What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
1 in 4 children are food insecure in our state. It was a number one concern for teachers during the April 2018 walk out. Food is a right and a integral part of infant and child development. Sustainable funding for our primary food programs is imperative since most funds are federally matched. Oklahoma is a top five in citizens affected by hunger. Nutritional education and assistance is mandatory to helping the underserved.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
After school programs are expensive and not an option for most working or single parents. There isn’t any state funding for out-of-school programs, such as camps either. We do not access federal funds available to supliment this crucial need. It costs an average of $288 a week during the summer and $105 per week for after school care for just one child. The hours for any available care don’t always correlate with the parent’s work schedule. Transportation is a real problem. It warms my heart to see my sons play basketball with new kids from across my community at the Station in Moore, but we are all reliant on parent schedules and vehicles to bring them together. By not providing children with constructive activities, children of all ages are at risk for getting involved in behaviors and situations that put their safety and future in jeopardy. After school programs have reduced youth crime drastically in many communities across the nation.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
The reason I’m running is for the future of Oklahoma’s children. All children here deserve an equal education despite where they live. Our children need to be able to compete not only on a national level but globally in the next thirty years. What opened my eyes was visiting a friend who ended up in Mabel Bassett after years of not receiving help for alcoholism and mental illness. I went there the week before Christmas. It was full of children being raised by their grandparents while their mothers were serving a sentence in prison. How can we now see how far this resonates in our society? These broken families were not an exception for the holiday season, but were the normal visitors each weekend throughout the years I would visit. Being number one in the world in female incarnation per capita, I am not convinced that destroying family units is the answer for nonviolent crimes. These problems can’t be solved in a couple of years, but I hope to see many representatives make headway on these very real issues.