Bipartisan Problem Solver.
- Stopped Abuse of Education Dollars
- Streamlining of Teacher training
- Diagnostic Mammograms - Covered by Insurance - Now LAW in Oklahoma
- Student Loan Borrower Protections - Now LAW in Oklahoma!
- Landlord Tenant Act Updates - Now LAW in Oklahoma
- 9/11 Flag of Remembrance - Now LAW in Oklahoma
- Increasing Stability for Law Enforcement jobs
- Health and Mental Health Care: Cost transparency for common procedures
- Constituent Services: Support for issues with state agencies, driver's licenses, car tags, tax mistakes, unemployment problems, disability services, local landlord and tenant issues
Restoring the Teacher Pipeline
Our teacher shortage crisis continues to deepen, and will get worse as teachers who have held off retiring begin to leave over the next 1-2 years. 17% of the teachers in our state are eligible to retire now, today. We must restore the teacher pipeline through our universities, who are experiencing a drop in enrollment. Studies across the nation clearly demonstrate that the best teachers for our children are those university trained professionals.
Privacy and Access: Health care decisions belong between health care provider and patient. The government should not involve themselves in the private health care decisions made between a doctor and patient.
Surprise Billing: The charge to ending surprise medical billing has begun, but there is still much work to do.
This election cycle, "school choice" means vouchers.
I support our families who choose to send their children to private schools. I also believe that not every tax credit is bad. However, I struggle with voucher programs and cannot support our current model for three key reasons:
1. Private schools do not have to accept everyone. By law, public schools must.
2. Funding: Many private schools tuition far exceeds the value of the voucher award. Families who cannot make up the difference are out of luck. Added to that cost, transportation, books, extracurricular costs and lunch are all the responsibility of the family. This prices many families who live in true poverty out of the opportunity.
3. Accountability: Private schools do not have the same accountability requirements as public schools with academics, support systems and oversight. When accepting public funds, we must also be willing to accept public accountability systems.
Accountability for abuse of taxpayer dollars used for education was a focus for 2021 and 2022. I am proud to say I have been a part of holding private companies responsible for education dollars they have hidden and misused. We must remain vigilant ensure it never happens again.
Adequate funding for supplies, textbooks, and technology is a critical need for all Oklahoma classrooms. Last session the State Legislature made an excellent start in turning education funding around in our state. We must protect this budget in the coming year, and ensure that we spend those funds in the most efficient and effective way, and special interest must be shown the door.
Supporting Small Business
Small businesses make America. Easy to understand tax laws, as well as support for funding entrepreneurs and start-up companies, are critical. Recovery from the pandemic has begun and is in full force, but we must continue to encourage and support Green Country start-ups big and small!
Criminal Justice Reform
Many defendants who have served their time in jail spend the next several years paying off fines and fees incurred while incarcerated. They often have to make tough choices between providing for their families or paying off these fees, which often lands them back in the system. We can do better. We should:
- Disclose to defendants the total amount of fines, costs and fees before they accept a plea deal.
- Determine the defendant's ability to pay, and offer community service in lieu of fees if they are not able.
- Bail reform that is fair and feasible for defendants.
Discrimination in any form is not acceptable. All voices matter and have merit. Opinions, lifestyles, and backgrounds may differ, but working together to find common ground unites us as one.
Quality of Living and Workplace
Oklahomans have the right to earn a fair living wage that allows them to invest in a secure retirement while still putting food on their table each day and night
Curious about where Melissa stands on Gun issues?
Watch her debate a proposed gun bill on the floor of the House during the 57th Session.