Mary Fallin, 61, is the first elected woman governor of Oklahoma and spoke during the final night of the Republican National Convention. She is being considered for a role in the Donald Trump administration.
Politico reports that Fallin is being considered for interior secretary and will meet with Trump on November 21.
She previously served as the state’s Lieutenant Governor from 1995-2007 and represented Oklahoma’s fifth Congressional district in the House of Representatives from 2007-2011. She also served as the co-chair of the Republican platform committee, overseeing the party’s platform before the convention began. She was first elected as governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
Fallin was married to dentist Joseph Fallin from 1984-1998 and married lawyer Wade Christensen in 2009.
Here’s a look at Fallin’s life and career.
1. Fallin Was the First Ever Republican Lieutenant Governor for Oklahoma
Since Oklahoma’s lieutenant governors are elected separately from the governor and are not running mates, the state often has the two offices held by different parties. When Fallin won in 1994, she became the first Republican lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, even though there had been Republican governors before. Before becoming lieutenant governor, she was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Just a few months into her term, the Oklahoma City bombing happened, with 168 people killed. According to Legal Reform in the News, Fallin created a task force to build a new childcare center to replace the destroyed one. In 1998, the YMCA Heartland Child Care Center opened.
To this day, Oklahoma still holds an annual memorial, in which the victims’ names are read.
“That remarkable response gave birth to a new phrase: the ‘Oklahoma Standard,'” Fallin told NewsOK.com on the 20th anniversary of the bombing last year. “The Oklahoma Standard is a community spirit of resilience, compassion and generosity witnessed by the whole world. It is something that makes us special — as a people and as a state — and something that we have an obligation to teach our children and their children about.”
In 2006, she successfully ran for Congress, becoming the first woman to represent Oklahoma in the House since Alice Mary Robertson from 1921-1923.
2. Fallin is Anti-Abortion, but Vetoed a Bill That Would Have Made it a Felony
Oklahoma is on the Americans United for Life‘s list of “Most Protective States.” In 2015, she signed a bill that required a 72-hour waiting period before a woman has an abortion. During her tenure, she’s signed 18 pro-life bills into law.
However, in May 2016, she vetoed an anti-abortion law that the state legislature passed, warning that it was unconstitutional. It would have made performing abortions a felony and would make it legal to pull a doctor’s medical licence unless it was proven that the abortion was necessary to save the mother’s life. She called the bill “so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother.”
“While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination,” Fallin said in a statement. “In fact, the most direct path to a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade is the appointment of a conservative, pro-life justice to the United States Supreme Court.”
3. She Made the National Guard Process Spousal Benefits at Federal Facilities After DOMA Was Struck Down
Before the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal across the country in 2014, it was illegal in Oklahoma. A year before that decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. In August 2013, the Pentagon then said it would offer spousal benefits to same-sex couples in the military.
This caused a controversy in Oklahoma, as Fallin wanted to refuse to allow National Guard members to apply for spousal benefits if they were a same-sex couple. Then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the state to do it.
However, as KRMG reported at the time, Fallin decided to get around this by denying all spousal benefits to be applied for at state-owned National Guard facilities.
“Oklahoma law is clear. The state of Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor does it confer marriage benefits to same-sex couples,” Fallin said in a statement at the time. “The decision reached today allows the National Guard to obey Oklahoma law without violating federal rules or policies. It protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.”
The Republican party’s 2016 platform, which Fallin had a role in shaping, was also perceived as anti-gay as it still opposed same-sex marriage. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus even told the Associated Press that opposition to same-sex marriage is “one of the bedrock issues of our party.”
4. Fallin Signed an Executive Order to Avoid Following the Obama Administrations’s Climate Rules
Fallin has opposed the Obama Administration’s efforts to stop climate change. In April 2015, Fallin signed an executive order that banned Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality from coming up with a plan to help the state meet a regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions from power plants.
Fallin was not the only Republican governor to stand against the rule. As the New York Times points out, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also protested the plan. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who was picked to be Trump’s running made, also threatened to ignore the rules.
In 2013, Fallin told KRMG that she didn’t think climate change was the cause of a drought in her state. “It’s just nature itself and the patterns that flow and so we’re going to continue to pray for rain in the state of Oklahoma and hope we that we get some relief,” she said.
5. Fallin Endorsed Trump in May & There was Speculation She Would be a VP Pick
Fallin endorsed Trump in May and there was speculation that she would be considered for his Vice Presidential pick. Trump ended up going with Mike Pence instead.
“It’s a great honor just to be mentioned,” Fallin said, The Associated Press reported at the time. “My first and foremost goal right now is to finish our legislative session, but if I were to receive a call that said: ‘I need you to help make America great again,’ I’d be happy to take that call.”
She said she believes that Trump can help motivate the change voters want, “so I’m 100 percent behind him.”