Askins Sets Sights On Governor's Job

Monday, January 5th 2009, 3:48 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins has announced her intention to run for governor in a letter saying too many Oklahomans are impoverished and college is too expensive.

"We need better schools and more college graduates," she said in a letter sent to supporters Friday. "We need to make college more affordable, not less."

She said Sunday she will make a formal announcement of her candidacy later this month.

"Far too many Oklahoma children are without health care and going to be hungry," she wrote. "There are tens of thousands while even one is too many."

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson also has said he intends to run for governor in 2010.

Democratic Gov. Brad Henry is serving his second term and cannot seek re-election to the office.

Askins, 55, is a former special district judge, House Democratic Leader and Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board chairwoman.

"I believe this experience in all three branches of government will serve Oklahoma well in the governors office," she wrote.

"Oklahoma is facing some difficult challenges and I think that the encouragement that I have received from people all across the state of Oklahoma from different backgrounds and from different geographic parts of the state have been an encouragement to me that
they think I have the skills necessary to help us through the difficult times that I think we'll have from 2011 on," Askins said.

In the letter she applauded Henry's bipartisan leadership, but writes that looking forward "there is so much more work to be done."

She also said there is a threat that Oklahoma may repeat its "unfortunate history of boom and bust without doing nearly enough to make sure state government operates conservatively and wisely in good times and bad."

Other names that have surfaced as possible candidates for governor include State Treasurer Scott Meacham, a Democrat, and Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Cole and Mary Fallin.