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Mary Fallin (born December 9, 1954), AKA "Scary Mary", is the horribly inept former Republican Governor of Oklahoma, as well as a former member of the United States House of Representatives from Oklahoma's 5th district. Alongside Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (both of Oklahoma's current sitting U.S. Senators), she completes the triumvirate of politicians that constantly make Oklahoma look bad (though now that former Attorney General Scott Pruitt is running the Environmental Protection Agency, that number has jumped up to four. Poor Oklahoma.)
Early political career
Both of her parents had stints as Mayor of Tecumseh, Oklahoma. Though she was raised as a Democrat, she switched over to the Republican Party at age 21. After attending college at both Oklahoma Baptist University and later OSU, she worked for several Oklahoma state government agencies in various positions.
She ran for the 85th district seat of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in December 1989, winning both the primary and general election. She won re-election unopposed for her second term in 1992. At this point, Fallin was not quite as conservative as she would later become, enacting legislation outlawing stalking or harassment, and being lauded as a champion of victims' rights and health care reform.
The American Legislative Exchange Council named Fallin its Legislator of the Year in 1993.
Fallin was elected Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma in 1995, a position she retained until 2007, serving under two different Governors of Oklahoma, Republican Frank Keating and Democrat Brad Henry. Shortly after she was elected, she lead a commission to rebuild the child care center that was destroyed in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
It was during her tenure as Lieutenant Governor that Fallin started going farther down the red brick road when she came out in support of implementing a right-to work law in Oklahoma, which was passed in 2001.
U.S. House of Representatives
Fallin decided to run for the 5th Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was being vacated by the retiring Ernest Istook, winning in the general election in November 2006 and becoming the first woman from Oklahoma to be elected to Congress since 1920. Her tenure in Congress was relatively short, only lasting until 2011, and therefore she didn't accomplish much.
She was one of 38 Congressional Republicans who opposed the expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and voted for 2008 Wall Street bailout. She also voted against the auto industry rescue plan in 2008.
Governor of Oklahoma
Fallin announced her intention to run for Governor following the end of Brad Henry's second term, where she received an endorsement from fellow wingnut Sarah Palin. She defeated Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins in the 2010 general election. As Governor, Fallin has fully crossed over into wingnut territory. (See "Political views" below for examples.)
She endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States in May 2016, and there were rumors that she was being considered as Trump's running mate. Shortly after Trump won the election, he appointed her as one of the vice chairs of his transition team, and further rumors abounded that Fallin was being considered for a position in Trump's cabinet, possibly as Secretary of the Interior. Ultimately, she declined and decided to remain in Oklahoma so she could continue to wreak havoc as governor.
Fallin is very notably anti-LGBT. She notably ordered National Guard facilities to deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples on the grounds that Oklahoma law didn't recognize same-sex relationships. This rightfully drew ire from the Pentagon when then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed that this was in violation of federal law.
In 2016, Fallin went on CNN and defended a particularly vitriolic Republican anti-LGBT platform that proposed ending marriage equality, banning same-sex parenting, restricting transgender bathroom access, and even supporting conversion therapy. The argument she used to defend it was that they wanted to be "inclusive of everyone" and "not just one group." She also claimed that the platform couldn't possibly be homophobic because "there were gay people on the platform committee". Actually, there was only one gay person on the committee.
Hoo-boy, has Fallin royally fucked over Oklahoma's public education system. Ever since she's been governor, Oklahoma has lead the nation in cuts to school funding and have faced a shortage of teachers because of low pay. She has also rallied for transferring the administrative powers of Board of Education solely to the State Superintendent. Which isn't dictator-like at all.
She was initially a supporter of Common Core, but signed an executive order to repeal it in 2014 when she claimed that Common Core had been "tainted by federal overreach" and that Barack Obama and Washington bureaucrats had "usurped" Common Core to "influence" public education....which more or less sounds like conspiracy theorist bullshit.
Fallin is one of the nation's top anti-abortion crusaders, having signed over twenty anti-abortion bills into law during her tenure as Governor. She has stated that she supports a "re-examination and reversal" of Roe v. Wade. Her stances on abortion have earned her praise from both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
In April 2015, she banned a common second-trimester abortion procedure, except when necessary to save the life of the woman. The very next month, Fallin signed into law a measure that tripled the mandatory waiting period in Oklahoma for an abortion, extending it to 72 hours. The measure also included other anti-abortion provisions.
In a rare stopped clock moment in May 2016, she vetoed a bill from the Oklahoma State Legislature that proposed making abortion a felony. However, she admitted that the only reason she did so was because the bill was "too vague".
Among other things, Falling has called for the elimination of Oklahoma's state income tax while expanding sales taxes, effectively making taxation more regressive. She has also tried to get rid of minimum wage and attempted to raise the cigarette tax.
Like many of her fellow GOP contemporaries, Fallin has a deep abiding love for fossil fuels, particularly oil, which she has described as a gift from God in the past, and is known to cater to oil companies and fossil fuel developers (not surprising, as the oil and gas industry is her number-one campaign donor, and has been ever since her tenure in Congress.) Under her, there has been a large increase in fracking in Oklahoma, which in turn has caused an increase in earthquakes.
She declared October 13, 2016 to be "Oilfield Prayer Day", calling upon Christians to "thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection." Which is one of the most ridiculous things ever.
Fallin can be considered a global warming denier. In the past, she has questioned whether or not climate change was responsible for state draughts, and was also a staunch critic of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, issuing an executive order prohibiting the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and other state agencies from creating an emissions-reduction strategy under said plan in April 2015.
Fallin is a devout Christian and has had a tendency to champion Christianity over other beliefs.
She once implored Oklahomans to pray for rain during a particularly aggressive heat wave in 2011.
In 2012, Fallin refused to follow a court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol, despite the Oklahoma Constitution forbidding the use of public property for the benefit of any kind of religious purpose. She claimed that the ruling was "incorrect" and protested that she simply believed that the capitol grounds was a good place to display a "historical monument." The court ruling was upheld via appeal, but Fallin still wouldn't hear it, calling for an amendment to the state constitution to allow the monument to be restored to the capitol grounds. The Legislature passed the resolution placing the question on the Oklahoma ballot, with voters to decide at the November 2016 election. The resolution was subsequently defeated.
Fallin has pushed for the increased use of the death penalty in Oklahoma, mostly lethal injection, while refusing to release details of the new chemical concoctions used in these executions.
- Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma's current senior U.S. Senator.
- Sarah Palin, her crazier counterpart.
- Rick Perry, her contemporary from Texas.