2019 SPI Speaker Bios OK Policy Staff

Speaker Bios [OK Policy Staff]

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Executive Director David Blatt

IMG_1348David Blatt helped found OK Policy in 2008 and became the organization’s  Executive Director in 2010. David’s work involves conducting research, writing issue briefs and blog posts, and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, health care, and various other subjects. He writes a weekly column, Prosperity Policy, that appears in the Journal Record.  David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. David previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David will be stepping down as OK Policy’s Executive Director at the end of August 2019 and will be succeeded by Ahniwake Rose. Contact David

Incoming Executive Director Ahniwake Rose

Ahniwake Rose is the incoming Executive Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy). Rose brings nearly two decades of experience at the intersection of public policy and nonprofit management. She is grounded in forward-thinking policy solutions and seeks to work within communities to assess, develop, and implement comprehensive change based in credible data.

Prior to her joining OK Policy, Rose served as the Deputy Director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), a national organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities, where she worked with a diverse coalition of civil and human rights organizations to address economic inequality and systemic injustice.

Oklahoma-born, Rose serves on several education and youth related boards and is a Rockwood Leadership Institute Leading from the Inside Out Fellow, Class of 2017. She is a mother of two daughters, Waleah and Tahna. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is of Muscogee Creek descent.

Policy Staff

Policy Director / Health Care Policy Analyst Carly Putnam

Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in January 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. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. She is graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification Program, the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking program, and  The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa. She previously served as board president for United Campus Ministry at the University of Tulsa. At OK Policy, Carly supervises policy staff and conducts research focusing on  health care and the safety net. Contact Carly | More About Carly

Budget & Tax Senior Policy Analyst Paul Shinn

Paul ShinnPaul Shinn joined OK Policy in May 2019. He has held budget and finance positions for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the Department of Human Services, the cities of Oklahoma City and Del City, and several local governments in his native Oregon. He’s also taught political science and public administration at the University of Oklahoma, University of Central Oklahoma, and California State University Stanislaus. While with the Government Finance Officers Association, Paul worked on consulting and research projects for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and several state agencies and local governments. He also served as policy analyst for CAP Tulsa. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Oklahoma and degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Maryland College Park. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Carmelita. Contact PaulMore About Paul

Economic Opportunity Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison

Courtney Cullison joined OK Policy in March 2017 as a policy analyst focusing on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve. Contact Courtney | More About Courtney

Education Policy Analyst and KIDS COUNT Coordinator Rebecca Fine

Rebecca Fine joined OK Policy in July 2018 as the education policy analyst. Originally from New York, Rebecca began her career in education in 2009 as an Oklahoma teacher. Rebecca proudly comes from a family of educators, and spent four years teaching middle school in Tulsa and Union Public Schools. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science from the University of Rochester and received an M.A. in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Contact Rebecca | More About Rebecca

Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Damion Shade

Damion joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in July 2018 as the criminal justice policy analyst. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and has lived in Oklahoma since the late 90s. Prior to joining OK Policy, he was an educator at Jenks Public Schools and the Oklahoma School for the Performing Arts. He’s written education and justice features as a contributing writer for the Tulsa Voice since 2016, and he was awarded best Education and General News Reporting features by the Society for Professional Journalists in 2017. Damion earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Oral Roberts University and started several voter registration and political advocacy initiatives during his time on campus. He lives in Tulsa with his wife Rachel. Contact Damion

Mental Health Policy Analyst / Fellowship Coordinator Lauren Turner

Lauren Turner joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in October 2018 as the mental health policy analyst and coordinator of the Mental Health Policy Fellowship. She is a native Tulsan who has spent the entirety of her career working in social services in Northeastern Oklahoma, including work in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, the HIV/AIDS community, and anti-trafficking efforts in the Tulsa area. She was a research assistant and Knee Center for Strong Families Scholar at the University of Oklahoma. She received a B.S in Family and Human Services from John Brown University in 2010 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2016. She became a Licensed Master Social Worker in July 2016. Contact Lauren | More About Lauren

Outreach Staff

Outreach & Legislative Director Sabine Brown

Sabine joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in January 2018. She grew up in Germany but has called Oklahoma home since 1998. Before joining Oklahoma Policy Institute she served as the Oklahoma Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Sabine earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Science from the University of Oklahoma and was a physician assistant prior to discovering advocacy work. Sabine enjoys working with grassroots advocates to work towards a fair and prosperous Oklahoma. She lives in Bixby with her husband, Eric, and their two children. Contact Sabine | More About Sabine

Senior Field Organizer Kyle Lawson

Kyle joined OK Policy as a Field Organizer for Southeastern Oklahoma in early 2019 and was promoted to Senior Field Organizer in July 2019. Kyle was born in Tucson, Arizona to Sheila and Dale Lawson and grew up in Southern Arizona. After finishing high school, he joined the U.S. Army as a Human Intelligence Collector. Upon completing his military service, Kyle attended college, majoring in business administration and minoring in psychology, and then worked for Congressman Jim Kolbe in Arizona’s 5th congressional district for three years. After Rep. Kolbe retired, Kyle worked in the private sector in Phoenix. In 2010, he moved to Southern Oklahoma to be near his family.

