Ashley McCarter

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

I would like to see early childhood education, pre-k specifically, become more easily accessible state-wide. Science tells us how relevant early intervention is. I am also deeply passionate about educating young parents, holding them accountable, and providing support to them. We need effective programs that are readily available to anyone who is willing to participate. I support fully funding education and all core services. We need to serve the people of our state, not special interest groups. People are Oklahoma’s most valuable asset, but we have got to be willing to invest in them!

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

My professional background is in education, specifically early childhood. I have worked for Lawton Public Schools for 8 years and consider myself an advocate for children. My educational background is in early childhood education and school counseling, therefore, I understand child development and pride myself on doing what is best for children. I spend much of my extra time attending conferences, professional development, etc to continue to understand how to best serve children and their families. The first seven years of my career was spent as an educator at the LPS/Head Start pre-k collaboration serving low-income families.

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

As a single mother, and an educator who works primarily with low-income families, I understand the importance of the earned income tax credit. I fully support any policies that aim to better educate and support families in Oklahoma. I fully believe in funding all programs that serve children and families in Oklahoma. Without investing in our people, Oklahoma will continue at status quo; and that’s not good enough. We have to invest in our people. The money spent towards prisons could be better spent in adult education, drug treatment/prevention, and mental health. Once those investments are made, I believe we will see positive changes in our state.

 

David Pilon

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

Improved education. That has to be the biggest one. Not just better funding, which is a must, but also education reform along with it. I want us to have the best standard for education in the nation. Oklahoma sadly also has some of the highest rates of homeless, hungry, and abused or neglected children, so we also need to focus on doing everything we’re able to make sure that our children our housed in loving homes and have adequate nutrition and care.

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

I privately tutored a girl with Asperger’s and epilepsy. I’ve also assisted in food, toy, and school supplies drives for children in need. I also worked on behalf of the Affordable Care Act, and I was regularly raising concerns in that role up to higher-ups that we do possibly everything we could to make sure children weren’t wrongfully being denied access to health coverage, which they need.

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

Oklahoma has had the highest incarceration rate of women in the world, and now we have the highest overall. Many of those are parents or other family members or relatives who pose no danger to children, and the state hurts those children by taking their support system away from them, so we have to stop locking people up over minor, victimless crimes. We also need to restore tax incentives that go toward helping families and children. I have a plan to reform our taxes in a way which accentuates the positive effects of the tax reform bill while mitigating the negative, to show that Oklahoma can be forward-thinking and humanitarian in how we approach economics. I will also at the same time try to diversify industry to boost the availability of good jobs to working families.