What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
I taught in Oklahoma public schools as an elementary educator for 33 years. At present I work as a mental health care professional with a counseling agency where I see children from all different economic and ethnic backgrounds. As a state representative I would like to see education fully funded and teachers receive a pay raise, so Oklahoma schools have certified teachers in their subject area for each classroom. Other items of interest to me is to see that children are offered free breakfast and lunch at school regardless of their parents’ income.
Oklahoma should have taken the Medicaid expansion to be able to assist with more services for our most vulnerable. It is my belief that no services should be cut to children. In regards to safety issues, every child should feel safe no matter where they reside. We need armed security in each building in our school systems but our current budget makes this a problem.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
As stated previously, I was an elementary teacher for 33 years and worked with all ages, and I still work with children through the counseling agency I’m with. I’ve been a volunteer with a multitude of programs that supported children’s needs with clothing, food, and housing. My husband and I have been contributors and volunteers with Catholic Charities (which I volunteer with for needy families), God’s Angels at Christmas, Salvation Army , Compassionate Friends (supporting children who have lost a sibling), and several other organizations that are part of our local community.
While teaching I volunteered with many programs over the years helping with reading, math, sports and 4-H. I’ve served on the boards of Beta Sigma Phi Philanthropic Sorority and Beta Iota which assists with clothing, food, and medical needs for needy families. I’m also vice president for Partner’s for Animal Welfare and have assisted children with adopting a pet or placing their pet in foster care. The local OSU chapter that I belong to raises funds for graduating seniors at area schools.
During my time as an educator I was involved with making policies concerning the welfare of children such as how they were dropped off and picked up at our buildings. Other policy making that I was a part of was playground safety issues and keeping our building safe from intruders. There are other policy making decisions I was involved in over my career that are too numerous to mention.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
The earned income tax credits need to be restored in our state. Working with the neediest among us has shown me how much this has hurt families who no longer have this. As far as the criminal justice system is concerned one of my campaign platforms is criminal justice reform. We can no longer continue to lock up non-violent offenders, especially those with minor children. I’ve worked with children who have a parent incarcerated or have seen a parent taken to jail. I plan to introduce a bill to alleviate this problem.
Enhancements for quality of life improvements could be but not limited to the following: education, mental health services, behavioral health in schools, healthcare, Sooner Care, services through DHS, substance abuse treatment and prevention instead of incarceration, TSET dollars which assist families in communities to live healthier lives, health department services need to be restored for family planning.
Our legislatures in Oklahoma need to make families a top priority by putting adequate funding into programs that are child related. As a state legislator I will advocate for children in every possible way.
What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? We must improve our public education, better schools will result in being better prepared to enter into the workforce.
Improve DHS foster care programs.
What have you done to support children prior to this election? My wife and I have always supported 4-H and FFA programs through sponsorship and hands on training with the care of livestock.
Longtime supporters of Jr Rodeos.
We provide a building in Wilburton free of charge for a free health clinic for children and families who have no financial resources or health insurance.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected? I will work to make sure our community has the excellent schools, affordable healthcare and quality jobs.