“We’re a little concerned about our population figures at the federal level being not representative of the people in low- to moderate-income areas of the city that usually qualify for HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) assistance. We have quite a few minority demographic concentrations … and if numbers are reduced, our portion of federal funds could be affected.”

-Oklahoma City Assistant City Manager Aubrey McDermid, warning that adding a question on citizenship to the 2020 Census could lead to a costly undercount of Oklahoma City’s population [Source: Journal Record]

“If people would recognize that it’s not just, ‘My neighbor who has no insurance, it’s their problem.’ But, ‘My neighbor has no insurance it’s my problem too, because it affects what I pay,’ then I think people would be more willing to say we must do something to change this.”

-Former State Senator Angela Monson, speaking at a rally calling on lawmakers to expand health coverage in Oklahoma [Source: NewsOn6]

“We want our federal tax dollars to return to Oklahoma, to invest in our infrastructure, to decrease our uninsured, and to increase access for all patients in Oklahoma.”

-Dr. Larry Bookman, President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, which is part of the Coalition to Expand Health Coverage holding a rally at the Capitol today [Source: NewsOn6]

“The collective growth of a school cannot happen if professional time and capacity are devoted to on-the-job training. Theoretically, schools should receive teachers who have a baseline of understanding, experience and commitment. But this is no longer the reality for schools.”

-Joanna Lein, executive director of the Teaching & Leading Initiative of Oklahoma, writing about Oklahoma’s dramatic increase of emergency certified teachers [Source: Tulsa World]

“Traditionally, the Pardon and Parole Board have always looked at the question why should this person be let out, but we are now being asked to look at why should these individuals stay in. I think it’s a pretty big shift.”

-Adam Luck, CEO of the homeless housing nonprofit City Care and a recent appointee to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board by Gov. Kevin Stitt [Source: The Frontier]

“The state of Kansas is incarcerating at the rate of 590 per 100,000 population, slightly below the national average. In 2016, Kansas had an average household income that was $5,750 a year higher than Oklahoma’s. The state spent $3,300 per student more on its public schools. The violent crime rate was 12 percent lower. Mass incarceration doesn’t make us safer. Just poorer.”

Tulsa World Editorial Editor Wayne Greene

“Help is out there. We’ve just got to, you know, encourage it. If we don’t give up, there’s always hope.”

-Kelly, an Oklahoman battling MS and epilepsy without health insurance while also caring for her son with serious disabilities. Kelly is among the more than 100,000 Oklahomans who could gain access to health coverage if lawmakers vote to accept federal funds to expand care. [Source: OK Policy]

“Locking people up for offenses that are now misdemeanors is really crippling our workforce because these people should be at work, and our employers need them.”

-Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, speaking about the need to pass reforms that would end state prison growth in coming years [Source: NonDoc]

“Five to 10 years ago, when you had an elementary teaching position, you’d have a stack of applications 3 inches tall. You almost grit your teeth because you have so many good applicants, who do you choose? Now, you’ve seen those applicant numbers dwindle and the applicant pool gets smaller. You start going, ‘we just need to find one good one.’ Instead of having that stress of who you pick, you’re just trying to find one.”

-Cache Public Schools superintendent Chad Hance [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

“What gets lost in the politics is that we’re going to pay for these services anyway. Whether that comes in the form of Medicaid expansion up front or emergency rooms that have to care for people, bear these costs, and then end up closing, like the Pauls Valley hospital did in 2018.”

-Dan Sorrells, president of Molina HealthCare, at a forum on expanding health coverage in Oklahoma [Source: Norman Transcript]