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Staff

okpolicy-group

(Alphabetically by Last Name)

Executive Director David Blatt

IMG_1348David 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.   David is a member and regional co-chair of the Scholars Strategy Network and chairs the steering committee of the State Priorities Partnership, a national network of state policy organizations.  His honors include being selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, 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. 

Policy Analyst DeVon Douglass

DeVon DouglassDeVon Douglass joined OK Policy in October of 2015. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she graduated from Missouri State University with a B.S. in Sociology. Subsequently she earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa. She previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. At OK Policy, she coordinates the Oklahoma Assets Network and works to ensure economic opportunity and financial security for all Oklahomans. DeVon is an active member of the local chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, an organization dedicated to Greater Service, Greater Progress in the community.

Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler

Ryan_GentzlerRyan Gentzler joined OK Policy in January of 2016 as a policy analyst focusing on criminal justice issues. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He previously worked as a Research Associate at the University of Oklahoma’s Early Childhood Education Institute. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

 

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 & Advocacy Specialist KJ McKee

KaraJoyMcKeeKJ joined OK Policy in December of 2013. She is a native Oklahoman and an OU graduate. As OK Policy’s Outreach & Advocacy 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, KJ 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 ParetteTyler 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 Perry joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and has a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma. At OK Policy, Gene supervises policy staff, helps to identify policy priorities for the organization, and does research focusing on tax and budget, education, and criminal justice issues. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and chairs the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership, a nationwide network of state fiscal policy think tanks.

Policy Analyst Carly Putnam

Carly PutnamCarly 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-SimmonsDamario 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.