2014 Speakers

2014 Summer Policy Institute Speakers

Alphabetical by last name.

Jari Askins

Panelist: Political Leadership: Myths and Realities

Jari Askins has served the people of Oklahoma for over 30 years, most recently as Associate Provost for External Relations at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In that capacity she provided leadership for the services offered at the OUHSC with a priority focus on the Stephenson Cancer Center as Director of Marketing and Outreach.

When Jari was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 15th Lieutenant Governor in 2007, she achieved the rare distinction of being involved in public service in all three branches of state government. Born and reared in Duncan, Askins received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and earned a Juris Doctorate from the OU College of Law. She served as Special Judge for the District Court of Stephens County for eight years, from 1982 – 1990. In 1991, the Governor appointed her to the Pardon and Parole Board, which elected her as its first woman chairman. She later served as Executive Director of the Pardon and Parole Board and as Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the Governor.

Askins was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1994 from District 50 and served her full term limit of 12 years. During her last term, Askins became the first woman to lead a caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature when she was elected Democratic House Leader. She won statewide election as Lieutenant Governor in 2006.

Askins received numerous awards during her career in public service. Honors include “outstanding legislator” awards from more than three dozen organizations, Leadership Oklahoma’s Outstanding Graduate, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women Kate Barnard Award, the Association for Women in Communications Byliner Award, and the Commitment to Excellence Award from the Oklahoma Academy. In 2001, Jari was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

Since leaving office, Jari has received the 2012 Pioneer Woman Award from the Pioneer Woman Museum Advisory Board; the William G. Paul Oklahoma Justice Award from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma; and the Spirit of the Urban Indian Award from the Oklahoma City Indian Health Clinic.

Askins, who now runs her own consulting company, JARICO,LLC, serves on the Board of Directors of Arvest Bank in Southwest Oklahoma; the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence; and the Board of Trustees for Phillips Theological Seminary. She is helping the Foundation for Thunderbird Youth Academy; a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon; and the advisory board for the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum. She is a member of the First Christian Church in Duncan, where she still sings in the church choir.

Bill John Baker

Speaker: Political Leadership: Myths and Realities

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker currently serves as the 17th elected chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. Born and raised in Cherokee County, he is married to Sherry (Robertson) Baker. Principal Chief Baker has devoted much of his life in service to the Cherokee people. He spent 12 years as a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council before being elected to the post of Principal Chief in 2011.

During his time on the council, and as Principal Chief, Baker has worked tirelessly to improve education, health care and the entire economy of the Cherokee Nation through job creation.

The first piece of legislation he signed as Principal Chief was an act he co-authored during his time on the council. That act increased funding from tribal casinos to health care by an additional 5 percent, a change that will strengthen Cherokees for generations to come.

Under his leadership, tribal businesses employ more Cherokees than ever before, and new home construction resumed for the first time in a decade. Principal Chief Baker is currently overseeing a $100 million capital project that will overhaul the Cherokee Nation health care system, the largest tribally operated health system in the United States.

With more than 300,000 citizens and 9,000 employees, the Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeast Oklahoma. A recent economic impact report showed Cherokee Nation has a $1.2 billion impact on the area.

Principal Chief Baker is a graduate of Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history, with minors in psychology and sociology. He has been a small business owner in Tahlequah for more than 40 years.

Principal Chief Baker still resides in Tahlequah, Okla., with his wife, Sherry. They have been blessed with six children and are the proud grandparents of nine.

Brian Bingman

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Brian Bingman was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a long-time Sapulpa resident. He has a BBA in Petroleum Land management from the University of Oklahoma and is currently employed as Vice-President of Land and Operations for Tulsa-based Uplands Resources.

 He served as Sapulpa’s Mayor from 1992-2004 and then, as a member of the state House of Representatives from 2004-2006. He was elected in 2006 to represent the citizens of District 12 in the Oklahoma State Senate.

 In November 2010, Senator Bingman was chosen to lead the senate as its President Pro-Tempore and remains in that leadership position today. Prior to serving as Pro Tem, he served as an Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee and Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

 He has served as former Chairman of the Energy Council and serves on the NCSL executive committee. He is a member of the Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce and The Creek Nation. Professional affiliations include the American Association of Petroleum Landmen. Bingman is also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Sapulpa.

David Blatt

Presenter: Overview of Budget and Taxes

David helped found OK Policy and served as Director of Policy before becoming the organization’s Director in 2010. David’s work involves conducting research, writing papers, and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, asset development, and various other subjects. Recognized as one of the state’s leading experts on fiscal policy and selected as one of the Tulsa World’s five “Oklahomans to Watch” in 2011, he is a member and regional co-chair of the Scholars Strategy Network. David previously served for seven years as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and for three years as a budget analyst for the 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 at an elementary school in Broken Arrow, and their son, Noah.

Nick Carnes

Keynote Speaker: “Who’s Keeping Working-Class Americans Out of Office? Political Gatekeepers and the Unequal Social Class Makeup of Government”; Breakout Session: Careers in Public Policy

Nick Carnes is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and the Co-Director of the Research Triangle chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network. Nick grew up in Kansas, earned a BA in political science at the University of Tulsa, and earned an MA in Politics and a PhD in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University. His recent book _White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making_ examines how the shortage of people from the working class in American legislatures skews the policymaking process towards outcomes that are more in line with the upper class’s economic interests. Nick is also starting a large-scale study of the factors that discourage working-class Americans from holding public office and the programs that could help to address the shortage of working-class Americans in our political institutions. This research has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including the New York Times, C-SPAN, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Marketplace, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Daily Kos, Monkey Cage, BBC, and Talking Points Memo.

