Julia Kirt

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

Our education system must give children better opportunities and clearer career paths. We also must improve lifelong learning, allowing adults to retrain, build new skills and reenter the workforce, which will in turn benefit children. We must add back in the funds that were cut from public education over the past few years. Then, we must increase funds so that our per pupil expenditures exceed the regional average.

Our state critically underfunds mental health services, leaving many without treatment. Increased funding could help our state serve more with substance abuse and mental health treatment, helping stabilize families and make communities safer. Growing our brain health funding could help us identify children’s mental health or substance abuse needs earlier and provide more effective treatment.

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

I have advocated for and supported children in public education in multiple ways. My children attend our neighborhood Oklahoma City Public School. At their school, I have organized other parents in advocacy to benefit all students, helping parents and teachers speak up to the school board and state legislature. Also, I started a community partnership to serve all students at our school with additional visual arts education.

After seeing the gaps for many children to have access to a full education, I helped create a district-wide partnership (Arts Partnership for OKCPS) so that community arts organizations can enrich the lives of students in every school in the district. As director of Oklahomans for the Arts, I have advocated at the state and federal level for the kind of public education policy and funding that all our kids deserve.

I have served as a volunteer leader on multiple boards and community committees to improve the lives of children in our community, such as the Compact for OKCPS Read OKC Initiative Committee, the All Access Arts Committee, Downtown OKC Strategic Initiatives Board, and more.

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

I have spent the last 20 years improving Oklahoma. My work as a statewide nonprofit leader has prepared me to work with all kinds of people around common goals. I know the potential of our state and the impact of consistent leaders. We can support education that helps Oklahoma children reach their potential. We can build safer communities and support families. With my nonprofit leadership background, I will be a strong advocate for education, health care, and criminal justice reform, focusing on the public good.

Every Oklahoman should be able to participate in the political process and trust that lawmakers have their best interests at heart. Many of our lawmakers have focused on divisive legislation instead of balancing our budget or ensuring wellbeing. Some even avoided their constituents, instead negotiating behind closed doors. As a State Senator, I will lead with transparency and cooperation.

 

John Symcox

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

Start with a defined mission for our State Government’s role in laws, regulations and programs designated for supporting children and allowing additional opportunities for the youth to succeed and thrive. I will focus on education and skill development for children to thrive in careers they pursue. Supporting initiatives of this will be directed towards mental health and disability advocacy. Stopping the cycle of generational poverty has been a passion for me so working with families to maintain as much stability for kids to develop is a primary objective.

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

I have worked with Upward Transitions and various United Way organizations to work with families to support the stability of the household and build an environment that encourages children’s pursuit of excellence. I have also worked with a foster child to mentor and guide him to consistent success and growth. I also for many years have coached soccer for children and instilled discipline and confidence in kids fro 6yrs old to 18yrs old.

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

I will continue to build up the family and encourage the family support system that is vital to child development. I will also work endlessly to grow the economic environment so that families have the jobs and means to support their families. I will also tirelessly pursue changing our education system so that it is designed to prepare our youth for their future careers and give them the exposure and skills to continue to grow and thrive beyond their time in education.