Chelsey knows that Oklahoma leaves too many students behind. Every day, Chelsey works with clients who dropped out of school or graduated without basic life skills like financial literacy. In recent years, Oklahoma has cut public school funding more than any other state. School districts across Oklahoma struggle to attract and retain good educators, because teachers can make higher salaries in any neighboring state. If we continue down this path, we risk an entire generation growing up without the skills to enter college or the modern economy. As State Representative, Chelsey will work to restore funding to schools and retain good educators. She also knows that our skills gap does not end with high school - we must invest in higher education as well. Chelsey will make it a priority to keep college and technical training affordable, and to preserve funding for adult literacy and job readiness trainings.
Criminal Justice Reform
Working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Chelsey has seen how our criminal justice system fails many of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens. Oklahoma incarcerates more women than any other state, and mostly for nonviolent crimes. Skyrocketing prison costs make it harder and harder for our state to fund core services like education. Racial disparities in arrest and use of force have eroded trust between law enforcement and minority communities. Chelsey believes that responsible criminal justice reforms can strengthen the entire community, protect police officers, and save taxpayer dollars. That is why she works with the Police and Community Trust (PACT) to improve relations between law enforcement and the Oklahoma City community. Chelsey has successfully ushered in important policy changes in the public and private sectors. As State Representative, she will work to implement effective reforms at the statewide level.
Working in the nonprofit sector, Chelsey has seen first hand how our economy fails Oklahomans. Oklahoma relies on just a few major industries, and that makes it difficult to balance our state budget, attract jobs, or grow Oklahoma’s economy. All our eggs are precariously perched in just a couple of baskets. Because our state lacks diverse sources of revenue, our core services are vulnerable to economic downturns. Public schools, hospitals and clinics, mental health programs, state parks, infrastructure repairs, and child welfare and most other sectors of the Oklahoma budget have all endured deep cuts. It seems like the only exception is our corrections budget. As State Representative, Chelsey will work hard on behalf of all Oklahomans to diversify our economy by investing in our workforce. Strong public schools, affordable higher education or technical training, and accessible workforce readiness programs geared to grow sectors of the world economy will attract new employers to our state. These businesses will bring high-paying jobs to our communities and increase the tax base that our core services depend on.
Early in her career, Chelsey worked for the Department of Human Services. She is currently a member of the Infant Mortality Alliance. Through these experiences, Chelsey has seen first-hand how many people slip through the cracks of Oklahoma’s public health system. Oklahoma is routinely identified as one of the least healthy states in the nation. Our state has high rates of drug addiction, infant mortality, obesity, diabetes, occupational fatalities, and untreated mental illness. We have low rates of exercise, insurance enrollment, and access to women's health services. Each of these shortcomings create barriers to a vibrant growing economy and contribute to our unmanageable incarceration rate. As State Representative, Chelsey will work to reverse these trends and make public health a priority to ensure the Oklahoma economy and Oklahoma businesses can rely on having a healthy workforce, without which they cannot thrive, let alone expand.