2015 SPI Agenda

Summer Policy Institute Agenda 

 (as of July 30, 2015; DRAFT subject to change)

All events are at the OU- Tulsa Schusterman Campus – Learning Center 4502 E. 41st Street Tulsa, OK 74135, unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, August 2nd

12:00 – 1:00   University Of Tulsa room check-in – Shiloh Kantz (Director of Operations and Development, OK Policy) (TU)

12:30 – 1:00  – Check In for Commuters

1:00 – 1:30 – Welcome – David Blatt (Executive Director, OK Policy), Shiloh Kantz (Director of Operations and Development, OK Policy)

1:30 – 2:30 – Speed-friending – Kara Joy McKee (Outreach Specialist, OK Policy)

Get to know your fellow SPI attendees and OK Policy staff in this fun, fast-paced icebreaker.

2:30 – 3:00 – Legislative Introduction – Damario Solomon-Simmons (Legislative Liaison, OK Policy; Attorney, RiggsAbney)

At the end of the day, politics is nothing but the process of who gets what, when, and how of the public’s resources and power. So, while political campaigns draw most of the non-stop media coverage, it is the mostly mundane but extremely important legislative process where the bulk of the State’s resources and power are allocated.  This seminar will provide participants an overview understanding of the Oklahoma State Legislature process, timelines, and procedures.

3:10 – 4:00 – Budget & Tax Overview – David Blatt (Executive Director, OK Policy)

In this presentation, OK Policy director David Blatt will discuss the major components of Oklahoma’s tax system and state budget, and will review recent changes in the state fiscal landscape stemming from legislative policy decisions, the Great Recession, and economic and legal trends.

4:00 – 5:20 – Free time

5:20 – Optional tour of Tipton Community Garden – Kara Joy McKee (Outreach Specialist, OK Policy) (2211 E. 1st Street)

Join us for a brief tour of one of the community gardens facilitated by the neighborhood nonprofit Kendall Whittier, Inc. As one of the first suburban neighborhoods in Tulsa, Kendall Whittier has seen half-century of changes and challenges including increases in poverty and food insecurity.  The Tipton Community Garden aims to provide a hub of communication and cooperation among neighbors who work together to grow fruits and vegetables in their individual and shared garden plots.

5:45 – 9:00 – “A Place at the Table” (Circle Cinema) and Dinner (Kendall-Whittier Food Trucks) (10 S. Lewis Ave)

Fifty million Americans, including 1 in 4 children, don’t know where their next meal is coming from. A Place at the Table tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. In a riveting journey that will change forever how you think about the hungry, A Place at the Table shows how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides—as they have in the past—that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all.

Panel Discussion: Hunger in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a hungry state. This panel will discuss the history of poverty and food insecurity in Oklahoma, and share strategies and expectations for policy development and advocacy going forward. 

Panelists: Bob Waldrop (President, Oklahoma Food Cooperative; Founder, Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House), Rev. Christy Moore (Founder, Stone Soup Community Venture and Tulsa’s Table), Rita Scott (Outreach Director, Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance)

Moderator: Eileen Bradshaw (Executive Director, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma)

Monday, August 3rd

8:00 – 8:45 – Breakfast 

 9:00 – 10:30 – Panel Discussion: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

In this session, policy leaders and academic specialists will discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by a changing budgetary landscape at the local, state, and federal levels.

Panelists: Preston Doerflinger (State Finance Director), Anthony Francisco (Finance Director, City of Norman), Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (Secretary of State, Cherokee Nation), Scott Inman (Minority Leader, House of Representatives), Cynthia Rogers (Professor of Economics, University of Oklahoma)

Moderator: David Blatt (Executive Director, Oklahoma Policy Institute)

10:45 – 12:00 – Panel – Oklahoma Campaigns and Elections

Will Oklahoma remain the reddest state in the nation? Will Democrats ever again win a statewide office in Oklahoma? What, if anything, can be done to get more citizens to get engaged in the political process? The panelists will discuss the state of electoral competition and political participation in Oklahoma.

