What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
Supporting families is key to supporting children. Parents need access to jobs that pay a living wage and provide quality healthcare and paternal leave programs. I have and will continue to support legislation that ensures Oklahomans are paid a minimum wage higher than $7.25/hour, provided adequate and quality healthcare, and have the option of paid family leave for paternal care after a child is born. I have also supported legislation ensuring women in Oklahoma are paid the same rate as men. I have and will continue to support the restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
A quality public education system is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration, therefore I will continue to support revenue ideas that will provide increased funding for early childhood education programs and common education.
High quality and affordable childcare must be a priority in Oklahoma. In order for parents to stay in the workforce, they need to feel confident that the childcare facilities in Oklahoma will keep their children safe while assisting in their child’s development. Childcare should be financially attainable, and can be, if we work together to make this a priority for all Oklahoma families. I have worked on, and will continue to work on, legislation that provides nutritional and wellness guidelines to ensure our children are given healthy options while in the care of someone other than their parents.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
Prior to joining the Legislature, I worked for Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. I managed our outreach and community programs in public housing, juvenile detention centers, and public schools. My primary focus was to leverage private and public funding to provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to young women in western Oklahoma who did not have access to the traditional troop model. My work with the Girl Scouts is what motivated me to run for public office. As a nonprofit staff member, I understood the need to have elected officials who prioritized the issues most pressing to children living in poverty, without a parent due to incarceration, and attending poorly funded public schools. I have also given my time, talent, and treasures to organizations working to improve the lives of children in our community: Infant Crisis Services (OKC), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma City, and Oklahoma Messages Project.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
I look forward to continuing my work on the Subcommittee for Human Services and Children, Youth, and Families in the House of Representatives. I also look forward to continuing my work on the following tasks forces: Waiting List Caucus (addressing our waiting list for Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities), Early Childhood Education Caucus, Children and Families Council Foster Care Task Force, and the State Advisory Group for the Office of Juvenile Affairs. All of these committees and task force groups provide the opportunity to dig deeper on the issues facing our children and families in Oklahoma. I will continue to support increase in funding for services and programs improving the lives of children as well as policy measures that pertain to families like criminal justice reform, mental health services, and healthcare.