John Michael Montgomery
What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
Restoring fiscal stability and growth is first and foremost to being able to provide and grow services or other programs that help children. This has and will continue to be a key area of study and work for me.
Beyond stability in revenue, ensuring all Oklahoma children have the opportunity of a quality education is vital. This starts with having a trained professional with a competitive wage in front of the student, with strong supports to enable equity in opportunity among students, regardless of their background.
The state must work toward linking students to a quality career as students become adults. Efforts to smooth this transition from school to work must be continued. Far too many slip through the cracks in the transition time.
Spiraling healthcare outlays (for public educators and employees, businesses, and individuals) mean less in the way of resources for other vital programs. I am committed to working toward a bipartisan solution to temper these costs, ensuring children and their parents have the coverage they need while using freed up revenue for programs that help children.
The state should look at a more robust retirement savings structure, to enable wealth transfer among generations, and to help families caring for elder parents.
Finally, the state should consider a conditional cash transfer strategy that will help families in the meantime while using school attendance and other health programs to enable cash rewards. The goal of such a program is to break a cycle of intergenerational poverty.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
I have authored and supported measures that address some of the previous commentary, such as stabilizing revenue, setting us on a true growth track, and ending reliance on volatile revenue over time.
More specifically, I voted against rolling back the EITC, and voted for efforts to make addictions like smoking less attractive.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
As fiscal stability is restored, program restoration or reform for families such as the EITC should be considered. A more wholistic approach to such cash transfers, like the conditional cash approach, will continue to be an area of study and consideration for me. There is an opportunity to reduce certain administrative costs while bolstering family supports in such a proposal.
The state should continue its efforts on judicial/criminal justice reform and expand resources, particularly for mental health and substance abuse services. While this is not my expertise, it is a cause I believe in and will support continued efforts in this realm.
I will support continued efforts to reform certain occupational licensing so that barriers to work for those seeking better paying jobs to support families are reduced.
Quality healthcare at an affordable cost should continue to be a goal. There is an opportunity for bipartisan success on this issue that continues to strain family finances and hampers the success of Oklahomans.
Additional infrastructure investment and work on public private partnerships in that area should certainly be considered so as to attract quality jobs to the state, enhance quality of life, and workforce efficiency. There is an opportunity to combine retirement savings and wealth transfer needs to provide additional resources for this investment, and I will continue research and development of legislation to make this a reality.