Tuesday, September 21, 2010

For Fallin, A Western Whistle-Stop Tour

In a throwback to a by-gone day and old-school politics, the Mary Fallin for governor campaign leased a two-car passenger train with a caboose dubbed the “Washita Princess” adorned with American flags and red-white-and-blue banners and whistle-stopped its way through a part of western Okahoma on Monday.

“We have a great appreciation for the values that Oklahoma brings, especially in rural communities,” the Republican nominee said from the back of the caboose outside the Wheeler Brothers Grain Company in Thomas.

“We’re going to make government work for you, not you work for the government.”

Fallin also made stops in Clinton, Cordell and Hobart.

About 100 Fallin supporters and volunteers packed into the slow moving Farmrail train, which meandered across the open prairie of western Oklahoma on tracks usually reserved for freight trains carrying wheat, gypsum, fertilizer and oil drilling equipment.

“This may be the last whistle-stop train tour you see in Oklahoma,” said University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie, who rode the train. “No one rides trains anymore. The modern whistle-stop tour is the tarmac.”

Fallin addressed supporters at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, ending each stump speech with her tag line: “Nobody will work harder for Oklahoma, nobody.”

In Cordell, where Fallin delivered her speech from the Washita County Courthouse steps, her message of creating a business friendly environment with lower taxes and changes to the workers’ compensation system resonated with 68-year-old municipal worker Lydia Hall. “We’re losing a lot of jobs out here,” Hall said. “A lot of the young people who leave our community don’t come back.”

Fallin ended the daylong train trip in Hobart and attended a fundraiser in Frederick.

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