Oklahoma Legislature - State Representative, District 93
|Term limited year||2028|
|Highest degree attained|
|Occupation||Teacher, small business owner|
|Office phone||(405) 557-7371|
What do you hope to accomplish in the 2018 session?
I’m working on the Oklahoma Apprenticeship Bill. I want to ensure that students know all of the options going out of high school. Not just college, but also the lucrative careers in the trades. It’s important that we continue to invest in our Career Techs and the trades, one, because of high student debt, and two, because of the automation that’s displacing more jobs every year. I have a slogan called ‘High 5s Without the 4,’ which means there are jobs that offer a high five-figure salary without the traditional four-year degree. If college is something that they aspire to, then they can pay their way through college without accruing a lot of debt. It’s not just traditional apprenticeships, like construction trades ... but also modern apprenticeships like computer programming. With automation just around the corner, you’re looking at everyone from truck drivers to IT who are going to be displaced, and we need to be prepared for that, especially in Oklahoma, where roughly 55 percent of our jobs are threatened by automation … Another concern is payday lending. There are more payday lenders in this district than any other in the entire state. I’d like to make it to where borrowers can’t continue to take out loans when they have outstanding loans. Right now they can do that multiple times, and they get to a point where they’re paying 390 percent more interest. That’s devastating for people who are in a financial bind. I have constituents who are working 80 hours a week at $7.50 an hour, and barely clearing $30,000 a year. We have single mothers who barely see their children when they’re awake because they spend so much time working. Other legislation I’m very excited about is possibly bringing back industrial hemp to Oklahoma farms
What do you hope the Legislature will accomplish?
We need to focus on recurring revenue. We need to balance our budget. We need to adequately fund our core services, everything from health care to public safety to education. Those are very important things that we have come up short on. I’ve sat with many of my constituents, and it’s affecting them personally. I’ve visited nursing homes and senior centers, and many of them depended on the Advantage Waiver program and when it was going to be defunded, it was very stressful on them, and they suffered health impacts because of that. My No. 1 priority for every legislator going into the regular session and the special session is to create an actual budget that’s sustainable and constitutional and just. And what I mean by just is not putting the entire burden on lower and middle-income people.
What should people know about you?
I’ve worked as a roughneck on drilling rigs, and I’m also a certified teacher, and so, to be able to relate to my constituents on just about all the different spectrums, just knowing that I’m very accessible and easy to get ahold of, and I listen. All of my legislation has come from constituent requests, and talking to people and listening to their needs, has probably been the cornerstone of my tenure so far.
Data from followthemoney.org