Oklahoma Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Economy, Prison Rates

Wednesday, October 20th 2010, 9:13 am
By: News On 6

By Jeromee Scot, The News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The two candidates for Oklahoma governor squared off in the first of two debates Tuesday night.

Republican Mary Fallin and Democrat Jari Askins wasted no time telling Oklahoma voters why they're the right candidate for Governor.

"I want to make this clear, I am an Oklahoma Democrat. Oklahoma Democrats are conservative. We are not extreme," Askins said.

"I'm ready to lead, I'm ready to work on your behalf and I know together we can create a more stronger, prosperous Oklahoma," Fallin said.

Oklahoma's economy was one of the big issues. Askins said the Oklahoma legislature should spend an entire session focused on nothing but the budget.

"I do believe we'll have over a billion dollar shortfall. I don't think we'll have that much economic recovery," Askins said. "For the future Oklahoma needs to move to a two year budget cycle."

Fallin said if elected, she'll make sure the legislature focuses on the budget issues early on, so areas like education, law enforcement and road work get proper funding.

"Early on, set those targeted budgets, early on in the legislative session so that we'll know how much money we're gonna be spending on those important priorities for the state," she said.

The candidates also spoke on Oklahoma's prison rates, currently around 99 percent capacity.

Mary Fallin said she's looking at ways mental and drug courts can help stop addiction that can lead to violence. Askins said Oklahoma needs to invest more into rehabilitation programs to help keep residents out of jail.

Both Mary Fallin and Jari Askins will debate in Tulsa next week.

10/06/2010 Related Story: Governor Candidates Jari Askins And Mary Fallin Talk Hot Topics At Tulsa Rotary Club

For more on Campaign 2010, check out NewsOn6.com/politics.