Andy Richardson

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

As a father, I want to help make Oklahoma a place that my kids will choose to live and raise their families. I believe that too many bills in the legislature have shifted the burden on working families. I would seek the input of leaders in this field, as well as from families in District 69, to create solutions to help these families, especially the children. First and foremost, I believe we must better fund our public schools. This includes teacher pay raises but also means providing adequate funding for textbooks, technology, and other resources to improve the educational experience for our children. I also believe that we must better fund our social service agencies that serve and protect the most vulnerable children in Oklahoma, specifically DHS and foster care and access to health care.

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

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to play an active role in my community, church, and family. I have coached youth sports, served as church youth group leader, and volunteered at the after-school program Crossroads Academy, serving educational needs for children in north Tulsa. I have also volunteered at the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, as well as overseeing our community garden at church that provides fresh, healthy food options for those who need them.

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

I believe that we support children when we support families. We must stop shifting the financial burden through fees and taxes that disproportionally impact the low and middle-income families. I will champion efforts to make access to health care and higher education more affordable. I will do my part to ensure families have better access to essential services provided by the state, including Sooner Care, senior care, foster care and WIC. I would pursue programs and legislation that would help lift these families to prosperity, rather than punish them as we have seen in the past. I would support the restoration of the EITC as it is an easy way to make an immediate impact on families.

As an attorney, criminal justice reform is incredibly important to me. I believe that we must make significant changes to the system as it stands today. Too many families are being torn apart because of incarceration when mental health and substance abuse are the real problems at hand. I will support alternative sentencing programs like Drug Court and Veterans Court because they continue to show positive results including a reduction in recidivism and addiction. I will also champion programs like Women in Recovery in Tulsa that have provided mental health care and job training to help women return to their families healthier and stronger.