What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
We need to invest in education. As an educator, I have seen the direct effects of 28% budget cuts in the past decade. When we don’t offer teachers a wage that supports the basic cost of living, we are devaluing the very foundation that prepares our future leaders. Responsible recurring revenue streams will be a top priority for me.
Healthcare affects our family deeply. My son has type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed at a young age. Our family is in a constant battle with healthcare providers and insurance companies to cover the supplies, medicines, office visits, etc. We must opt-in to the federal Medicaid expansion. We also need to attract multiple providers to the Marketplace in Oklahoma. Having limited the marketplace to one provider places so many families and children in an unfair position to afford services.
Criminal Justice reforms must be moved to the spotlight. When we incarcerate non-violent offenders we continue to perpetuate a cycle, by separating families. We need to move as far away from for-profit prisons as possible and begin investing in rehabilitation services. These changes to the criminal justice system seem common sense to me. Oklahoma should not be proud to be leading the world in incarceration rates, and until we make meaningful changes to the way we treat and value our priorities we will continue to be last in everything that is important.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
I have been in the classroom for the past seven years educating our future. I entered the classroom as an Early Childhood advocate and after obtaining a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education I have been loudly advocating for developmentally appropriate practices with academic rigor. I have worked with Smart Start Oklahoma and the Early Birds Program. I volunteered with Heartline Crisis Services in addressing an alarming trend with suicide in Oklahoma, and was a certified HELP speaker in classrooms. Additionally, I have partnered with Calm Waters, in serving a critical need for our students’ well being. Prior to being an educator, I was working with United Way of Central Oklahoma, as a Community Investment Liaison. I was directly responsible for Youth and Family Services communication and programming.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
Families in Oklahoma are barely hanging on. I support the restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit and finding less regressive taxes and fees to fund our government. As previously stated healthcare, education and criminal justice reforms are my top priorities. I believe it all starts with education. When you invest in education you’ll see it affect everything from increased graduation rates to decreased incarceration rates.
These three areas are what prompted me to run. This campaign has always been about making Oklahoma a better place to live and work. I’m a proud Oklahoman, and I know that if we can make the necessary changes in these three areas a quality of life will be restored to all families.