Panelists: Kalyn Free (Political Consultant), Fount Holland (Political Consultant), David Holt (State Senator), Ryan Kiesel (Executive Director, Oklahoma ACLU), Sheryl Lovelady (Political Consultant), Joe Dorman (former Gubernatorial candidate)

Moderator:  Ziva Branstetter (Editor-in-Chief, The Frontier)

12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:10 – 2:25 – Breakout Sessions #1

  • Tribal Opportunities and Challenges – Dr. Star Yellowfish (Administration of Native American Student Services, Oklahoma City Public Schools) [Room #220]

Dr. Star Yellowfish will lead a discussion on what to expect when working with policies that involve tribal interests. The session will explore the challenges and opportunities facing Oklahoma’s native community today and identify skills and training needed for young people interested in careers in tribal policy.

  • Oklahoma Grass Roots Advocacy – Kara Joy McKee (Outreach Specialist, OK Policy) [Room #223]

This session will examine the need for grassroots advocacy in Oklahoma, some of the best practices to advocate via a grassroots network, and the challenges that Oklahoma advocates face. Participants will have opportunities to discuss methods and ask questions. 

  • Research Tips, Advanced Googling, Finding & Using Data – Gene Perry (Policy Director, OK Policy) [Room #224]

How do we do what we do? In this session, OK Policy’s Director of Policy Gene Perry will share tips for where to find data, how to use it, and what to watch out for when researching public policy.

  • Criminal Justice – Kris Steele (Executive Director, TEEM) [Founder’s Hall]

Oklahoma locks up more people than almost any other state or country. In this breakout session, Kris Steele will discuss the costs of mass incarceration for Oklahoma families and what is needed to reduce it. Steele is a former Oklahoma Speaker of the House and is currently Executive Director of The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM), a non-profit that seeks to break the cycle of incarceration and poverty.

2:30 – 2:55 – Overview: Set up to Fail: Barriers to exiting poverty (and a few bright spots)  Carly Putnam (Policy Analyst, OK Policy) 

Despite ample natural resources and a strong sense of charity, Oklahoma is one of the poorest states in the US. This presentation examines poverty in Oklahoma, and discusses factors keeping hardworking Oklahomans from exiting poverty – or why, if you’re behind, it can be nearly impossible to get ahead.

3:00 – 4:30 – Panel Discussion: What do we do to move people out of poverty? 

Oklahoma ranks consistently among the top ten states for its high rate of poverty. Yet innovative efforts to expand access to economic opportunity and elevate political consciousness around poverty continue to move us forward.  

Panelists: Kuma Browne (Program Manager, Education, Tulsa Regional Chamber), Jeff Jaynes (Executive Director, Restore Hope Ministries), David Humpreys (Partner, Humphreys Wallace Humphreys)*, Wanda DeBruler (Owner, DeBruler Inc.), Sen. A.J. Griffin (Oklahoma Senate)

Moderator: Felicia Collins Correia (OK Policy Board member)

4:30 – Break for evening events

5:15 – Shuttle from TU loads for 5:45pm departure for Tour of Greenwood 

6:15 – 7:15 – Tour of Greenwood– Damario Solomon-Simmons (Legislative Liaison, OK Policy; Attorney, RiggsAbney)

Damario Solomon-Simmons leads a shuttle bus tour of historical Greenwood including a stop at the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.  

7:15 – 9:00 – Dinner at Greenwood Cultural Center catered by McNellie’s Group (322 N. Greenwood Ave.)

OK Policy donors, SPI alumni, and elected officials are invited to join us for mingling and heavy hors-d’oeuvres

9:00 – Shuttle leaves for University of Tulsa

Tuesday, August 4th

8:00 – 8:45 – Breakfast [Founder’s Hall]

 9:00 – 9:30 – Overview: Oklahoma’s Health Landscape – Carly Putnam (Policy Analyst, OK Policy)

Oklahoma is an unhealthy state. In this overview, we unpack some basic health statistics, review access to needed care, and recklessly speculate about the Affordable Care Act and the future of health care in Oklahoma. Also, pictures of cute animals.

