(Editor’s note: Earlier this month, NonDoc emailed questions to more than two-dozen candidates running for various offices. More than half of those sent questions did not respond by the Oct. 20 deadline. The appearance on our site of a candidate’s responses, which have been lightly edited for style and grammar, in no way represents an endorsement from NonDoc.)
Democrat Collin Walke currently faces Republican Bruce Lee Smith and Libertarian Elle Collins in an election to represent Oklahoma’s House District 87 in northwest OKC. Below, Walke responds to general and specific questions regarding his candidacy. Walke’s opponents did not reply to the same questions, or else their answers would be included here as well.
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for the state Legislature because I believe our state is heading in the wrong direction. For too long, we have been ranked at the bottom of states in the things that matter like health care and education. Our state needs change, and I believe that I am the candidate that can provide the best solutions for the problems currently facing our state.
What have you done in the last 10 years that most qualifies you to hold this office?
I have been an advocate for our community both personally and through various organizations. For example, I have fought against TIF districts in Oklahoma City that pull public tax dollars away for private development. I have also been an advocate for criminal justice reform, and I have served on the board of directors for the state’s largest homeless shelter for the past eight years. Moreover, as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College, I saw firsthand the struggles our students have and the need for increased education spending in this state.
Oklahoma’s education funding has been a topic most relevant this election year. Are you voting for or against State Question 779 on Nov. 8?
First, the most important fact about SQ 779 is not whether someone is for it or against it but rather that it is an indictment of our do-nothing Legislature and their general incompetence when it comes to adequately funding our public schools. Second, I believe there are major problems regarding SQ 779, not the least of which is that it is a constitutional amendment that implements a regressive tax. That being said, I believe that if SQ 779 does not pass, our Legislature will do nothing to fix the problems at hand.
Aside from education, what topic are you most passionate about? What is one piece of you legislation you are considering filing next year?
Mental health funding.
Rep. Jason Nelson (R-OKC) declined to run again for HD 87 earlier this year. Tell voters one policy area where you agreed with him and one policy area where you differ.
I agreed with Rep. Nelson on autism insurance reform but disagreed with him on privatization of public education.
(Editor’s note: Walke’s wife, Lori, has authored two commentaries for NonDoc.)