Fallin says Trump visit centered on tribes, energy industry
Posted November 22
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma's economy, the oil and gas industry and the 39 federally recognized Native American tribes in the state were some of the topics discussed during a 40-minute interview in New York with President-elect Donald Trump, Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday.
Fallin spoke to reporters about her interview on Monday with Trump and his incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus about the possibility of her accepting a position in Trump's administration as head of the Interior Department, a federal agency with more than 70,000 employees.
In discussing her qualifications, Fallin cited her experience dealing with the state's Native American tribes and the 12 years she spent on the governing board of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, among other things.
"We had a long conversation about the Indian tribes in our state and how very important they are to economic development, about sovereignty issues. We talked about the energy sector," Fallin said. "We talked a lot about the economy and jobs and how to get our economy going again and to create jobs quickly. He was very focused on that."
Fallin cited a settlement reached earlier this year between the state and two of its largest Native American tribes — the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations — to end a water rights and tribal sovereignty dispute stemming back to the 19th century.
When it comes to oil and gas drilling on public lands, Fallin said she would defer to Trump's policy, but stressed the importance of striking a balance between creating jobs and being good stewards of the environment.
Fallin made the comments before touring the ongoing $245 million renovation of the 100-year-old state Capitol.
The project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2022, is currently ahead of schedule and under budget, said Kyle Nelson, project director for Manhattan Construction Company, which is overseeing the interior renovations.
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