OICA Candidate Surveys Are Now Available Online

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman 

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is pleased to be a key partner in “2018: Oklahoma Year of the Child,” an effort to encourage interest in children’s issues with candidates for office.  OICA compiled a list of what we felt were the top twenty positive bills from this past legislative session so voters can see who supported child-friendly potential laws.  We have also undertaken the task of reaching out to candidates to ask them three simple questions.  The full results, including candidate surveys, will be uploaded by Wednesday, June 20 to oica.org under the legislative tab (or directly at http://oica.org/legislation/candidate-questionnaire/candidate-questionnaire-results/).
  
The survey questions are:

  1. What ideas/policies will you pursue to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? For example, what laws or policies will you champion, what programs will you attempt to expand or decrease, and what area of interest regarding children will you establish yourself as a leader amongst your colleagues.
  2. What have you done to support children prior to this election? For example, discuss policies which you have had a direct impact in seeing implemented, what volunteer work have you personally done to improve the lives of children, or have you had a job which has worked with kids.
  3. What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected? For example, would you support ideas such as restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, fiscal policy revisions for child-related programs, criminal justice reform, local immigration reform, and/or list enhancements for quality of life improvements for families.

 
OICA contacted Executive and Legislative branch candidates for answers.  We emailed those who reported email addresses to the state with four different requests and mailed a postcard to all, including those who did not report emails to the Ethics Commission.  We also reached out through Facebook to request answers to those without email addresses reported. I tell you this, so you will know OICA did everything within our power over the past few weeks to ensure candidates received contact from us regarding this survey. 
 
All-in-all, OICA sent out surveys to 454 candidates and received 174 back. Frankly, I am disappointed that over 250 candidates for office declined to respond by the deadline, and I think Oklahoma voters should be also. Our state lags behind most others in indicators that measure child health, economic well-being, and family stability. The quality of life for too many children in Oklahoma is objectively poor. It should be incumbent on every individual running for office to take the time out of their day to write 250 words explaining what they will do to improve conditions for children if they are elected. I encourage voters to go to http://oica.org/legislation/candidate-questionnaire/candidate-questionnaire-results/ this Wednesday, June 20 to see who did not respond and who provided answers for consideration.
 
As candidates submit their answers, even though they are now considered a late response, we will still input their answers. For the candidates who win, OICA intends to remind them of their response when it comes to an issue which will impact children.  If Oklahoma is going to move out of the dismal rankings for child well-being, it will take elected officials who truly care about these issues and who are willing to do something about it.  We hope you, the voters and constituents who can elect them, will also take into consideration the most important reason to support a candidate in 2018: the children of Oklahoma.