Speaker Bios 2

Speaker and OK Policy Staff Bios

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Marilyn Feaver

Moderator: Who Owns the Water?

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 (OK CEO) the 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.

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 and 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 nonprofit 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.

Caitlin Frazier

Panelist: Careers in Public Policy; Presenter: ‘A digital native’s guide to social media in the professional world’

Caitlin Frazier is the Social Media Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center American Progress Action Fund. Previously, she worked as the Social Media Director of the Center for American Progress. Before coming to CAP, she worked as the Communications Fellow for the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Capitol Hill in the office of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). She has also worked in political campaigns in California and Oklahoma. A proud Oklahoma native, Caitlin received a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2008 with a concurrent certification in nonprofit management from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Immediately after graduation, Caitlin was an AmeriCorps volunteer serving as an HIV tester and counselor in West Los Angeles.

Kalyn Free

Panelist: Campaigns and Elections

Kalyn Free is an attorney, a social activist, a proud Associate Member of the United Steel Workers, and a citzen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She has been active in public service in Washington, D.C., Oklahoma and nationally for 30 years.

Kalyn graduated with two degrees (BA in Communication and BA in History) from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1984, and then matriculated to the University of Oklahoma College of Law, earning her Juris Doctorate degree in 1987.

While in law school, Kalyn was accepted into the United States Department of Justice Honor Law Program, and became the youngest lawyer ever hired by the Department of Justice. After leaving the Department of Justice, Kalyn returned to Oklahoma and became the first woman elected District Attorney of Pittsburg and Haskell Counties. During her tenure as DA, Kalyn made victims’ rights, domestic violence, and child abuse priorities in her administration, significantly increasing the prosecution of domestic violence and child abuse cases, while racking up record-setting verdicts in the courtroom.

Kalyn has received numerous awards recognizing her dedication to fighting for those who have no other voice. Kalyn currently serves as Special Counsel for Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chief Bill John Baker.

Melissa Gower

Panelist: Health Care in Oklahoma

Melissa has worked as the Senior Advisor, Policy Analyst to the Secretary of Health for the Chickasaw Nation since January, 2015. Her focus is on all health related policy issues at the national, state, and local levels for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health. Melissa has been working as a Senior Health Consultant with various tribes, tribal organizations and nonprofit organizations over the last four years. During that time, she also served as the Executive Director of the Cherokee County Health Services Council, which operated one of the three certified Health Information Organizations in the State of Oklahoma. She also served as a Health Policy Analyst with the Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board, serving tribes in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. Her main focus was on the Special Protections and Provisions for American Indians in the Affordable Care Act. Before that, she spent the last two decades working for the Cherokee Nation, the second-largest Indian tribe in the United States with more than 300,000 citizens. For more than half of that time, she served the tribe at an executive level and was part of the team responsible for Cherokee Nation’s unparalleled economic growth and prosperity. Gower is the recipient of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Native American Health and Welfare Policy Fellowship. She spent a year working for Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, (Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs), where she performed legislative duties on several issues including health, self-governance, family, and elder issues. Over the years, Gower received numerous awards including: “Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service Area Director’s Service Award,”“Excellence in Management Award,” “Superior Management Award,” and “Employee of the Year Award.”

Gower has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Northeastern State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Robb Gray

Panelist: Careers in Public Policy; Presenter: ‘Advocacy and Public Policy: From OK to D.C.’

Robb Gray is the Director of State Engagement & Partnerships at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For the Center, he works with state and national partners to advance progressive fiscal policies focused on improving the lives of low- and moderate-income families and the communities where they live. This work includes hands-on guidance with state partners to build, lead, and activate coalitions and networks as well as to devise and implement civic engagement strategies that shape important budget and tax debates and policy outcomes. Gray joined the Center in May 2007. He brings over ten years of experience working in state and federal governments in a variety of advocacy, organizational development, and analytical capacities. Before coming to the Center, Gray worked on contract with numerous nonprofit and state labor organizations as a government affairs consultant and coalition organizer. Prior to that, he was the Executive Director for the Oklahoma State Tourism and Recreation Department, Fiscal Staff assigned to the Oklahoma State Senate Appropriations Committee, and an Intelligence Analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and an M.P.A. in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Sen. AJ Griffin

