Gubernatorial candidate Jari Askins stopped by Ada on the campaign trail Friday afternoon and talked about the state’s economy and education, among other things.
“I do believe it’s going to be a difficult term for whoever is governor,” Askins said. “I think budget issues are going to be paramount in trying to maintain what we think are essential and priority programs for the state.”
She said she feels well-equipped for the tasks ahead as Oklahoma’s next governor.
“Nobody who is running for governor has the background or experience in the appropriation or budgetary process that I have,” she said.
Askins said she also believes her history of bipartisanship will allow her to work with legislators and residents on both sides of the aisle.
“My background in all three branches of government has really given me an opportunity to earn a reputation for working in a non-partisan manner,” she said. “I think that’s what the public is looking for. They’re tired of the fighting and bitterness that comes out of Washington, D.C.”
As a lieutenant governor and state representative, Askins said she tried to help local communities’ efforts to grow jobs.
“Coming from Duncan, I get it. My dad bought a business on Main Street,” she said. “Main Street creates jobs. Not government.”
She said the aerospace industry is an area she wants to promote.
“Oklahoma has one-in-11 jobs connected to aviation or aerospace. It’s clearly an area that provides better-than-per-capita income,” she said.
Askins said education is another key to building a good workforce.
“We’ve got to be able to prove to business and industry that we’re creating a work-force that can step out and be ready to fill the jobs,” she said.
She said regional colleges, universities and technology centers are a big asset toward that end.
Askins also said she understands some of the draw-backs of unfunded mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act and standardized testing to teachers in Oklahoma.
“When you’re talking about a pay-for-performance, I don’t believe it should be based on a test score,” she said.
She said Oklahoma needs to be talking about possible changes in curriculum for a landscape of changing media and technology.
“I think there are a lot of things we ought to look at trying. We can’t continue to teach the way we were taught,” Askins said.
She said she looks forward to meeting the challenges before her if she is elected governor.
“I really and truly believe that I have the skill-set the public is looking for at this point in time,” Askins said.