Melissa Provenzano

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

A fully funded educational experience is the foundation of any healthy community. Research shows that the number one most effective thing in the educational experience of a child is to provide them with a highly qualified, highly trained teacher. The teacher raise that we worked so hard to secure must be protected and funded beyond year one.

Children also need equitable access to our health care system. Right now, 160,000 people in the state of Oklahoma do not qualify for Medicaid benefits and are uninsured. They only seek out medical care if there is a health emergency. I would support accepting federal dollars offered to Oklahoma via the Affordable Care Act so that these families can get the preventative care they deserve.

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

As a graduate of Northeastern State University with a BS in Organismic Biology and then from the University of Oklahoma with a MEd in Educational Leadership, I honed my commitment to improving the lives of my fellow citizens by becoming an educator. First, as a Biology teacher at Will Rogers High School, then as an administrator at Booker T Washington High School, Hale Junior High and now for Bixby High School.

I have worked tirelessly during my tenure as an educator to ensure that the children of Tulsa have access to a well-rounded social and academic school-going experience. Developing in each student the skills and abilities that allow them to be successful in life beyond high school as career and college-ready citizens is crucial to our long-term success.

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

Meaningful criminal justice reform supports keeping the family unit together. 75% of the population in Oklahoma prisons are non-violent offenders. By working with those offenders and providing them with the mental health, social and work training supports they need, we can reduce our prison population sizes, save significant tax dollars and reunite families, arming them with the tools they need to be successful, contributing, employed members of our community.

The restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit for Oklahoma for working families is critical. Lower-income families pay a higher percentage of their annual income than their wealthier counterparts.