Jaclyn Cosgrove

Panelist: Policy Journalism

Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is the president of the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists professional chapter and a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Laura Dempsey-Polan

Panelist: Medicaid 

Dr. Laura Dempsey-Polan is a 3rd generation Tulsan. After completing two master’s degrees, she served as a licensed clinical provider and health administrator in Los Angeles, Tulsa, and Austin, Minnesota. She completed her doctoral work in health administration and public policy at Cornell University with a dissertation fellowship from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). Joining the Community Service Council, she served as the Director of the Tulsa Area Alliance on Disabilities and a Senior Planner for nearly 14 years. With LIFE Senior Services for 8 years, Dr. Dempsey-Polan served in several executive roles and chaired the County’s Adult Protection Review Team. A Tulsa Woman of the Year, Pinnacle Award, and Community Service Council Watchman Award Winner, Dr. Dempsey-Polan has also been recognized by the AARP of Oklahoma as one of 50 Oklahomans making a difference. Dr. Dempsey-Polan currently serves as the Chief of Community and Systems Development for Morton Comprehensive Health Services, the largest Joint Commission-Accredited, United Way, and Federally Qualified Health Center system offering diverse primary care in NE Oklahoma. She has actively volunteered on numerous local, state and national boards throughout her career.

Lee Denney

Panelist: Education 

Lee Denney is a Representative from district 33 and has been in office ten years. She is chair of the Common Education Appropriations & Budget Committee in the House.

Ann-Clore Duncan

Moderator: Education

Ann-Clore Duncan, a resident of Edmond, is a community volunteer.  She serves as education chair and a trustee to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum Foundation and is past president of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma and the Junior League of Oklahoma City.  Ann-Clore is also active with United Way of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.  Her undergraduate degree is from DePauw University. Ann-Clore is a member of the Board of Directors of Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Linda Edmondson

Moderator: Political Leadership: Myths and Realities

Linda Edmondson is a social worker, non-profit consultant and community volunteer. She serves on statewide boards including the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Hospice Foundation, State Capitol Preservation Commission, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, Oklahomans for the Arts and the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU Tulsa. Linda is a member of the Board of Directors of Oklahoma Policy Institute

Previously she has served as co-chair of the Attorney General’s Task Force on End of Life Care and also as co-founder and executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Healthcare Ethics. Before moving to Oklahoma City and becoming director of the Citizens League of Central Oklahoma, her social work career included ten years as director of social work at Muskogee Regional Medical Center. She also worked for Muskogee Public Schools and the Department of Human Services.

While living in Muskogee Edmondson was the first president of Muskogee Cooperative Ministries and helped establish the Community Pantry, the Literacy Council, and Friends of the Library.

Edmondson has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of the OU College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma’s “Social Worker of the Year” and one of the Journal Record’s “50 Making a Difference.” She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Oklahoma.

She is married to former Attorney General W. A. Drew Edmondson and has participated in political campaigns for more than 40 years.

John Feaver

Moderator: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

John Feaver, a resident of Chickasha, is President of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO). John joined the faculty of USAO in 1980 and served as chair of the Division of Business and Social Sciences, Assistant to the President, and Vice President for Academic Affairs before being named the college’s 12th president in 2000. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and performed military service in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. John is a member of the Board of Directors of Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Marilyn Feaver

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Since 2007, Marilyn Feaver has served as the Executive Director of the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition, a 20-county regional economic development planning group. Prior to this position, she was the President of the Grady County Economic Development Council and Chickasha Chamber of Commerce. She served as President and Executive Vice President at the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber from 1993 to 2003.

Feaver has been involved in business recruitment, legislative affairs, workforce development, transportation, and tourism initiatives with a regional focus for over 20 years. While serving as the President of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, she led the community’s economic development efforts as the Economic Development Team Leader. Feaver was named the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executive of the Year in 2000 and was recognized by The Journal Record as one of 50 Women of the Year in 2002 for her work in community and economic development. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management and a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XIII. Currently, Feaver serves her community and state as a member of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oklahoma Champions for Early Opportunity also known as the OK CEO’s, Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Chickasha Community Foundation Board and chairman of the Chickasha Planning Commission.

Her second job is serving as First Lady of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha where she chairs USAO’s Grounds Committee and is active in the University community.

 Christy Finsel

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Christy Finsel is an independent consultant and researcher focused on asset building. She provides TA to Wai’anae Community Redevelopment Corporation and Meskwaki Nation for their Individual Development Account (IDA) and Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs; organizes Missouri Asset Builder calls and co-administers a youth IDA and CSA at De La Salle Middle School in St. Louis; and coordinates the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC). She holds a MA in Theology from SLU and a MASW from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Osage Nation.

Anthony Francisco 

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Anthony has served as Finance Director for the City of Norman, Oklahoma since January, 1996. In this capacity, he oversees the City’s budget, accounting, treasury, debt administration, investment, printing services, utility customer service, payroll and purchasing functions. He also serves as City Treasurer, City Controller, chairs the $46 million Norman Employees Retirement System and has served on the $1.5 billion Oklahoma Firefighters Pension Board of Trustees. Prior to his appointment in Norman, he served for over 13 years in public finance, public works, budgeting, and administrative positions with the cities of Seattle, Washington; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Anthony has a Master of Public Administration Degree with Specialization in State and Local Government Financial Management from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies from the University of Oklahoma-Norman; and has done further study in Public Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin.

He is a Certified Public Finance Official (CPFO), Certified Public Funds Investment Manager (CPFIM), Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) and a Certified Public Finance Administrator (CPFA). He chairs the Association of Public Treasurers Association’s Committee on Cash Handling and has served on the GFOA Cash Management Committee. He is the leading instructor of cash handling training for the Association of Public Treasurers and has served on many non-profit boards of directors, including the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust.