9:30 – 10:45 – Panel Discussion: Health Care in Oklahoma

In this session, community leaders, policy experts, and health care providers will share and explain their perspectives on the health care safety net in Oklahoma, discussing challenges and opportunities in providing care; characteristics of those covered and those still in need of care; and the future of health care in Oklahoma.

Panelists: Laura Dempsey-Polan (Vice President, Morton Comprehensive Health Services), Sen. Angela Monson (Associate Provost, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center), Tywanda Cox (‎Director of Federal and State Policy, Oklahoma Health Care Authority), Melissa Gower (Senior Advisor, Policy Analyst to the Secretary of Health for the Chickasaw Nation), Steven Buck (Deputy Commissioner, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services)

Moderator: Dr. John Henning Schumann (Interim President, OU-Tulsa)

11:00 – 12:00: Networking Hour

During this hour, selected businesses, organizations, and individuals will have the opportunity to meet the SPI attendees and share information about their organization. SPI attendees will make some new connections with businesses and organizations that may be relate to their field of study and possible future career choices.

12:00-1:00 – Lunch

1:00 – 2:15: – Breakout Sessions #2

  • Gender – Danne Johnson (Professor, Oklahoma City University) [Room #224]

The pervasive occurrence of instances of gendered violence in Oklahoma compared to other states is alarming.  This session explores how violence (both intimate and structural) and disenfranchisement continue to narrow life choices and frustrate economic advancement in gendered ways.

  • Direct Lobbying – Damario Solomon-Simmons (Legislative Liaison, OK Policy; Attorney, RiggsAbney) [Room #220]

This session will examine the best practice for direct policy advocacy in Oklahoma and the best practices to advocate directly to a legislator. It will also look at the lobbying system as a whole. Participants will have opportunities to discuss methods and ask questions of the Oklahoma Policy Legislative Liaison

  • Infographics – Gene Perry (Policy Director, OK Policy) [Room #223]

You have the data. Now let’s make it shine! In this session, Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Policy Director Gene Perry will share tips and tools for visualizing your data as charts, maps, infographics, and more.

  • The Promise Zone– Sarah Jane Smallwood (Director of Public Policy and Promise Zone Coordination, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma ), Josh Riley (Legislative Advocacy, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), John Redman (Quality Assurance Manager, USDA) [Founder’s Hall]

Promise Zones are an initiative by the Obama administration to direct federal, local, and tribal resources at improving economic opportunities in some of the highest poverty areas in the United States. The Choctaw Nation in southeast Oklahoma was selected as one of five initial Promise Zones nationwide. Leaders of the Promise Zone initiative in Oklahoma will discuss how they are working to improve job opportunities, education outcomes, and infrastructure in Oklahoma communities where it is sorely needed.

2:30 – 3:00: Overview: Education Issues – Gene Perry (Policy Director,OK Policy)

Education policy has been the focus of some of the most contentious debates at the Capitol in recent years. This overview will discuss debates over such issues as high-stakes testing, school choice, education funding, and educational standards, and how all of these translate to what’s happening in the classroom. 

3:00 – 4:30 – Panel Discussion: Education

State leaders and education experts will discuss the state of public education in Oklahoma and how state, local, and national policies are affecting schools, educators, and students.

Panelists: Dr. Curt Adams (Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma), Supt. Rob Neu (Superintendent, Oklahoma City Public Schools), Supt. Rob Miller (Assistant Superintendent, Sand Springs Public Schools), Amanda Ewing (Oklahoma Education Association), Dr. Anthony Marshall (AP US History Teacher, Booker T, Washington High School), Supt. Joy Hofmeister (State Superintendent of Public Instruction)

Moderator: Andrew Tevington (OK Policy Board member)

4:30: Break for the evening activities

6:30 – 9:00 – Dinner: Jazz Hall of Fame (5 S. Boston Ave.)

