What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
The best action that the State Auditor can do is to provide assurance to the public that state funds appropriated for children’s needs are actually spent for the purpose they are intended. The Auditor’s position does not create policy, but financial transparency for government spending is a key component in providing assistance to children and families.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
I served on the board of Help, In Crisis, Tahlequah, for over ten years. This included serving as Treasurer and Board Chair. Help in Crisis provides assistance to families affected by intimate partner violence, as well as housing a Children’s Safehaven Advocacy Center in Tahlequah and Sallisaw.
I am currently treasurer for Rise Up, Inc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which provides funding for education facilities overseas. The past two summers, I have traveled to Konso, Ethiopia to view the progress on construction of a school building in a remote village there, and developed a relationship with the residents.
As a faculty member at Northeastern State University, I supervised a free tax preparation (VITA) site that provided assistance to families, most of which received the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides economic assistance to families with children.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
The State Auditor must remain independent of the government which is being audited. Because of this, I cannot, in my position, advocate for policy. I can, however, provide assurance that funding allocated to childrens’ issues is spent appropriately. While the auditor cannot initiate an audit of agency efficiency, I would, if requested, fully investigate to find ways to use State funding as best possible.