In 2013, Anthony was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials.

Keith Gaddie

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Keith Gaddie is chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma and general editor of Social Science Quarterly. His next book, on Georgia’s 1946 gubernatorial election, is The Three Governors Controversy: Skullduggery, Machinations, and the Decline of Georgia’s Progressive Politics. (The University of Georgia Press, with Charles S. Bullock III and Scott E. Buchanan).

Sandy Garrett

Panelist: Statesmanship – The Legacy of Henry Bellmon

Sandy Garrett was first elected to the office of State Superintendent of Instruction in 1990, and again in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. Garrett was the first woman to hold the office of Superintendent and is the only woman to hold a statewide office for five consecutive terms.

Sandy Garrett was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and later graduated from Stilwell High School. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees from Northeastern State University. Garrett was a classroom teacher for 15 years and postgraduate education at the University of Oklahoma and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. After her years as a teacher, Garrett joined the Oklahoma State Department of Education as the Gifted and Talented Programs Coordinator. She would later become SDE Executive Director of Education Programs, which included rural education, technology, satellite instruction, media applications, and library resources.

Throughout her career in Oklahoma Department of Education, Garrett was an outspoken advocate for children and active participant in education reform. She played a pivotal role in implementing the state’s Learning by Satellite program and in establishing a two-way interactive fiber-optic instruction system in the Panhandle region drew
national attention to Oklahoma in the 1980s. In 1988, she was named Cabinet Secretary of Education by Republican Governor of Oklahoma Henry Bellmon. She worked with Governor Bellmon during the passage of H.B. 1017 (Oklahomaʼs Education Reform Act of 1990) Following the election of Democrat David Walters as Governor, Garrett was asked to serve as his Cabinet Secretary of Education also.

In 1990, Garrett was the first woman elected to serve as the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As the Chief Executive Officer of the State Department of Education, Superintendent Garrett led the timely implementation of the mandates of Oklahoma ‘s landmark Education Reform Act of 1990.

Superintendent Garrett’s administration was key to the development of Oklahoma’s Pre-Kindergarten programs throughout the state. Garret raised standards to the extent that Oklahoma is recognized as a national model by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

In 2010, Garrett received the Kate Barnard Award for lifetime leadership from the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.

David Goin

Panelist: Education

David Goin has served Edmond Public Schools since 1994, the last 15 as superintendent. He had previously served a combined 17 years with the Moore and Norman public school districts, 14 as a school principal. Goin earned the baccalaureate degree from Abilene Christian University and advanced degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

David and his wife, Sandy, have three grown children and four grandchildren (with a 5th on the way). He has been actively involved in the Edmond community and was named Outstanding Community Leader in 2005 and Edmond Citizen of the Year for 2013.

Among professional honors are OU Rainbolt College of Education “Hall of Fame,” OASA State Superintendent of the Year in 2008 and Oklahoma Music Educators Association Administrator of the Year in 2009. Retirement is planned following the 2014-2015 school year.

Nico Gomez

Panelist: Medicaid 

Nico Gomez was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority effective Feb. 1, 2013. Gomez has served as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, a position he has held since July 2008. An employee of the state Medicaid agency since 2000, Gomez began his career at the agency as Public Information Officer.

As Deputy CEO, Gomez was responsible for legislative communication at the state and congressional level as well as managing the Governmental Relations, Public Information, Reporting & Statistics, Tribal Relations and Child Health units.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations, Gomez began his career in public service as a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in 1995. In 2000, he joined OHCA as Public Information Officer. In 2005, Gomez was appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives to serve on a state Medicaid reform task force. In 2006, he was named one of OKCBusiness’ “Forty under 40” professionals. He was named as a deputy CEO for the agency in July 2008. In January 2014, Gomez was one of six men and women who were named as Oklahomans of the Year by Oklahoma Magazine.

Gomez also has a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in health care administration from Southern Nazarene University and serves as an adjunct faculty member for the university teaching Leadership in Health Care Administration in the same program.  

Active in several community organizations, Gomez is an elected board of education member and current board president for Bethany Public Schools. He also serves as a trustee for the Bethany Public School Foundation.

Wayne Greene

Moderator: Statesmanship – The Legacy of Henry Bellmon

Wayne Greene is the editorial pages editor of the Tulsa World. He previously was the newspaper’s city editor for 13 years and a reporter in a variety of positions, including the state capitol bureau during part of the second Bellmon administration. In addition to supervising the World’s opinion pages, Greene writes a weekly political column and a regular blog, tulsaworld.com/waynesworld. He loves running, opera and listening to New York Yankees baseball games.

Charles Grim

Panelist: Medicaid 

Charles W. Grim, D.D.S. M.H.S.A, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a former Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the Interim Director in August 2002, received unanimous Senate confirmation on July 16, 2003, and was sworn in by Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on August 6, 2003, in Anchorage, Alaska. The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

As the IHS Director, Dr. Grim administered a $4 billion nationwide health care delivery program composed of 12 administrative Area Offices. As the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for American Indian and Alaska Native people, the IHS is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 2 million of the nation’s 3.4 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States.

Dr. Grim served as the Vice-Chair of the Secretary’s Intradepartmental Council on Native Americans Affairs (ICNAA). The ICNAA was established by the HHS Secretary to develop and promote HHS-wide policy to provide quality services for American Indians and Alaska Natives; promote Departmental consultation with Tribal governments; develop a comprehensive Departmental strategy that promotes Tribal self-sufficiency and self-determination; and promote the Tribal/federal government–to-government relationship on an HHS-wide basis.

