“I think it was obvious again that we have a young governor with a vision for our state and the boldness to lead. A true leader doesn’t just point out the problems, he proposes real world solutions and that’s what this governor did today.
“I was particularly impressed by his continued dedication to improving education in our state and his recognition that teachers are the engine that make our education system go. Educating the next generation of Oklahomans is the best way to ensure a prosperous future for our state.
“I think the governor’s education priorities are our priorities – full funding of the health insurance premiums for teachers and the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, improved teacher pay and funding to expand Senator Fisher’s Partnership for School Readiness Act into rural areas.
“I was also appreciative of the emphasis Governor Henry placed on health care issues and on saving Oklahoma’s horse racing industry. As he said, we can’t turn a blind eye to these problems. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“We need to build a world-class cancer center, establish a sustainable statewide trauma care network and dramatically reduce the number of Oklahomans without health insurance. Governor Henry not only made these proposals today but he’s identified mechanisms in his budget to fund them – an increase in the tax on tobacco products and targeted fee increases.
“And we need to allow our horsemen to run for larger purses by granting them parity with the more than 80 tribal casinos in our state.
“I’m hopeful that with the level of support the governor showed for these measures today that we’ll be able pass legislation to improve the health of our state and keep the 50,000 horse racing industry jobs at home in Oklahoma where they belong.”
“Our state has historically been at the bottom of the list when it comes to how much we pay our state employees. The governor recognized that today and offered his support to one mechanism that will save us money that could be used to boost their pay – reducing the number of non-violent offenderss we keep behind bars by better utilizing drug courts and other alternative forms of sentencing.”