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Why I’m Running – Because Oklahoma Deserves More

Oklahoma has been my home for 28 years. I attended Oklahoma public schools in Tahlequah, and I’ve been a teacher and administrator in Oklahoma public schools for over 18 years. I married my wife, Bea, in Oklahoma’s House District 23 and we raised our daughters, Willow and Rowan, here. However, today’s Oklahoma is not the Oklahoma where we grew up. Our education quality ranking has fallen to 49th in the country. While education has plummeted, incarceration ranks have skyrocketed. These two facts are related. Oklahoma spends almost double the money per prisoner as it does per student.

While more Oklahoma dollars are going to prisons, our infrastructure is collapsing. Hospitals have shut down, leaving some rural residents without adequate access to medical care. Our bridges and roads are in need of repair. Cuts to Highway Patrol funding means limited hours on the roads, protecting citizens.

With public infrastructure failing, Oklahoma is losing jobs and livable wages-- 76% or more of Oklahomans receive some kind of food assistance. All elementary and middle school students in Tulsa Public Schools receive free and reduced lunch benefits. Parents work multiple jobs to try to make ends meet, and too many of them still can’t put three meals a day on the table.

Serving community is a cornerstone of my life. After traveling in Mexico and Guatemala, I attended Abilene Christian University in Texas to major in Mission Studies. I soon realized that the cost of a college education was out of my reach, so I enlisted in the Army in 1992 and volunteered to serve with the 82nd Airborne Division. After my honorable discharge, I continued my service with the Oklahoma National Guard while completing my degree in Education through Northeastern State University in 1999.

It’s true; teachers can move to a different state and earn more money. Yet Bea and I decided to invest our careers in Oklahoma to help make our state great. Over the years, Oklahoma has shifted the burden of school funding onto parents and teachers. When we were young parents, we struggled to pay mounting school supply costs for our girls. Now school supplies are unaffordable for too many people. We were lucky that our girl’s grandparents helped us. Not every family is so fortunate.

In April, I walked 110 miles with many colleagues to the Capitol in Oklahoma City. We demanded the funding that Oklahoma students and communities deserve. That walk was a turning point for me. I decided my walk wasn’t done. I need to keep going for my students and my community. This is why I am running for State Representative of House District 23.

Losing millions of dollars in education affects everyone’s lives. Lack of education means more joblessness, more poverty, more crime, more hunger. I know Oklahomans deserve a state government that will fund future growth and opportunity. I’m ready to serve the people of District 23 and the people of Oklahoma because we deserve legislators who value Oklahomans.


Hoxie for House 2018
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