Dr. Grim graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1983 and began his career in the IHS with a 2-year clinical assignment in Okmulgee at the Claremore Service Unit. Dr. Grim was then selected to serve as Assistant Area Dental Officer in the Oklahoma City Area Office. As a result of his successful leadership and management of the complex public health dental program, he was appointed as the Area Dental Officer in 1989 on an acting basis.
In 1992, Dr. Grim was assigned as Director of the Division of Oral Health for the Albuquerque Area of the IHS. He later served as Acting Service Unit Director for the Albuquerque Service Unit, where he was responsible for the administration of a 30-bed hospital with extensive ambulatory care programs and seven outpatient health care facilities. Dr. Grim was later appointed as the Director for the Division of Clinical Services and Behavioral Health for the Albuquerque Area. Dr. Grim was then appointed Acting Executive Officer for the Albuquerque Area.

In April 1998, Dr. Grim transferred to the Phoenix Area as the Associate Director for the Office of Health Programs. In that role, he focused on strengthening the Area’s capacity to deal with managed care issues in the areas of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program of Arizona. He also led an initiative to consult with Tribes about their views on the content to be included in the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, P.L. 94-437.
In 1999, Dr. Grim was appointed as the Acting Director of the Oklahoma City Area Office, and in March 2000 he was selected as the Area Director. As Area Director, Dr. Grim managed a comprehensive program that provides health services to the largest IHS user population, more than 280,000 American Indians comprising 37 Tribes. He was also a member of the Indian Health Leadership Council, composed of IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health program representatives.

In addition to his dentistry degree, Dr. Grim also has a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan. Among Dr. Grim’s honors and awards are the U.S. Public Health Service Commendation Medal (awarded twice), Achievement Medal (awarded twice), Citation, Unit Citation (awarded twice), and Outstanding Unit Citation. He has also been awarded Outstanding Management and Superior Service awards by the Directors of three different IHS Areas. He also received the Jack D. Robertson Award, which is given to a senior dental officer in the United States Public Health Service who demonstrates outstanding leadership and commitment to the organization. In a proclamation from the Oklahoma State Governor, June 11, 2003, was declared “Charles W. Grim Day.” He was also honored by the State of Oklahoma by being selected as a Spirit Award Honoree during their American Indian Heritage Celebration on November 17, 2003.

Dr. Grim is a member of the Commissioned Officers Association, the American Board of Dental Public Health, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, and the Society of American Indian Dentists. Dr. Grim was appointed to the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service in July 1983.

Kirk Humphreys

Speaker: Political Leadership: Myths and Realities

Kirk Humphreys is a native of Oklahoma City and a 1972 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. Kirk spent the first 17 years of his business career working with his brothers to build a company which distributed beauty products and other non-food merchandise to retailers nationwide. Since then, Kirk has been active in real estate development.

 Known across Oklahoma for his public service, Kirk was twice elected mayor of Oklahoma City, serving from 1998 through 2003. Under Kirk’s leadership the city completed the historic MAPS Projects which dramatically revitalized the city’s downtown area. As mayor he led the effort that resulted in the approval of MAPS for Kids, a sweeping $690 million revitalization of the city’s public schools. He is co-host of Flash Point, a weekly televised commentary and debate on issues of local and national interest. Kirk is a member of the Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma, a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and serves on the board of OGE Energy Corp. He is chairman of John W. Rex Elementary, a new charter school in downtown Oklahoma City, and serves on the boards of the Hough Ear Institute, the Oklahoma State Fair, the Oklahoma City Airport Trust and the Oklahoma Industries Authority. Kirk and Danna have been married for 40 years and have 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren.

Scott Inman

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Rep. Inman was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in November of 2006 and is currently serving his fourth term. Rep. Scott Inman was born and raised in Del City, OK. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he graduated in 2001 Summa Cum Laude with a degree in political science with a Spanish minor. Rep. Inman also attended the University of Oklahoma School of Law where he received his juris doctor in 2004. Upon graduating from law school, Rep. Inman practiced law with a firm in downtown Oklahoma City. When State House District 94 became vacant in the spring of 2006, Rep. Inman decided to put his law practice on hold and run for office. Upon his election in the fall of 2006, Rep. Inman became the first graduate of Del City High School to ever serve the city of Del City at the State Capitol in its more than 60 year history. And in May of 2009, Scott was elected to serve as Leader of the House Democratic Caucus. When elected Leader at the age of 32, Scott became the youngest person in state history to ever lead a caucus in the House or Senate. Rep. Inman married his high school sweetheart, Dessa, and the couple has two daughters, Ella Grace and Sophia Claire.

Richard Klinge

Presenter: Immigration

Richard Klinge graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1974. He is licensed to practice law in Kansas and Oklahoma. Since 2007 he has served as Senior Director for Advocacy and Legal Services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. In his work for Catholic Charities he has spent most of his time working on policy and legislative matters relating to immigration issues at the state and federal level. Additionally he handles case work relating to asylum and related issues. Currently Klinge manages the Catholic Charities project at Fort Sill which provides individual legal consultation to the unaccompanied minor children at Fort Sill.

Randy Krehbiel

Moderator: Campaigns and Elections

Randy Krehbiel has been a reporter for the Tulsa World since 1979. He has been the chief political reporter, focusing on state and federal government, since 2006. He has also written about higher education, Tulsa and Oklahoma history, the Tulsa Race Riot, race relations and economic development, and for 13 years was a member of the World sports staff. In 2006, he published “Tulsa’s Daily World: The Story of a Newspaper and its Town.”

