this question, Fallin came across as a politico.
Citing Askins TV ads about her conservative credentials, Jari was asked-"What is your greatest conservative accomplishment?" This was perhaps the one opportunity that Askins had to 'knock it out of the park.' She failed! "I pushed legislation to create a trust to save the tobacco money instead of spending it like a lot of other states did," Askins said. While that is somewhat conservative, Askins missed to chance to tout her pro-life and pro-gun stances, but she didn't. Fallin said, "To me a conservative is a person who not only talks the talks, but walks the walk." Fallin cited her 96 rating by a conservative organization, her pro-life, and pro-gun stance. A very awkward moment for Askins.
Asked if they would support a change in Medicare matching funding in Oklahoma and would you put it to a vote of the people, Fallin was evasive and unclear. “We need to keep our fees low, because they are passed on.” Fallin said. Askins was more prepared for this question, citing several issues with the State's Medicare matching funding and concluded by clearly answering the question and stating, “I support putting it to a vote of the people.”
The questioner rambled on about how important the Tulsa area and NE Oklahoma is and how they haven't seen Governor Henry (who cares) in Tulsa much and finally asked "What is your style of leadership?" “Coming from Duncan, Oklahoma, I don’t favor OKC or Tulsa- I understand the issues that both metro areas face.” Askins said. “I think a Governor needs to be available. I have paid a lot of attention to Tulsa." Fallin said. The answer to this question should never change the mind of an undecided voter- a waste of time.
Instead of a question, this panelist editorialized about all the hurting in Oklahoma. "What can you do in the first 100 days in office that will help improve all the hurting in Oklahoma," she asked? Fallin knocked it out of the park on this answer. She said, “The best thing I can do is to create the best business climate possible in Oklahoma." Askins' answer was equally good. “There is no silver bullet to solve our problems in the first 100 days. I believe working with the legislature on a balance budget early will be best thing I can accomplish in the first 100 days," Askins said. Problem with Jari's answer is when she was in the legislature and Governor Keating (a Republican) was in office, the Democrats in the legislature(and she was in leadership) did not WORK with the Governor, so while the answer was good, her creditability is lacking.
Fallin hit her three(3) points: Jobs, educating Oklahoma's workforce, and right sizing government. She also said she would send a signal to Washington that we will not tolerate unfunded mandates. Askins reminisced on how she came to the decision to run for Governor and said she ran because she is a 'decision maker.' "You must be able to lead and to discern," Askins said. "I will build a team that looks like Oklahoma. I will make the tough decisions," Jari concluded.