As a teacher who specializes in urban education and working with students who have experienced trauma, I have firsthand experience with the struggles our most underfunded schools face. One in four children in our state go to bed hungry. Our Classrooms don’t have enough seats for our students. We need a state government that is going to address this issue with the level of urgency our students need. This means bringing our certified teachers back to our schools, ensuring funding is directly benefiting our classrooms, updating our textbooks with up to date modern curriculum, and guarantee our classrooms are a safe and welcoming environment for all our students. Investing in our students is investing in the future of our state. It’s our job to create a strong foundation for them, as they move our state forward in the years to come.
I’ll put it simply. We need to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. On multiple occasions now, we have passed up opportunities to accept federal dollars to increase accessibility to affordable healthcare in our state. No one should have to worry about the cost of going to the doctor, or whether or not they are going to be able to afford a life-saving surgery. I watched my parents go into medical debt caring for my younger sister who has autism, bi-polar disorder, and seizures. No family should financially struggle simply to provide their child with medical care.
Working in our most vulnerable communities, I have seen the direct impact our criminal justice system is having on our families. It is heartbreaking to have to watch a child grow up with a parent who is incarcerated for a nonviolent offense. One in fifteen black men are incarcerated in Oklahoma. The current system continues to keep people of color behind bars and that is simply unacceptable. We need to look towards reforming our parole and sentencing processes to drastically reduce our prison population. Our state incarcerates more people per-capita than anywhere else in the world and need leaders who will step up to the plate to create a criminal justice system that works for all Oklahomans. I believe investing in reformative measures over punitive ones will help Oklahoma families stay together.