21st Century Economy
The economy is changing, and the way we make money along with it. These changes have brought dramatic growth to Payne County’s jobs and economic development, but the downside to these changes is that ever-increasing numbers of our people struggle to build wealth or even meet their basic needs.
Few people lose their jobs outright; they often transition to part-time work, causing a loss in income and, in some cases, their health insurance. Additionally, small-business owners find themselves unable to compete with big-business chains who can access the global market and afford the initial investment automation requires.
As your State Senator, it is my oath to ensure that your livelihood and interests are protected as changes in the economy increasingly impact our daily lives.
Education is THE cornerstone issue to every state. The best states in our country, across the board, are the states with the best education systems.
Education is the topic you will hear every candidate for office talk about, and for good reason. Of the powers delegated to the states in the U.S. Constitution, education is the most important.
There are three education issues, however, that remain undiscussed in public discourse. First, we must recognize that the Oklahoma education system doesn’t exist in a vacuum; our state is in competition with other states for strong education systems. Oklahoma’s poor stewardship of our public education is the reason we’ve lost 30,000 teachers to neighboring states in 6 years. It does us little good to restore 2009-level funding to public education when neighboring states are funding at 2019-2020 levels.
Second, we must consider the learning environment’s we are creating for our children and the working conditions we subject our teachers and support staff to. A classroom with 35 students, including several students with behavioral issues, is not a learning environment; teachers aren’t teaching students under those conditions; they’re just trying to make it through the day.
Third, education systems are designed to enable students to contribute to our society and find employment. However, the demands of the world economy are changing rapidly, and future employment needs are difficult to predict. Therefore, we must focus on producing members of our society that are flexible and can work in a variety of fields. This requires an emphasis on the fundamentals and teaching students how to think, not what to think. This requires increasing funding for creative subjects like reading, music or art; STEM topics are always critical, but it’s through the creative subjects that we teach students “how to think” independently.
Access to Quality Healthcare
A Healthcare crisis infects our State. Oklahoma has the 4th highest amount of hospital closures since 2010 and the highest when measured per capita.
Everyday this state refuses to accept full Medicaid Expansion funds is another life lost due to this state’s refusal to accept the money we already pay into through our federal taxes.
If we want our rural communities to thrive, then medical facilities must remain available to the residents of those communities. Otherwise, we risk our rural communities becoming ghost towns as job opportunities and adequate medical care becomes available only in larger cities.
Cybersecurity threats are among the greatest daily threat each one of us faces. It’s critical that we educate our people on how to protect themselves online.
Oklahoma Cyber Command does a great job at protecting critical infrastructure and key resource assets here in the state of Oklahoma. But ensuring cybersecurity for ourselves and our state requires that all of us know what roles we play in cybersecurity and how protecting ourselves online protects others online, as well.
Everyone must know how to protect their data. Everyone must know how to stop the spread of malicious code to others. Everyone must know how to spot scammers online and over the phone. It’s important that we ensure everyone knows how to combat these threats, protect themselves, and protect each other in an increasingly interconnected world.