Larry Bush

What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? 

Insure that education is properly funded including teachers being adequately paid. Also insure that mental health and substance abuse programs are properly funded.

What have you done to support children prior to this election? 

Fort the past 15 years I have donated money to local public schools for supplies, smart boards, pencils, papers, so a special needs class could go to Red Lobster and practice reading off a menu. Currently coaching and mentoring several kids, and regularly visiting local schools to read, and talk about the importance of education.

What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?

Pursue legislation that ensures that every kid gets the education that they deserve. Restoring the earned income tax credit to help single parents and hard working Oklahoma families provide for their kids. Pursue legislation that reforms our criminal justice system to mirror policies introduced in neighboring states like Louisiana who has greatly reduced their incarnation rate. Accept whatever dollars are available through the medicaid expansion.

 

Daniel Pae

What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Children of Joy Learning Academy, which is a local childcare facility. I was extremely impressed by the passion and energy of the workers who cared deeply about taking care of the children here. Based on my conversation with the executive director, I committed myself to working on policies related to improving the regulatory framework for childcare facilities. For example, there are opportunities to streamline the facility certification process, along with reducing the burdens for licensure requirements. These types of legislative actions can help Children of Joy and the other childcare facilities in Lawton.

Additionally, I met with Lawton Public Schools administrators to discuss how we can enhance the productivity of students during the summer months between academic years. I strongly believe that increasing the availability of mentorships and internships between local school districts, local businesses, and local governments can help achieve this objective. By having more of these opportunities available during the summer, young people will be able to sharpen their leadership and service skills.

Overall, the key to improving the lives of Oklahoma’s children will be to make proactive investments through long-term funding and local leadership that can make a significant impact. This type of approach should cultivate bipartisan support, and I hope that elected officials can come together to make it happen.

What have you done to support children prior to this election? 

As a student at the University of Oklahoma, I volunteered at Loveworks Afterschool Leadership, a venue for middle school students to learn life application skills. I did my best to be a role model for the students in my group. It was a humbling experience to volunteer here because some of the stories that the students have told me provide perspective for me about how one should be thankful for the good parts of his or her life. The middle school students taught me quite a bit about hope. Moreover, this experience has taught me the importance of humbly serving one’s community.

I also volunteered for Generation Citizen, which is a nonprofit that empowers young people to become engaged and effective citizens. I was assigned to Norman North High School, and through an “action civics” curriculum for high school government classes, the students identify an issue at the local or state level to research and devote their attention toward developing policy recommendations. The students in my class decided to learn more about Norman’s water quality challenges. At the end of the semester, there is an event called “Civics Day” at the State Capitol to present their research and policy recommendations. For many students, this is the first time that they have been to the State Capitol. It was an absolute joy to witness these students becoming more engaged in the civics process throughout the semester.

What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected? 

I believe it is possible to find common ground between the two major political parties on developing policy about paid family leave. This topic has been in the national spotlight due to indications that the lack of paid family leave policies in the United States has led to a decrease in the number of women participating in the labor market. Folks like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have proposed ways to provide paid family leave while also mitigating any negative fiscal impact for businesses. His proposal outlines a 25 percent tax credit to employers who voluntarily provide at least four weeks of paid family leave. This type of policy can promote more job satisfaction and better retention for employees, which will help businesses succeed over the long-term.

I support measures such as the restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit and improving the quality of childcare programs. We must also focus our efforts on reforming our criminal justice system because of how so many families have been adversely impacted by extremely long prison sentences. Oklahoma is now first in the nation with respect to our incarceration rate. Through Leadership Lawton Fort Sill, I visited our local juvenile detention center and county jail to learn more about the prison system. We should work toward implementing smart-on-crime policies that emphasize rehabilitation and treatment for the mentally ill and drug addicted. By making holistic investments in health and quality of life, we can improve the lives of Oklahoma’s families.