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

Griffin graduated from Adair High School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Oklahoma State University, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. While attending Oklahoma State University she had the honor of participating in the Cowboy Marching Band as a Drum-Major. She began her professional career in the restaurant industry. She then spent several years as a family and consumer sciences teacher and hospitality careers instructor. Griffin has spent the last eight years managing not-for-profit businesses dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. She currently represents District 20 in the Oklahoma Senate. The Senator and her husband, Trey, serve as deacons for First Christian Church in Guthrie. They have two children, Alexandra (16) and Reagan (13).

Melvin Hall

Presenter: ‘Race in Public Policy’

After an eight-year public service career with the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office (1980-1983) and as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission (1983-1987), Mr. Hall joined the Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis law firm (www.riggsabney.com) on January 1, 1988. He was elected shareholder partner on January 1, 1992. Since joining the firm, Mr. Hall has focused his practice on the civil litigation of employment law and civil rights cases. Mr. Hall has tried cases before administrative tribunals, in state district courts and in each of the three U.S. District Courts of Oklahoma. He has also argued several cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Hall is a nationally sought-after speaker and lecturer on employment law and civil rights issues. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, teaching classes on employment law and the civil rights movement. Mr. Hall has served on numerous boards and commissions, such as a seven-year term as a regent on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents from April 22, 1992 through March 31, 1999. During Mr. Hall’s tenure as a University of Oklahoma Regent, he was elected Chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in March 1998, becoming the Board’s first African-American chairman. Currently, Mr. Hall serves on the Arvest Bank Board of Directors, the Executive Committee of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the Board of Visitors of the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Mr. Hall is an AV-rated attorney who has received numerous awards, honors and appointments, including the A.C. Hamlin Tribute of Appreciation and Commendation from the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. The University of Oklahoma and Langston University have created scholarships in his name. Both are annual scholarships awarded to students who exemplify leadership and aspire to become lawyers. Mr. Hall has received the Trailblazers Award from the University of Oklahoma Black Alumni Society and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Langston University. In October 2000, President Clinton nominated Mr. Hall to be a Federal Judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Prior to his nomination, Mr. Hall was fully vetted by the Justice Department/FBI and the American Bar Association, and he was voted qualified by the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. In October 2013, Mr. Hall was presented with the Oklahoma Bar Association Diversity Committee’s Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award.

Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts in Education degree from Langston University in 1978 and is a 1981 graduate of the University Of Oklahoma College Of Law.

Robert Henry

Panelist: Public Leadership: Myths and Realities

In a unique public service career, Robert Henry served in each branch of government. From 1976 to 1986, he was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; in 1986 and again in 1990, he was elected Attorney General of Oklahoma. He was later appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he served as Chief Judge. Judge Robert H. Henry became the 17th President of Oklahoma City University in July 2010. His long-standing relationship with OCU began in 1991 when he joined the faculty of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he served as Dean and Professor of Law from 1991 until 1994.

President Henry serves on the Boards of Directors of Devon Energy, the Oklahoma Heritage Association, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and the OKC Allied Arts. Additionally, he serves on several national and international boards, including the advisory boards of iCivics, the Ralph Ellison Foundation, and the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a life member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. His previous service includes the Advisory Board for the Judicial Outreach Program of the American Society of International Law and the Board of the A.B.A. Rule of Law Initiative. He was the first chair of the A.B.A.’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Council. From 2009-2013, Henry served on the board of directors for the Foundation for the Future, a human rights and pro-democracy organization based in Amman, Jordan.

Among his honors, he has been awarded the Dalsimer Dean’s Award by the Pepperdine School of Law; the Annual Human Rights Award by the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission; the A.C. Hamlin Award by National Black Caucus of State Legislators; and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by National Conference of Christians and Jews, the precursor organization of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. President Henry was recently named Leadership Oklahoma’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

A native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, President Henry received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane letters from the University of Tulsa and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University.