Panel:  Public Leadership: Myths and Realities

Several of Oklahoma’s most respected current and former leaders will share reflections and insights from their years in public service. They will focus on some of the ways that the reality of holding elected and appointed office and exercising leadership differ from popular myths, and will also reflect on some of the toughest challenges and proudest success of their careers.  

Panelists: Chris Benge (Oklahoma Secretary of State), Robert Henry (President, Oklahoma City University), Bill John Baker (Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation), Jane Wiseman (Judge, Court of Civil Appeals)

Moderator: Linda Edmondson (OK Policy Board member)

Wednesday, August 5th  

8:00 – 8:45 – Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 – Panel Discussion: Who Owns the Water?

“Oil is Oklahoma’s past, water is Oklahoma’s future”- Robert S. Kerr Jr.

It’s easy to take for granted the water coming of our taps or growing our food. But the availability of this resource decides where we live, what we eat, what businesses prosper, and so much more. In the history of Oklahoma, we’ve gone from being a flowing river state to one that is home to the largest amount of freshwater coast line in the U.S. because of human-made lakes. With droughts followed by floods, sometimes contradictory laws, and numerous agencies, tribes, and communities making decisions about water, this panel will dive into some of the controversies and complexities surrounding Oklahoma water policy.

Panelists: J. D. Strong (Executive Director, Oklahoma Water Resources Board), Johnson Bridgwater (Executive Director, Oklahoma Sierra Club), Jean Steiner (Supervisory Soil Scientist, USDA), Curtis Munoz (Environmental Director, Kiowa Tribe)

Moderator: Marilyn Feaver (Executive Director, Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition)

10:45 – 12:15 – Panel discussion: Careers in Public Policy

You’ve learned about these issues. Now how do you make a career in public policy? In this panel, you’ll hear from members of the OK Policy staff as well as Oklahomans, whose careers have taken them to Washington DC and elsewhere speak about how they got to where they are today.

Panelists: Robb Gray (Director of State Engagement & Partnerships, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), Caitlin Frazier (Senior Editor, The Atlantic), Anna Blanding (Independent Consultant), Damario Solomon-Simmons (Legislative Liaison, OK Policy; Attorney, RiggsAbney), Gene Perry (Policy Director, OK Policy), Bailey Perkins (Policy Fellow, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)

Moderator: Kara Joy McKee

12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch 

Ryan Gentzler, (2014-15 Research Fellow, OK Policy) will speak briefly about the OK Policy Research Fellowship program.

1:45 – 3:00 – Breakout Sessions #3

  • A digital native’s guide to social media in the professional world – Caitlin Frazier (Senior Editor, The Atlantic)[Room #220]

You tweet. You snapchat. You Instagram. You pin. But how can you leverage your social media skills into a professional advantage? Learn the dos and don’ts of social media as well as how to use it to get a job and get ahead from a fellow digital native working at the nexus of politics, journalism, and social media.

  • Putting the TANK behind your THINK: Understanding and Getting the Most Out of Policy Advocacy– Robb Gray (Director of State Engagement and Partnerships, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities) [Founder’s Hall]

Making a difference to improve the lives of those around you takes more than ideas, it takes action. This session will help you strengthen your individual and group capacity to engage in effective public policy advocacy to make our society more just. 

  • Race in Public Policy– Melvin Hall (Shareholder Partner, RiggsAbney); Damario Solomon-Simmons (Legislative Liaison, OK Policy; Attorney, RiggsAbney) [Room #223]

This session explores policy, past and present, affecting people of color in Oklahoma.  Violence, bias and disenfranchisement continue to narrow life choices and frustrate economic advancement. Yet innovative equity movements, to expand access to opportunity for all Oklahomans and elevate our political consciousness, continue to move us forward.

3:10 – Attorney General Scott Pruitt will speak for a few minutes about the Attorney General’s Student Leader Council.

3:20 – Wrap Up and Goodbyes