For The Children Weekly Column

Remembrance and Advocacy at the State Capitol

March 6, 2023

“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Monday, Oklahomans gathered at the State Capitol Building at 6 a.m. to honor the memory of those Oklahomans who fell victim to COVID 19.

Organized by state Sen. Paul Rosino, this gathering had several speakers, including Governor Stitt and Sens. Greg McCortney and Roger Thompson. A powerful message was shared with the crowd in attendance about the pain from the loss of nearly 18,000 loved ones in our state including Senator Rosino’s son.

It was a very moving ceremony and I want to thank those who organized this event and helped contribute to the sunrise service. Things such as this are necessary for the healing process for those who lost friends and family, especially for the many who could not attend funeral services during the depth of the pandemic.

As the week begins, the Legislature moves into its second deadline. All the bills which can advance were heard in their committees in the house of origin over the past month. Those remaining unheard in the assigned committee cannot be considered this year but will be eligible for consideration next year.

For the bills which OICA was tracking, more than 400 impacted children and families; there are now exactly 175 on our list. These numbers will change as the Legislature goes forward and bills are either killed or amended in some fashion.

Each of these remaining bills will have some type of impact on young Oklahomans. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has been working to raise awareness about many of these policies, both with lawmakers and Oklahomans outside of the Capitol.

Our next event will be held at the State Capitol on March 21 and is open to the public. Advocacy Day also combines our annual Chili Cook-off for youth programs and shapes up to be a wonderful networking event for advocates to be able to meet policymakers in a friendly setting.

One of my board members often says that it is great when you have the phone number of your senator or representative, but you have accomplished something when they have your number and they use it to seek advice.

The Advocacy Day and Chili Cook-off is an excellent opportunity for you to begin developing those connections with your lawmakers. The legislative session is not necessarily the time to fully connect with lawmakers as they are extremely busy at the Capitol. Even so, there is no better time than the present. One opportunity is our Advocacy Day, and all who care about children are welcome. To sponsor the Chili Cook-off or sign up to enter the competition, go to

I also encourage you to find out about events going on in lawmakers’ districts and take part. If you are part of a civic organization, certainly make sure your lawmakers are aware of these functions as they enjoy getting to meet their voters.

During my Monday address to the Enid Rotary Club, I was very glad to acknowledge Sen. Roland Pederson and Rep. Chad Caldwell. The lawmakers introduced our new Kid Governor®, Mila O’Brien, at her inauguration in February. Mila joined me for the presentation at the Enid lunch. We appreciate lawmakers’ being a part of our activities, and they enjoy taking part in positive events.

Get to know your lawmakers, celebrate the good occasions with them, be respectful, and remember the humanity that we all need to share as Oklahomans.