Supt. Joy Hofmeister

Panelist: Education

Joy Hofmeister was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 14th State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Jan. 12, 2015. She served on the Oklahoma State Board of Education from January 2012 through April 2013 as an appointee of Gov. Mary Fallin. In the private sector, she spent 15 years operating Kumon Math & Reading Centers of South Tulsa,

which works through parent partnerships to ensure higher academic achievement for children. During that time, she personally worked with more than 4,000 students to improve their educational outcomes. Hofmeister graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education from Texas Christian University, and holds teaching certificates in English and Elementary Education. As of May 2015, she is earning her master’s degree in Education Administration with a specialty in Education Policy and Law from the University of Oklahoma.

Fount Holland

Panelist: Campaigns and Elections

Fount Holland founded A.H. Strategies in 1997 from his home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Now from the firm’s offices in Oklahoma City, Holland advises clients, develops strategic plans and directs his award-winning creative team.
 He also founded Majority Designs, along with business partner Trebor Worthen, to specifically handle creative services for candidates and committees across the southwest region of the United States.

Holland’s personal clients in the past decade have included Congressman Markwayne Mullin, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, State Treasurer Ken Miller, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, and numerous local and state leaders, and numerous political and non-profit committees. He has represented more than 100 elected officials in Oklahoma today, including district attorneys and judges, and he ran the first legislative campaigns for all six Republican House speakers and Senate Pro-Tem Brian Bingman. He is known as the architect of the Republican takeover of the Oklahoma Legislature, which has since grown to veto-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate.

Holland was recognized as one of the top 500 political influencers in America by Campaigns & Elections magazine. Holland’s creative team has won numerous Pollies and C&E’s Reed Awards. Majority Design’s most recent 2015 Reed award was for the best newspaper advertisement, featuring the re-election of Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. In 2014, his companies won prestigious national political consulting Reed awards for the Best Get Out the Vote campaign and for the Best Earned Media from a Single Event.

Holland has a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and did graduate work in political communications at the University of Arkansas. Holland and his wife, Vicky, live in Moore, Oklahoma.

Sen. David Holt

Panelist: Campaigns and Elections

Senator David Holt is a Republican representing Northwest Oklahoma City in the Oklahoma Senate. He was first elected in 2010 and was recently named a “Rising Star” by Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Senator Holt is a member of the national board of GOPAC, which educates and elects the next generation of Republican leaders. Senator Holt previously served in the White House of President George W. Bush; he has also served as the Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Oklahoma City and in the offices of a U.S. House Speaker, a Lt. Governor, several members of Congress, and in various campaigns.

In the 2015 legislative session, Senator Holt introduced ten pieces of legislation to reform Oklahoma’s election processes and address rapidly declining voter turnout. Senator Holt has authored over 50 pieces of legislation that have become law, and was awarded the Sunshine Award for his work promoting government transparency, among other honors.

Senator Holt is the author of the 2012 book “Big League City: Oklahoma City’s Rise to the NBA.” He holds a B.A. from The George Washington University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. He and his wife Rachel have two children, George and Margaret. He is also a member of the Osage Nation.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Panelist: Oklahoma’s Fiscal Challenges

Chuck Hoskin Jr. serves as the Cherokee Nation Secretary of State. He was appointed to the cabinet position by Principal Chief Bill John Baker and unanimously confirmed by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council in August 2013.

He interacts with federal, state, local and tribal officials on matters relating to sovereignty, government relations and funding. He also manages several human services, community services and infrastructure programs.

His passion to serve the tribe and Cherokee citizens runs deep. He formerly served as the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council representative for District 11 for six years. He held the position of Deputy Speaker for the council.

Chuck graduated from Vinita High School in 1993 and the University of Oklahoma in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He graduated from OU Law School in 2000 with a Juris Doctorate degree. He served as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board from 2005 to 2013, leaving agency to take the Cabinet post. The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development selected him as a “2014 40 Under 40 Native American Award”.

He resides in Vinita with his wife, January, and their two children, Triston and Jasmine.