By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman
A historic number of Oklahomans voted in the 2018 Oklahoma primary elections. Regardless of your party affiliation or political beliefs, it was great to see an active and engaged citizenry getting out and voting.
For the majority of elected positions, the primary elections determined who each party’s nominee will be for the November 6 general election. In races where candidates did not break the 50 percent threshold, however, there will now be a run-off election between the two top vote-getters on August 28, just a few weeks away. At that time we will see seven runoffs for the statewide ballot on the Republican ticket, a runoff for the Gubernatorial election for the Libertarian Party, a race for the Democratic ticket with Oklahoma Corporation Commission, state and federal legislative races and many county positions.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) hopes that each voter will cast a vote that is informed on each race, and that children’s issues help guide those decisions. We have been working with partner organizations to recognize 2018 as the Year of the Child in Oklahoma, and that means we want elected officials who will consider the needs of our youngest state residents as they make their policy decisions going forward. Oklahoma’s rankings for child wellbeing, unfortunately, range from mediocre to truly dismal. The only way we can improve the state for the better is by creating more opportunities for our children, both through services provided and personal responsibility from parents and adults who are involved in their lives.
OICA staff worked very hard to prepare a legislative scorecard for issues voted upon by state senators and representatives this past session, along with a candidate questionnaire which was answered by a majority of those running for office. This might not sound substantial, but it is very difficult to get candidates to put themselves on record for issues in elections. Those completed surveys are located at OICA.org under the legislative tab for your perusal.
OICA’s ask of every voter before the August and November elections is simple: please go to OICA.org, review these candidate surveys, and compare how each candidate says they would work for Oklahoma’s children. Help us hold our elected officials accountable, reward those who are fighting for our children, and question those who have not taken the time to answer a short survey about their plans in office. We have kept the opportunity open for candidates to still send in their answers and we hope some of them who have refused to answer will still submit their ideas.
We also ask our friends in the media to take into consideration these responses prior to making an endorsement of a candidate. We know many factors go into these decisions, but we hope that those interested in Oklahoma’s children and their future will factor these candidate surveys into those endorsements. We also ask that you, the voters of Oklahoma, present candidates with questions about what they will do for the children of our state if elected.
Most importantly, please vote on August 28 and again on November 6!
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.
Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“