Chelsey Branham

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

Increasing education funding and expanding active learning opportunities for public school children; adequately funding mental health and crisis intervention services, as well as supporting the ODMHSAS programming that brings mindfulness and mental well-being into the classroom; addressing route causes of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and child abuse and supporting intervention programming; increasing workforce development and business development to create proper job readiness and job opportunity; working on criminal justice reform and supporting programs that address foster care youth and children with incarcerated parents; advocate for restoration of EITC and VITA funding, as well as IDA funding (Individual Development Accounts).

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

I work with families and in schools to supplement education opportunities and have served as a volunteer tutor for several years. As a director at YWCA OKC, I work to advocate on behalf of women, children, and families that have been victim to crime and/or that experience domestic violence or sexual assault. We provide life-saving services to help break the cycle of violence, as well as empowerment opportunities for children and families. As a member of the Police and Community Trust and an ardent social justice advocate, I work on issues relating to policing, incarceration, and advocacy for children of incarcerated parents and foster care youth. In addition, I work with TANF programs around the state, Community Action Agency, Community Alliance of Oklahoma, and national organizations (ProsperityNow, CEE, etc.) to advocate at all levels for equitable economic development and financial stability for low-income children and families. YWCA was heavily involved in advocating for the equal pay bill and against the open carry and permit-less carry, I personally advocated on Capitol Hill for retention of VITA/EITC/IDA funding and investment, among others.

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

I will continue my advocacy work from the chair of a legislator and lawmaker, and help others to understand the complex social issues our Oklahoma children and families are facing. I will also work to educate fellow lawmakers about the impacts and implications of their policy proposals and votes.

 

Jason Reese

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

Education must be a top priority for helping Oklahoma’s children. This includes properly funding K-12 public education as well as increasing concurrent enrollment opportunities with colleges and career techs. Likewise, healthcare affordability is an issue on which I will focus particular attention.

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

I have served on the board of Cristo Rey Catholic High School from before the beginning, i.e. when it was in the exploratory stages. This school is starting classes this fall and is designed to not only give underprivileged children access to a quality education, but also the soft skills that can only come from exposure to workplaces that they otherwise would never experience. This is done through a work study program that helps pay their tuition. I am proud to be a small part of bringing this model to Oklahoma City which has been so successful in over thirty other cities.

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

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a perfect example of a policy I support. I not only want to restore the refundability of the EITC, but also expand it. This policy is critical to helping families move from welfare to work and participate in the social mobility that is the center of my political thought. A niche I plan on filling in the State House is focusing on blue collar opportunity. Children in working class families have been under tremendous stress over the past few decades. If we can, through increasing apprenticeships and honoring the skilled trades, rebuild the working class, the children of Oklahoma will grow up in more stable homes and have better chances for the rest of their lives. This issue is an abiding passion of mine and I will raise its salience in Oklahoma politics.