Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Gov. Mary Fallin pledged to mayors and city officials Monday to help them in their efforts to attract and keep jobs.
“I want you to know that as governor I am available to help you,” Fallin told about 120 attending a legislative forum by the Mayors Council of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal League at the state Capitol. “Know that I am standing by to help you to close the deal or to help you keep that company in your community.”
Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina, who is vice president of the Mayors Council of Oklahoma, said his group especially liked the governor's message.
“We've been trying to get elected officials to take that step for years, to have that level of partnership,” Fina said. “If they'll follow through on it, then it will be very beneficial for the entire state.
“To have your governor or your lieutenant governor take an active role in economic development can certainly get you over the hump when you're being competitive for these projects.”
Fallin said she and Republican legislative leaders are committed to making changes in the workers' compensation system and the method of how lawsuits are filed to reduce costs to businesses, as well as providing sufficient money to improve roads and bridges and the state's public schools, CareerTechs, colleges and universities.
“I see our local communities as a very important tool for us in helping to grow our economy,” she said. “We need you there in your communities telling us what you need for tools to attract jobs, to retain jobs ... so that our children can stay in our communities.”
Lt Gov. Todd Lamb said he will be working with the governor and will be “hand-in-hand, lock-step, attached to the hip” working with the cities to help revive the state's economy.
“The only way Oklahoma will be competitive, remain competitive and increase our competitive economic spirit is making sure we put our best foot forward with attracting companies here and creating an environment where businesses that are here already are encouraged to expand,” Lamb said.
Fina said previous governors had a more “call-us-if-you-need-us approach.”
“Now we have two statewide elected officials who are saying, ‘We're going to be right here with you in helping you attract these projects,'” Fina said. “We think we can be great partners in that.”