Over the last several years, Oklahoma has cut more funding for public education than any other state. As an educator and mother of three, Carri has seen how these budget cuts impact students first hand. Our growing classrooms are dangerously overcrowded. 30 students crammed into in a classroom built for 20 students is not a safe or productive learning environment. We are also experiencing a devastating teacher shortage. Our student population is increasing, veteran educators are retiring, and school districts across the state are struggling to recruit new talent. Sadly, these school districts cannot offer competitive salaries because starting pay for teachers is higher in every neighboring state. Carri knows that unless things change, our kids will leave school without the skills they need to enter college or the workforce. In the State Senate, Carri will make it her priority to restore funding to public education and make teacher salaries competitive.
Carri believes that access to basic healthcare for all Oklahomans should be a fundamental right. When Carri was pregnant with her second child, her first-born son became seriously ill. After weeks of declining health, he ended up in the emergency room and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Carri is grateful for the lifesaving care her son received, but she knows that many families lack access to that quality of medical care. Our uninsured rate remains high, and too many Oklahomans are forced to choose between seeking the care they need or avoiding a lifetime of medical debt. Politicians at the Capitol are only making matters worse. Lawmakers regularly threaten to defund programs that serve the most vulnerable Oklahomans. Carri believes every family deserves the best treatment possible, no matter their background, their income, or where they live. In the State Senate, Carri will be a champion for protecting and preserving Oklahoma’s public health services.
Criminal Justice Reform
Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice system is at the point of crisis. Our prisons are so overcrowded that they are dangerous for guards and inmates alike. We incarcerate more women than any other state, and mostly for nonviolent crimes. Oklahoma spends so much money on prisons that we have had to cut funding from other vital services. The good news is that there has been a bipartisan movement for reform at the State Capitol. Smart reforms to sentencing and parole are already reducing our prison population while preserving public safety. In the State Senate, Carri will work across the aisle to support additional criminal justice reform.
Balancing the Budget
Revenue failures have led to devastating cuts to public education, health services, and our roads and bridges. After years of empty promises, lawmakers once again showed that they are not serious about raising revenue. Politicians at the Capitol continue to limit budget negotiations to raising sales taxes on consumer goods like fuel. Meanwhile, oil and gas companies pay a lower tax rate in Oklahoma than in any other energy-producing state. Our leaders want to nickel-and-dime working families, but they won’t go after huge tax breaks for powerful special interests. We could cut Oklahoma’s budget shortfall in half just by asking our largest companies to pay the same tax rate as the average single parent! In the State Senate, Carri will fight for a budget deal that spreads the tax burden fairly and raises enough revenue to consistently fund our core services.