Representatives with Governor Mary Fallin's office say she heard about the presidential visit through the media last week and left for a planned vacation to Puerto Rico on Friday. They say the White House did not contact her office until Sunday about President Obama's visit. Lt. Governor Todd Lamb was also out of the state.
The Oklahoma City and Midwest City mayors as well as military leaders greeted President Obama when he landed at Tinker Air Force Base on Wednesday night.
Fallin's Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez visited with Obama when he traveled to the Cushing area Thursday to discuss domestic energy policies.
Governor Fallin did release this statement about President Obama's visit to Oklahoma.
I am pleased that President Obama is able to make his first visit to the great state of Oklahoma this week and to personally see the good work going on in Cushing. The TransCanada pipeline to be built there will connect Oklahoma to oil markets on the Gulf Coast, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 Oklahoma jobs. This project will help to bolster our energy industry and security for years to come.
I am glad the president supports the construction of the pipeline connecting Cushing to the Gulf. Impeding the progress of something which is so obviously beneficial to both the economy and the energy security of the United States would have been nothing short of irresponsible.
Unfortunately, President Obama and his administration are practicing exactly this kind of obstructionism on the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil from the Canadian oil sands and several U.S. markets to Cushing. As a result, the United States must go without the hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that would have otherwise been available to stimulate our economy. Just as importantly, the administration’s decision undermines U.S. energy security and alienates our closest trading partner, Canada.
I hope that while President Obama is in Oklahoma he takes some time to listen to our citizens, many of whom work for the energy industry which he claims to support. I think they will tell him that – far from supporting the responsible domestic production of American-made energy – his administration has undermined it at every turn. Rather than embracing the truly remarkable technological breakthroughs that have resulted in the discovery of an additional 100-year supply of natural gas, the president and the EPA continue their hostility to basic and time-tested practices like hydraulic fracturing. The president and his party in Washington continue to support an aggressively anti-energy agenda that will severely hamper the American economy and put the United States at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world.
In Oklahoma, we recognize that the energy industry is an important ally in job creation and economic development. We believe that American energy is a resource, not a hazardous waste. My great hope is that some of that attitude will rub off on our president, who has lost his way on energy policy and so many other issues.
State Representative Mike Shelton released this statement about Governor Fallin's absence during President Obama's visit:
Regardless of your partisan affiliation, there is such a thing as basic decency and neighborly politeness. For the governor and most major state officials to skip President Obama’s visit is insulting to the president and an embarrassment to the state.