Learn The Issues
Education is the great engine of upward mobility and economic growth. As I have close friends and family members who are teachers, I am heartened by the increased funding for teachers enacted in 2018, as it was greatly needed. We need to ensure that any additional funding for education is well spent and that our tax dollars are getting into the classroom. Further, we must be open to educational reforms that provide future generations with greater opportunities and outcomes in education.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Oklahoma must maintain adequate training and funding for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and our other law enforcement agencies. They are the front line in keeping Oklahomans safe. My goal will be to work toward fairer sentencing and greater rehabilitation for non-violent criminals. I will also work to ensure that the judicial system and the District Attorneys’ offices throughout the state are adequately-funded and staffed.
Ideally, taxation should be solely imposed to fund the core government functions. Tax revenues shall never be misused for purposes that ultimately limit the vision of companies or people who may have a desire to move to Oklahoma. Certainly, Oklahoma should compete for businesses who wish to relocate here, but our legislators should let the free market work. Further, our tax structure should encourage startups that create good paying jobs for future generations and not limit the entrepreneurial spirit. Our tax system should be efficient, but effective.
Legislators need to ensure that our waterways, railways, and roadways continue to be useful for the transportation of commodities, products and goods. With the support of subject-matter experts who are in transportation work nearly each day, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation maintains a solid eight-year strategy that rolls over year-to-year so the government can budget and plan accordingly. We should listen to the industry leaders and rely upon much of their leadership to help guide us through this planning while holding them accountable for the use of our tax dollars.
Energy is one of the pillars on which our State’s economic success depends, and we need to always be mindful of ways in which to encourage production, innovation, and profitability. It is the largest economic driver of Oklahoma’s economy. We have huge reserves of natural gas, and our legislature needs to continue encouraging exploitation of this resource so that more jobs are created, our economy grows, and we provide future generations with opportunities to stay here without feeling the need to move out of state to get good paying jobs.
There is a difference between economic development and economic growth. Economic development is necessary in certain areas where companies may not have an interest to invest, such as in the less-populated areas of our state. Economic growth occurs as a result of free market capitalism. Therefore, if Oklahoma focuses on providing excellent core services in the areas of safety and security, education, infrastructure and transportation, and health care and human services, economic growth will occur. Good paying jobs will come here, and remain here, when Oklahoma makes the business and legal climate one in which companies can operate most profitably.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
As a volunteer lawyer for children in state custody, I have learned first-hand the difficulties the state agency has in attracting and retaining excellent case workers and others who serve this vulnerable population. Our Department of Human Services (DHS) employees need continuing support. Additionally, we need solutions to address mental health problems, and programs to discover, curtail, and prevent contagious diseases and their spread. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, I saw first-hand how important it is for the State to step in when nursing homes fail to care for patients. I believe the State has a vital role to play in protecting the elderly and the disabled.