Baber on The Issues
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The highest purpose of government, I believe, is to protect its law-abiding citizens, and when law
and order break down, society breaks down. Yet, there is a balance between being too punitive
and too lenient in law enforcement, and we need to always seek to find that balance. Oklahoma
needs to work on initiatives to reduce our incarceration rates by focusing on fair sentencing as
well as efforts to rehabilitate prisoners so that they have a second chance at becoming productive
citizens when they are released. However, we must not release violent criminals or give non-
violent prisoners unlimited chances to reoffend. We also need to cooperate with federal
authorities to deport illegal immigrants who break our criminal laws. We need to support local
authorities with responsibility for police and firefighters as well. As an attorney and former law
clerk, I would enjoy working on legislation related to judicial selection and lawsuit reform.
Finally, I am committed to legislation and policies that will protect the Second Amendment
rights of Oklahomans, as I believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend
Education is the great engine of upward mobility and economic growth. I have close friends and family members who are public school teachers, and I believe they need to be well-paid, well- prepared, and well-supported by administration, parents, and community leaders. More important, however, our children need to be well-taught and well-prepared for success in the workplace and in life. That means greater accountability, with the expectation of better outcomes at both the common education and higher education levels in Oklahoma. That means being open to educational reforms which will provide future generations with greater opportunities and outcomes in education. It means fewer mandates, less indoctrination of liberal thought and progressive values, and a greater focus on workforce development. It means freedom of speech and expression for students and professors alike. It means reforms to our funding formula. It may mean consolidation at the administrative level for some schools and separation at others. It means choice. It means that every child in Oklahoma has a chance at a quality education.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH
Oklahoma has recently been rebranded as the “hub” of America, and we need to capitalize on
our location, our diversity, our hospitality, and the ingenuity of our people. Now more than ever,
our small businesses, retail establishments, and entrepreneurs will need assistance and guidance
from state government to survive and thrive. In addition to the giants in energy and aerospace,
our agricultural and manufacturing interests will need support from government leaders to
continue providing the services, products, and jobs needed to strengthen our economy and
sustain our people. This means removing regulatory burdens and streamlining paperwork and
processes, developing our workforce, bringing in investment and employment opportunities, and
forging partnerships and innovative collaborations among multiple entities. It means reforming
occupational licensing laws and preserving right-to-work and workers’ compensation reforms.
We need policies to show Oklahomans and the rest of the world that the American Dream is not
only possible here, but alive and well.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
As a volunteer lawyer for children who have been abused and neglected, I advocate for those in state custody and, as a legislator, I will look for ways to improve the laws governing the care of these children and those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. As for unborn children, I am pro-life and anti-abortion, although I would make exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, I fought to improve the quality of care in nursing homes. As for healthcare in general, I believe Oklahoma needs to be focused on initiatives that lower costs and improve health outcomes for all Oklahomans. Greater
price transparency and elimination of surprise billing practices would certainly help. Other options may include maintaining incentives for employers to hire the uninsured and provide them with insurance; creating incentives for greater provision of health care in rural hospitals and clinics; and lowering prescription drug prices by reducing the role of administrators in the payment process.
Oklahoma’s finances have always been subject to boom and bust years, but legislators and
administrators did much to account for that characteristic in recent years by setting aside
taxpayer dollars in the Rainy Day Fund and in savings which will now be essential in a time of
economic distress. More than ever, we will need pro-growth tax relief to expand our workforce
and tax reform to expand access to capital. We should look continually for incentives and
initiatives to support existing and developing businesses, especially those in technology,
aerospace, and telecommunications. Lawmakers have recently taken steps to increase the
transparency of our state’s finances by putting the state “checkbook” online, and have worked tostrengthen the state’s retirement systems for police, firefighters, teachers, and other public
employee groups who have served our state so faithfully. Legislators should remain vigilant to
protect these pension funds. Our laws must consistently promote sound fiscal policy and
safeguard the financial health of our State.
My grandfather worked in the early 1900s as a roughneck in the oil fields of Burk Burnett, just
south of where he lived in Walters, Oklahoma. He didn’t have the success of Tulsa’s early oil
pioneers, but I recognize that 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 one of the largest economic drivers of Oklahoma’s
economy. Our legislature needs to continue encouraging exploitation of all energy resources 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.
As a legislator, I will work to ensure that Oklahomans continue to lead the way in providing the
affordable and reliable energy that drives our local economy, empowers our state, and secures
energy independence for our country.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORTATION
Legislators need to ensure that our waterways, railways, roadways and airports become and remain in top condition for the safe transportation of people, commodities, products and goods. With the support of the legislature, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been able to create and maintain a solid eight-year strategy for roads and bridges that rolls over year-to-year
so the administrators can budget and plan accordingly. As we saw with the flooding in 2019, dams across Oklahoma need to be continually repaired, upgraded, and maintained to prevent loss of life and property in years to come. Legislators should listen to industry and government leaders throughout the budgeting process while holding them accountable for the use of our tax dollars. Our central location in North America makes us ideally situated to receive and deliver goods from around the world, and we must continue to ensure our infrastructure is more than up to the task.