Todd Blackburn

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

We need to find a way to help make daycare and after-school care affordable for the lower income families that want to work but can’t because daycare or after school care costs more than they can make in a week

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

I volunteer on the OSU IT Committee to help the college professors better prepare the young adults for the workforce. This group discusses industry needs from graduates and then guides the professors as it is relevant in the classroom. I am also a member of the Tulsa Aquarium board which plans fundraisers allowing the Aquarium to grow while continuing to educate and entertain children on marine life and conservation.

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

I would like to see the Sooner Care program expanded by creating a phase-out program instead of a salary cutoff. Currently, the program promotes the idea that it’s better NOT to take a raise when your salary is just under the qualifying maximum annual salary. We need to make this program goal oriented, and reward those that earn raises, by providing affordable healthcare options.

 

John Waldron

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

First and foremost, we must invest in our children. That begins with education. Every child deserves access to good public schools, but we lead the nation in cuts to education. Education funding must be restored. Class sizes must be reduced. And students should have access to services they need in schools – special education, alternative education, meals, counseling and enrichment opportunities.

Beyond education, young people need access to health care and mental health care in particular. With so many children growing up in poverty in our state, we must do more to take care of basic needs. My wife, who teaches at an alternative school for kids who have been through the juvenile justice system, tells me stories every day about the hardships her students face. Life should not be so hard for the youngest among us. We are leaders in teen pregnancy, female incarceration, child poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse. While I do not believe government should do everything, it should take the lead in looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves. That means investing in education and social services, and making our criminal justice system more family-friendly. Where possible, we should support public-private partnerships with groups like the Mental Health Association programs like Women in Recovery to improve the lives of young Oklahomans.

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

I am a career teacher, with 20 years experience in Tulsa Public Schools, all of it at Booker T. Washington High School. I am the parent of a 9-year old boy.

I have spoken before a federal civil rights panel on the school-to-prison pipeline. I have been a loud voice in the community in calling for better education policies.

I helped found a suicide prevention program called Safeteam, in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Tulsa.

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

I will fight to restore education funding and renew our teacher corps. That includes efforts to reduce class sizes. I would invest in health care and in programs to reduce teen pregnancy and substance abuse. I would put fewer mothers and juveniles in prison and support efforts to divert people from the prison pipeline to treatment programs. I would renew our state’s faltering foster system and put more social workers into the field. I would fight against efforts to reduce revenues needed for these programs, and oppose discriminatory legislation directed against lgbt youth or lgbt families wishing to adopt. I would vote to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit. I would reverse tax cuts benefiting mostly wealthier Oklahomans that have come at the cost of programs that help working Oklahoma families.