Sheryl Lovelady

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Sheryl Lovelady is the Executive Director of a statewide education non-profit that focuses on expanded learning opportunities and workforce development for Oklahoma children and youth.

Sheryl began her career as a professional photographer before entering the political and government sectors. She served on the executive staffs of the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Chairman and Senate President Pro Tempore and was Executive Director of a statewide legislative caucus organization. In this capacity she provided oversight of fundraising, campaign and policy strategies for majority members of the Oklahoma Senate. She has also worked with clientele throughout the United States as a strategic consultant, with a Washington DC and Florida-based public opinion research firm. She served as Director of Communications for the City of Tulsa, and more recently as Director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Carl Albert Congressional Research Center at the University of Oklahoma.

Lovelady is president of Lovelady and Associates, LLC, a media and public policy consulting firm that works with non-profit and private sector clientele. She is a graduate of Leadership Tulsa, the Department of Corrections Leadership Academy and the US Department of Defense JCOC leadership program. She is President of the Gordon Cooper Technology Center Foundation and serves on the advisory board of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She serves on the Board of Directors of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Center for the Advancement of Science and Math Education in Oklahoma, and a gubernatorial appointee to the Oklahoma Community Service Commission. Sheryl is a political analyst and frequent guest on OETA television.

Anthony Marshall 

Panelist: Education 

Anthony Marshall is in his 10th year as a history teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, where he is responsible for the development of the Hornet Ambassador Program and the Men of Power male achievement program. He is active in the community and has received the Omega Psi Phi Community Service Award. Marshall also developed the Summer Reading Program for incoming freshmen in which more than 200 students participate. He encourages students to continue their education by helping them with potential scholarship opportunities and conducting an annual college tour for students. Marshall also coordinates Booker T.’s Louder Than A Bomb poetry team, which has won the local contest and competed at the national competition in Chicago. With an education in law, he sponsors the Pipeline Project which introduces Tulsa Public Schools students to law and the requirements for entry to law school. He was recently appointed to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council.

Elizabeth McCormick

Presenter: Immigration Breakout Session

Professor McCormick joined the faculty at TU College of Law in 2005, where she founded and continues to direct the Immigrant Rights Project, a law school clinical education program in which law students represent clients in immigration matters. Since 2008, McCormick has also served as Director of Clinical Education Programs at the College of Law.

McCormick’s scholarship and advocacy focus on immigration law and policy, in particular the intersection of federal immigration law and policy and state and local immigration enforcement efforts. In her recent article in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, which draws heavily on her own experiences with students and clients in the Tulsa community, McCormick examines the detrimental impact of local anti-immigrant bias on the implementation of a federal immigration benefit designed to protect immigrant victims of violent crime, and proposes regulatory reforms to ensure protection for these victims. McCormick’s scholarship has also explored the history of immigration to and immigrant life in Oklahoma, and the reaction of state legislators, law enforcement agencies, and residents to recent and dramatic shifts in the state’s immigrant population. In a 2009 article in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, McCormick examined the history and the impact of the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act (HB 1804), Oklahoma’s comprehensive experiment in immigration regulation, and considers how it is that Oklahoma found itself on the front lines of the illegal immigration debate. In 2007, she received the Josephine Yalch Zekan Award for Best Scholarly Article in Faith and Law for her article Hospitality: How a Biblical Virtue Could Transform United States Immigration Policy.

Before joining the faculty at TU, McCormick was a member of the clinical faculty at Cornell Law School and the University of Connecticut School of Law. While at the University of Connecticut, McCormick co-founded and taught in the Asylum & Human Rights Clinic. She holds a BA from Fordham University, an MA from New York University, and a JD from Georgetown Law Center, where she served as a senior editor of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. She is admitted to practice in Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

Pat McFerron

Panelist: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Pat McFerron serves as a political consultant and lobbyist for CMA Strategies. He is CMA’s point person for developing convincing and effective messaging strategies for client issues and campaigns. Pat co-founded CMA Strategies with partner Sharon Caldwell in 2003 after CHS & Associates’ partner Tom Cole was elected to the United States Congress.

McFerron has long been involved in lobbying and coalition development. In 1993, McFerron organized and led a statewide effort in Oklahoma to oppose the BTU tax while serving as a spokesman for Oklahomans for Affordable Energy. Since that time, McFerron has lead high profile coalition building efforts on diverse legislative issues ranging from Indian Gaming Compacts, the protection of Public Power communities, bringing NBA basketball to Oklahoma City and changing state law to enable Oklahoma hospitals to garner greater federal matching funds.

CMA Strategies and Pat McFerron are proud to represent a top-tier client list at the state capitol. A few of these include: AT&T, Wal-Mart, the District Attorneys’ Council of Oklahoma, DCP Mid-Stream, and the Oklahoma Charter Schools Association.

In addition to lobbying and grassroots coalition building, CMA Strategies is a nationally recognized political consulting firm. Recent clients include Oklahoma’s current Attorney General, Lt. Governor, State Superintendent and six U.S. Congressmen, including all five members of the Oklahoma delegations and Mike Pompeo of Kansas. McFerron and members of CMA have overseen more than a dozen successful initiatives in the Oklahoma City area such as the MAPS 3, MAPS for Kids and Big League City campaigns.

In addition to his duties with CMA, Pat McFerron was recently named President of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates (CHS). Founded in 1989, CHS works across the nation and has been recognized for its success by Campaigns & Elections Magazine and Roll Call. McFerron has designed and managed hundreds of branding and message development projects in 41 states as well as national and international endeavors during his 19 years with CHS.

A William Randolph Hearst Scholar, McFerron was graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University, where he served as President of the Student Government Association. He has studied at the graduate level at The American University in Washington, D.C. He is married to Sharon, a national certified elementary school teacher, and has two children.

