“In our traditions, we’ve been taught that you don’t talk about what you do. But today, it’s time to start talking about it. People need to know. It’s important. . . . Tribes have reinvested in our communities like no other industry across the state. We are an economic driver as well as a reliable and prominent partner. We are not leaving the state of Oklahoma.”

– Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Johnson Billy, commenting on a report showing that Oklahoma tribes generate $4.6 billion in wages and benefits and support an estimated 96,177 jobs [The Oklahoman]

“Hunger costs Oklahoma $1.4 billion a year in things like medical costs, loss of workforce productivity and loss of educational opportunities. We know if we met national benchmarks, Oklahoma would bring back an additional $400 million annually to address hunger.”

– Chris Bernard, Executive Director of Hunger Free Oklahoma, on the economic impact of hunger on the state [Tulsa World]

“The OSBI served a search warrant last night in northwest Oklahoma City regarding our investigation into Epic Charter Schools. At this point, our investigation is ongoing.”

– Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Brooke Arbeitman. In court filings, OSBI alleges Epic Charter Schools, the state’s largest virtual charter school system, embezzled millions in state funds by illegally inflating enrollment counts [Tulsa World]

“Americans love the Horatio Alger stories of people pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps; people who had chaotic childhoods but ended up with college degrees, careers and healthy relationships. The Adverse Childhood Experience measure shows that to be a statistical myth. No one can do it alone; traumatic and destructive behavior can become generational and even successful people will often show signs of struggle somewhere in their lives.”

– Tulsa World editorial writer Ginnie Graham, as the World wraps up an eight-part series on Adverse Childhood Experiences in Oklahoma. Oklahoma ranks No. 1 in the percentage of children with high ACE scores [Tulsa World

“Instead of taking away an abuser from a family and allowing a family to live and grow in peace together, they let the actual abuser back out on the street, failed to protect the children, failed to protect the victim of domestic violence … and instead locked her up for not doing enough in the right way at the right time to combat the man who was threatening her life.’

–  Megan Lambert, a legal fellow for the ACLU of Oklahoma, speaking about the excessive sentences often imposed on women for failing to protect their children from an abusive partner who is also abusing them, while the abuser is able to secure a plea bargain for a lighter sentence [The Oklahoman]

“Low unemployment doesn’t always mean that work is easy to come by. Rural Oklahomans, people of color, and the justice-involved are all struggling with barriers to employment including a lack of educational opportunity and discrimination.”

–  Courtney Cullison, OK Policy’s Economic Security Policy Analyst, from a new paper series exploring The State of Work in Oklahoma [OK Policy]

“Two years ago, that would equate to over 3,000 man hours the police department spends on taking those same 767 to jail. By the time they arrest them, book them, do their paperwork and court followup, that’s a lot of time.”

– Tulsa Police Department Deputy Chief Jonathan Brooks on the benefits of the Tulsa Sobering Center, which took in 767 people last year [Public Radio Tulsa]

“As a physician, I took an oath to ‘first, do no harm.’ Without Medicaid expansion, we are quickly approaching the threshold of harm. Many have already been affected, and some harmed, by lack of access to proper health care.”

– Dr. Donald E. Loveless, Jr., a Tulsa Physician, on the harms that are befalling Oklahomans due to a lack of health coverage [Tulsa World]

New Mexico has done many of the same things we have done in Oklahoma to combat opioid overdose deaths, such as the development of closer tracking of opioid prescriptions before physicians write another prescription [and] intervening when physicians are overprescribing opioids . . . I asked what has made the difference in New Mexico’s recent improvements in opioid overdose deaths? The uniform answer from the physicians I met — full Medicaid expansion.”

– Dr. Gerard Clancy, President of the University of Tulsa, describing his takeaway from a recent visit to New Mexico to learn about the state’s success in reducing opioid-related deaths [Tulsa World]

“This is a crisis. All of us have known or have a family member who struggles with mental illness, abuse or drug addiction. These are the things we have to change in our state if we want to give our children hope. I am living proof that there is hope and a future for everyone.”

– Oklahoma’s First Lady Sarah Stitt speaking about the impact of growing up with a parent experiencing mental illness [Tulsa World]