(Alphabetical by Last Name)
Executive Director David Blatt
David helped found OK Policy in 2008 and became the organization’s Executive Director in 2010. David’s work involves conducting research, writing papers, and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, health care, and various other subjects. He writes a weekly column, Prosperity Policy, that appears in the Journal Record and is a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of the state’s leading newspapers. A member and regional co-chair of the Scholars Strategy Network, David was selected as political scientist of the year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association in 2013. His other honors includes being named Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. David previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Patty Hipsher, a special education teacher in Broken Arrow, and their son, Noah.
Operations & Development Director Shiloh Kantz
Shiloh joined OK Policy as the Office Manager in February of 2010. She is a wife and mother of three children, Grantham, Ethan and Delilah and a member of the Cherokee Nation. Prior to joining OK Policy, she worked as a controller and office manager for an Oklahoma small business group. Shiloh was promoted to Director of Operations and Development in June of 2015. She oversees all internal operations, event planning, and fundraising activities. Her work at OK Policy has tuned her in to what is happening in our state and fostered a drive to play a more active part in it. Before joining the staff, she felt she was a suburban wife and mother who had no interest in state government because it did not affect her. She now realizes state government affects all residents, big and small, old and young.
Outreach Specialist Kara Joy McKee
Kara Joy joined OK Policy in December of 2013. She is a native Oklahoman and an OU graduate. As OK Policy’s Outreach Specialist, she coordinates the Together Oklahoma coalition and works to make it easier for all Oklahomans to advocate for sensible public policies. She has been active for years with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Oklahoma Sustainability Network, and other community projects, and in 2011 she was honored with the City of Norman’s Human Rights Award. Prior to joining OK Policy, Kara Joy was Executive Director of Kendall Whittier, Inc. (KWI), a Tulsa neighborhood nonprofit, and she currently serves on the KWI board of directors.
Outreach & Operations Associate Tyler Parette
Tyler joined the OK Policy team in a full-time capacity in September 2015. He is a Summer Policy Institute alumni and a previous OK Policy intern. Tyler graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in April 2015 with a B.S. in Political Science. As Outreach and Operations Associate, Tyler provides organizational and administrative support as well as helps to develop and strengthen coalitions and alumni networks. Tyler’s specific policy interests include criminal justice, poverty, and inequality.
Policy Director Gene Perry
Gene joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and has an M.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from the University of Oklahoma. At OK Policy, Gene supervises policy staff and helps to identify policy priorities for the organization. Gene’s policy work focuses on tax and budget, education, and criminal justice policies. He also prepares the daily news update, In The Know, and maintains the OK Policy website. Gene serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network and is a member of the Oklahoma Academy and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He chairs the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership.
Policy Analyst Carly Putnam
Carly joined OK Policy as a full-time policy analyst in January of 2014. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern. A Kansas City native, Carly graduated from the University of Tulsa in December 2013 with a BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. She was a leader in several TU organizations active in feminist, LGBTQ, and anti-racist education and advocacy. She is a graduate of the National Education of Women (NEW) Leadership Institute, worked as an editor for the campus newspaper, tutored students at Will Rogers High School, and interned with Planned Parenthood. Her work at OK Policy focuses on healthcare, poverty, inequality, and race and gender.
Legislative Liaison Damario Solomon-Simmons
Damario Solomon-Simmons joined OK Policy in December 2013. He is a community-oriented lawyer and diversity professional with almost two decades of verifiable success as an adviser, consultant, and advocate. He is a University of Oklahoma (OU) football letterman and OU’s first African-American “Most Outstanding Law Graduate.” Since 2005, Damario has represented clients in federal, state, and tribal courts, business transactions, and legislative and community relations matters. Recognized as a “40 Under 40” resident by Oklahoma Magazine in 2007 and Tulsa Business Journal in 2012, Damario is passionate about creating environments and resources that promote fair and sustained opportunities for the neediest of society. His mission is to build and strengthen the awareness and support for OK Policy’s priorities with policymakers, elected officials, the media, opinion leaders, and issue-based coalitions. Damario is passionately in love with his high school sweetheart and wife, Mia, and they live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.