Kara Joy McKee

Presenter: Advocacy 

Kara Joy joined OK Policy in December of 2013. She is a native Oklahoman and an OU graduate. 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. In addition to her efforts to inform and motivate the state as an OK Policy Outreach Specialist, Kara Joy is Executive Director of Kendall Whittier, Inc., a Tulsa neighborhood nonprofit.

Christina Starzl Mendoza

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty? 

Originally from the Republic of Panama, Christina currently uses her life experiences as an immigrant, Latina, first generation college student, and feminist to advocate and empower youth and families. Currently working with the Community Service Council, Christina manages the Conexiones Initiative as well as develops the community and school capacity within Tulsa Area Community Schools to provide equitable educational opportunities for all children. As Co-Lead of Dream Act Oklahoma, she frequently collaborates with local immigrant and undocumented youth as well as local community leaders to advocate for the legal rights and academic success of the Tulsa area immigrant and Hispanic community.

April Merrill 

Panelist: Medicaid

April Merrill is a Legal Aid Attorney who runs the OU Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in the OU Tulsa Pediatric Clinic. She advocates for patients by addressing the Social Determinates of Health, or life circumstances that impact health. April enjoys volunteering and is a proud University of Tulsa graduate. GO TU! She loves finding out-of-the-way local restaurants, especially when traveling.

Ken Miller

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Dr. Ken Miller, Republican, is the eighteenth state treasurer of Oklahoma, serving since January 10, 2011. He was elected with almost 67 percent of the vote in the 2010 General Election.

As the state’s chief financial officer, Miller protects and manages more than $22 billion of taxpayer money deposited each year, safeguards the financial health of the state and promotes responsible fiscal policy. He serves as chair or member on numerous boards and commissions including the State Pension Oversight Commission, the Oklahoma College Savings Plan Board of Trustees, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Board of Investors and the State Board of Equalization, which certifies funds available for the state budget.

Miller holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, a M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Lipscomb University. His fields of specialization are applied public economics and public finance effects on economic growth. In addition to his duties as state treasurer, Miller is a tenured economics professor at Oklahoma Christian University, where he teaches at the graduate and undergraduate levels and has been honored with the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” award and the Merrick Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Free Enterprise.

Miller served six years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he had 225 bills signed into law and led efforts to modernize state government and enhance transparency and accountability. Miller served his last three years in the House as Chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee, where he guided Oklahoma through the largest spending cuts in state history while maintaining the delivery of core government services.

Miller took his reputation as a reformer and common-sense fiscal conservative to the treasury where he continued to reduce waste and inefficiency by eliminating leased office space and consolidating the agency into one location in the State Capitol Building, cutting the agency’s operating budget and staff while increasing service delivery and output.

Miller’s fiscal policy experience in both the executive and legislative branches, combined with his credentials in economics and finance, led him to become an influential voice on major initiatives in areas of taxation, budget and incentives.

Prior to his election to the State Legislature, Miller served in the administration of Governor Frank Keating as chairman of the Legislative Compensation Board where he established a 10-year freeze on legislative salaries that remains in effect today.

Miller began his professional career in banking at First American National Bank before joining MediFax-EDS, where he served as financial operations manager.

Rob Miller

Panelist: Education  

Rob Miller has been a building level administrator with Jenks Middle School for the past twelve years, the last ten as Site Principal. He has an M.S. degree in Education Leadership and a B.S. degree in Geology. He has been in public education for 20 years, following ten years as an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps. As a teacher he was twice selected as a site teacher of the year and was the Jenks Public School Teacher of the Year in 1999. In addition to his selection as the 2015 Oklahoma Middle School Principal of the Year, Rob was also selected as the 2014 Recipient of the Advocate for Academic Freedom Award from the Oklahoma Education Association.

 Rob has also served as a senior examiner and team leader for the Baldrige National Quality Program and is currently a judge with the American Society for Quality’s Education Recognition Program.

Angela Monson 

Panelist: Medicaid

Angela Monson has been engaged in activities related to health care policy for more than 30 years. She is currently employed by the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center as Associate Provost for Community Partnerships and Health Policy and is responsible to the Provost and Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences Center. She also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

 Monson is a member of the OU Medical Center (Hospital) Board of Trustees and previously served as a member of the Oklahoma City/County Board of Health. Nationally, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Health Policy Development and is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Advisory Committee. Until recently, Monson was a member of the Board of Directors of Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization. She served on that Board for more than 10 years. Monson also served as a member of the National Steering Committee of the Reforming States Group, a Milbank Memorial Fund health care initiative, and was also a board member of the Public Health Law Association.   In 1998, Monson was appointed to the National Advisory Council to the National Health Service Corps by then Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. Senator Monson was later appointed chair of the Council and served in that capacity until the spring of 2002 when her term on the Council expired.

 Monson served 15 years in the Oklahoma Legislature as a member of the Oklahoma State Senate from 1993 until November, 2005 and the Oklahoma House of Representatives from November 1990 until her election to the State Senate. She was the primary sponsor or co-sponsor of much of the legislation pertaining to health care coverage, financing and delivery systems in Oklahoma, and was one of the chief architects of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state’s Medicaid agency. Previous to her service in the Legislature, Monson was employed as the first Executive Director of the Oklahoma Health Care Project, a statewide coalition of organizations which addressed health care access and financing issues.

 As a member of the State Senate, Monson served in many leadership positions including First Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Appropriations Sub-committee on Group Health and Employee Benefits.

