(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 Misty Warfield will face Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-OKC) for the House District 82 seat. Below, Warfield discusses her qualifications and future plans if elected. Calvey, HD 82’s current representative, did not respond to the same questions, or else his answers would be included here as well.
Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because our teachers and students need their voices heard at the State Capitol. A quality public education is one of the biggest indicators for bridging out of poverty, and it should be a right of every child in Oklahoma.
What have you done in the last 10 years that most qualifies you to hold this office?
My work at Rose Home, a homeless shelter for pregnant women, and my engagement and participation at my children’s public school qualify me to hold this office.
At Rose Home, where I serve as co-director, I have served a section of our population who are looking for a hand up as they transition into long-term stability and self-sufficiency. My leadership at Rose Home includes maintaining daily operations as well as strategic planning for the future.
Second, my engagement at my kids’ school has allowed me to build relationships with teachers and to hear the specific needs of public education. I also serve on the PTO board and as homeroom mom. I have been well-received by educators, and they trust me to advocate for their interests.
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?
I have very mixed feelings on SQ 779. Let’s be honest, it is an imperfect proposal that has good intentions but ultimately harms some of the people it is intended to benefit.
Yes, I love that it promises to raise teacher pay — something I support.
Yes, I love that it projects $600 million in money allocated ONLY for education, and 70 percent of that goes to K-12 students.
Yes, I love that it has a provision that the money can not be supplanted by the legislature.
My biggest concern is the disproportional effect it will have on some of our poorest Oklahoma families. The population that I serve is already struggling to make it, and this tax increase will place an even greater burden on them.
Aside from education, what topic are you most passionate about? What is one piece of you legislation you are considering filing next year?
You run a group called Rose Home to help homeless pregnant women and their children. What could the Legislature do to help with the problems of homelessness, unexpected pregnancy and child welfare?
[The candidate chose to answer the two questions above together.]
One other thing that I am passionate about is helping individuals out of a life of poverty. Our current welfare system can often disincentive getting a full-time job. Many people are faced with the decision to work a full-time job and lose all benefits or stay working part time and keep their benefits.
I think that if we are able to create a sliding scale for programs like SNAP and daycare assistance that allows parents to slowly wean off of these programs, we would create a much more stable future for some Oklahoma families. When we are able to help families maintain a stable home with some assistance from the state, that helps to take the burden off of their shoulders, and they are better able to care for themselves and their families, which I believe, in turn, can reduce the rate of homelessness and unwanted pregnancies.
The Legislature needs to work toward putting programs in place that help the working poor in Oklahoma, not legislation that attempts to fix our budget crisis on the backs of these families.
Do you support education savings accounts (ESAs) and/or private-school vouchers? Why or why not?
I do not support ESAs or private-school vouchers. If we want to ensure that every child is equal under the law and therefore has a fair playing field to succeed, we can NOT take money away from our already struggling public schools. ESAs acknowledge that there is a problem with our public schools but do absolutely nothing to fix public education!