Sen. Monson is a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and served as chair of the NCSL Health Committee and as a member of the NSCL Executive Committee. During her tenure as Health Committee Chair, Monson was instrumental in developing the Conference’s position and actions on the Tobacco Settlement between the states’ attorneys general and the tobacco companies. Monson has also testified before Congressional Committees on various topics including Medicaid and the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. She was also a member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Executive Committee and also served as Co-Chair of the Streamline Sales Tax Implementing States group.

 Angela is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Oklahoma City University Petree College of Arts and Sciences 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award and the University of Oklahoma 1997 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Award, and is a 2012 inductee into the Oklahoma African American Hall of Fame. She is also a recipient of the Advocate of the Year awarded by the Families USA Foundation and the Silver Banner Award, the highest honor conferred by the Tuscan, Italy government.

 A graduate of Oklahoma City University, Monson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Corrections from that institution and also received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman. She is also a graduate of Douglass High School in the Oklahoma City Public Schools District and in February, 2009, she was elected Chairperson of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education and served one four year term in that district-wide elected position. Angela remains very active in her community and church, the Voice of Praise Baptist Church.

Lee Paden

Panelist: Statesmanship – The Legacy of Henry Bellmon

Lee W. Paden is an attorney located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the past 14 years, he has engaged in the private practice of law with an emphasis on electric energy and environmental consulting. Over the last 5 years, he has worked to help develop wind and solar integration technology that will provide stable electric generation from wind and solar facilities in the United States. His prior utility experience, spanned the period from 1978 to 1998, serving as Director of Government Relations, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, an electric utility providing electricity to approximately 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. Earlier, he spent 10 years as an advisor and aide to United States Senator Henry Bellmon where he provided analysis of energy, environmental, and Native American legislative issues.

From 1998 through 2003 he provided the Oklahoma State Legislature consultant services on electric issues and managed the Electric Utility Task Force working group and the Electric Transmission Task Force working group process to compile electric utility reports to guide the Legislature as it considered how to deal with complex utility issues. He appears regularly at the Oklahoma Corporation representing customers and customer groups who are interested in service quality and rate issues.

He was appointed by Governor Henry Bellmon as a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Health, the agency overseeing environmental issues, and served on that Board from 1987 to 1992. Upon the creation of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Governor David Walters appointed him to serve on that new Board. He was reappointed by Governor Frank Keating. He was a member from 1992-2004, serving as Chairman from 1999-2001.

He resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is married to his wife of 42 years, with two children and 4 grandchildren.

Gene Perry

Presenter: Overview of Education Issues; Moderator: Making Public Policy Accessible to the Public

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. He also prepares the daily news update, In The Know, in addition to researching and writing about tax and budget, education, criminal justice, and energy policies. Gene serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network.

Clay Pope

Presenter: Rural Issues Breakout Session

Clay Pope served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1994 through 2004 and as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts from 2004 to 2014.  Prior to his service in the Legislature, Mr. Pope served as Agriculture and Trade Assistant to Congressman Glenn English in Washington D.C. During his tenure in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Clay served as chairman of the Agriculture and International Trade Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, as Chairman of the Oklahoma House Revenue and Taxation Committee, as Vice chairman of the Oklahoma House Agriculture Committee and Vice chairman of the House County and Municipal Government Committee. He also served on the Intergovernmental Advisory Panel to the United States Trade Representative, representing state legislatures.

Clay has received numerous honors including the Farm Bureau Legislative Meritorious Service Award, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Representative of the Year, The Oklahoma Farmers Union Legislative Leadership award, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts President’s Award, The Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education, the Meritorious Service Award from the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma, and The Oklahoma Professional Economic Development Council legislative advocate award.  Clay was named a Champion of Oklahoma County Government in 1999, has been recognized by the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals for his legislative work, and was named Agriculture Man of the Year for Oklahoma by Progressive Farmer magazine in 1999. In 2005 Clay was named a ‘Graduate of Distinction’ from the College of Agriculture at Oklahoma State University.

A Future Farmers of America (FFA) State and American Farmer Degree recipient in High School, Clay was also named an Outstanding Oklahoma 4-H Alumni in 1998 and an Honorary State FFA Degree recipient by the Oklahoma FFA Association in 2007.  Clay was the winner of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau young farmers and rancher’s agriculture policy discussion meet in 1991 and was the national runner-up in the American Farm Bureau young farmers and ranchers Excellence in Agriculture contest in 2003. In 2009, Clay was named the Oklahoma Conservationist of the Year by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and in 2013 he was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with the a regional Emmy Award for his outreach and educational work in conjunction with the Ken Burns documentary The Dust Bowl.

Clay Pope is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Farmers Union, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Lomega Lions Club, the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, the Oklahoma Grain and Stocker Producers, the Kingfisher Elks Lodge and is currently serving as Lay Leader at the Loyal United Methodist Church.  Clay is also a member of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals and served as their implementation chair from 2005 to 2010.

Clay is a farmer and rancher and holds a B.S. in Agriculture Communications from Oklahoma State University. Clay, his wife Sarah and his four children live on their family ranch near Loyal, Oklahoma. In 2014 He and Sarah formed CSP,LLC a full service consulting company that focuses on natural resource issues.

Carly Putnam

Presenter: Gender Breakout Session

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. With Gene Perry, she compiles In The Know, a daily news update. Her work at OK Policy focuses on healthcare, poverty, inequality, and race and gender.

Kate Richey

Presenter: Overview of Poverty and Opportunity; Race; Gender; Moderator: Poverty

Kate Richey joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in January 2011 with an International Business degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. Kate has extensive experience teaching government and public policy at the college level. She is proud to be a military brat and spent over a decade of her life competing, coaching, and judging competitive interscholastic policy debates.

 She currently coordinates the Oklahoma Assets Network (OAN) for OK Policy, a diverse group of individuals and organizations who work to advance a range of policy initiatives to protect assets and advance opportunity for low income Oklahomans and in communities of color. Kate also researches and writes about immigration, poverty, race and the economy in Oklahoma.

Dan Rickman

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges 

Dan Rickman is Regents Professor of Economics at Oklahoma State University and holds the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Services Chair in Regional Economic Analysis. He has been employed at Oklahoma State since 1996 and also has held regular and visiting appointments at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Colorado State University, University of Saskatchewan and Georgia Southern University. He has extensive experience forecasting and analyzing state and local economies. His research on regional and urban economies has been widely published in academic books and journals. He currently serves as the Co-Editor of the academic journal Growth and Change and is a member of several academic journal editorial boards.

John Schumann

Moderator: Medicaid

John Henning Schumann, M.D., holds the Gussman Chair in Internal Medicine at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine where he is also Vice Chair for Education and Residency Program Director. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University. He trained in Internal Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, where he also served as Chief Resident.

For nearly a decade, he was a faculty member in Medicine and Ethics at the University of Chicago, where he also completed a fellowship in Clinical Medical Ethics at the MacLean Center. Dr. Schumann is an avid communicator: he maintains a blog called GlassHospital, intended make medical practice and health policy more transparent to non-medical readers. His blog posts have been featured and re-posted in several national publications, and he is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Shots. His writing has also appeared in Slate and The Atlantic. Dr. Schumann provides health commentary and serves as a frequent guest host for StudioTulsa, a public radio interview program on KWGS Public Radio Tulsa. He is currently piloting a medical/health affairs radio show for NPR affiliates called Medical Matters.

Damario Solomon-Simmons

Moderator: Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

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.

Sam Stalcup


Sam Stalcup is a writer, photographer, and documentarian who lives in Oklahoma City.

Kris Steele

Panelist: What do we do to move people out of poverty?

Kris Steele is the Executive Director of TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), a nonprofit specializing in reducing poverty, unemployment and homelessness in the greater Oklahoma City area. TEEM seeks to empower individuals and strengthen communities through education, job training, social services and job placement. Prior to joining TEEM, Kris represented Shawnee as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representative for twelve years, serving as Speaker from 2010 – 2012. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, and a Master Degree in Education from East Central University in Ada.

Kris and his wife Kellie reside in Shawnee and are blessed with two daughters, 10-year old Mackenzie and 8-year old Madison.

Kathy Taylor

Speaker: Political Leadership: Myths and Realities

Kathy Taylor is best known as a change agent. She is a native Oklahoman who has served as a business executive, public servant and corporate attorney. Known for her strong leadership in job attraction, expanding education opportunities and developing entrepreneurship programs- Kathy has served as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation and a resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. She now serves as CEO of Impact!Tulsa (www.impacttulsa.com), a partnership of community organizations using continuous improvement to increase student success outcomes in the Tulsa area.

 Kathy serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Heritage Association and on the board of Sonic Corp., a publicly traded Oklahoma-based company with the nation’s largest chain of drive-in quick serve restaurants in the nation.

 Kathy is a proud Sooner, having received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and her law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Andrew Tevington

Panelist: Statesmanship – The Legacy of Henry Bellmon

Andrew Tevington is an attorney and retired minister, who worked as U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon’s press secretary in Washington, D.C. during the late 1970’s and as Governor Bellmon’s general counsel during Bellmon’s second gubernatorial term from 1987 to 1991. For the last two years of the term, Tevington also served as chief of staff.

Warren Vieth

Panelist: Policy Journalism 

Warren Vieth is associate editor and reporter for Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public policy issues facing the state. He is a former White House reporter, national reporter and assignment editor for the Washington Bureau of the Los Angeles Times. He also worked for newspapers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas and Orange County, Calif. Vieth taught journalism for eight years at the University of Oklahoma. He directed the Immigration in the Heartland program sponsored by OU’s Gaylord College and the Institute for Justice and Journalism. He is a board member and Right To Know project director for the Oklahoma Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Abby Wendle

Media Team

Abby Wendle is an audio producer for This Land Radio in Tulsa. She spends most of her time inside of headphones, asking questions and listening. Abby moved to Oklahoma after graduating with an MA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Penny Williams

Panelist: Statesmanship – The Legacy of Henry Bellmon

Penny Williams served in the state legislature for 24 years, making her Oklahoma’s longest serving woman legislator.

Among Senator Williams accomplishments for improving education, she authored the bill in 1982 to create the University Center at Tulsa (UCAT/UCT), a consortium of higher education institutions, including — and ultimately becoming — OSU-Tulsa. She was instrumental in creating the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), the Reading Sufficiency Act, and the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM). She also authored the Brownfields Act, Tax Increment Finance, Domestic Violence Interventionas well as nursing home and property tax reform.

Most importantly, Senator Williams co-authored House Bill 1017, the historic education reform legislation which led her to establish statewide early education legislation which made Oklahoma the first state to initiate such a program; she authored the Art in Public Places Act and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame; Williams chaired the legislative Arts Caucus; and was an advocate for the Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain.

Though she retired from the legislature in 2004, Senator Williams continues her volunteer efforts with many civic and community organizations including her Chairmanship of the Sutton Avian Research Center and membership on the Arts and Humanities Council and Board of Advocates for the education college at OU.

She was named a Living Legend by Tulsa People magazine in 2011 for her efforts to reform Oklahoma’s public education system.

Senator Williams attended Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Tehran and the University of Tulsa. She has three sons, Joseph Hill Williams Jr, Peter Baldwin Williams, and James Chesnut Williams.