Since moving to Oklahoma Kyle has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children for four years, as an officer in the Masonic Lodge, worked with children as a Shriner, served two years on the board of directors for Restoring Lives as the finance chairman. He was  Mayor for the town of Gene Autry for three years, serving in the Mayor’s congress and on the Mayor’s council. Kyle has always been dedicated, hardworking and places an emphasis on community involvement. Contact KyleMore About Kyle

Southwest Oklahoma Field Organizer Jacobi Crowley

Jacobi joined OK Policy in 2019. As a Lawton native and graduate of Eisenhower High School, Jacobi’s roots in southwest Oklahoma communities run deep. He credits his family and teachers for being instrumental in the achievement of earning a scholarship to Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The positive role models in his life influenced his decision to major in Special Education with a minor in Behavioral Management. Upon earning his degree, Jacobi moved back to his hometown to help make a difference in his community. Prior to Together Oklahoma, Jacobi ran for Oklahoma State Senate, becoming the youngest person in state history to advance to a general election at the age of 25. Jacobi is host for a local radio talk show called The Revolution, where he is able to connect and educate the community on various issues. Contact Jacobi

Communications Staff

Communications Director – position currently vacant


Communications Associate Jessica Vazquez

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, she immigrated to Oklahoma with her family at a young age and obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma, a community organization dedicated to advocating and empowering immigrant youth in the state. Contact Jessica

Operations & Development Staff

Deputy Director, Operations & Development Director Shiloh Kantz

Shiloh joined OK Policy as the Office Manager in February 2010.  She is a wife and mother of three children, Grantham, Ethan and Delilah and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.  Prior to joining OK Policy, she worked as a controller and office manager for an Oklahoma small business group.  Shiloh was promoted to Director of Operations and Development in June of 2015. She oversees all internal operations, event planning, and fundraising activities. Her work at OK Policy has tuned her in to what is happening in our state and fostered a drive to play a more active part in it.  Before joining the staff, she felt she was a suburban wife and mother who had no interest in state government because it did not affect her.  She now realizes state government affects all residents, big and small, old and young. Contact Shiloh

Operations & Development Associate Andrea McNeil

Andrea joined OK Policy in June 2018. She is a lifelong Tulsan, wife, mother of two children, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Prior to working at OK Policy, Andrea held positions in accounting and finance at the Tulsa Community Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa Opera, and Riverfield Country Day School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northeastern State University and is working towards her Master’s degree in Organizational Dynamics at OU-Tulsa. Andrea has recently become more involved in local advocacy groups such as Together Oklahoma and is passionate about seeing education, health care, and safety net programs improve for a strong and sustainable Oklahoma. Contact Andrea

Operations & Development Associate Kourtni Cain

Kourtni Cain joined OK Policy in September 2018. Previously, she worked for The University of Tulsa in their Development office. Kourtni received a B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in 2013. As part of the Operations Team, she assists with fundraising and special events. Kourtni’s areas of policy interest are immigration, international relations, poverty/healthcare, and women’s health. Always ready for a good debate, she volunteers with the Tulsa Debate League. In her spare time, Kourtni enjoys spending time with her husband Paul, her two dogs and three cats, and travelling. Contact Kourtni | More About Kourtni

Open Justice Oklahoma Staff 

Open Justice Oklahoma Director Ryan Gentzler

Ryan Gentzler joined OK Policy in January 2016 as a policy analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015. Contact Ryan | More About Ryan

Justice Data Analyst Ashley Harvey

Ashley Harvey joined OK Policy as the justice data analyst for Open Justice Oklahoma in September 2018. A native Oklahoman, she received her B.S. and M.S. from Oklahoma State University-Tulsa in Human Development and Family Science. She previously worked as a research assistant for OSU’s Center for Family Resilience evaluating various community and grant funded projects. As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, she developed and implemented a family strengthening initiative within Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center. Ashley is an alumna of OK Policy’s 2017 Summer Policy Institute. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from OSU, where her research interests include family and community impacts of the justice system. She lives in the Tulsa area with her husband, Bryan, and their two children. Contact Ashley | More About Ashley

Mental Health Policy Fellows

Mental Health Policy Fellow Maggie den Harder

Margaret (Maggie) den Harder obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology from Seattle Pacific University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Originally from the Pacific Northwest area of Washington state, Maggie has called Tulsa home since 2010. While living in Tulsa, Maggie has worked in the legal field, higher education administration, and the nonprofit sector. In 2018, Maggie spent time at the City of Tulsa as a consultant and wrote the content for Resilient Tulsa, an action-oriented strategy designed to better equity in Tulsa. Through her work, community involvement, and personal experiences, Maggie is interested in the intersection of the law and mental health and addiction treatment issues, preventative and intervention programs, and maternal mental health. Through earlier work, Maggie further developed interests in family dynamics and stability, economic security-related stress, and intergenerational trauma. Maggie is part of the CityMatCH CityLEADERS 13th Cohort. This leadership program trains emerging maternal child health leaders through skills-building, community-based activities designed to increase health equity and improve maternal child health outcomes.

While not at work, Maggie serves on the board of the Junior League of Tulsa, as a board intern for Domestic Violence Intervention Services, as a mentor at Street School, and as a tutor for Reading Partners. She also enjoys hanging around the house with her spouse and their three rescued dogs, Bertram, Gretel, and Gina. Contact Maggie | More About Maggie

Mental Health Policy Fellow Brittany Hayes

Brittany Hayes joined OK Policy in October 2018. She is a licensed attorney, having graduated with highest honor from the University of Tulsa College of Law in May of 2018. Brittany earned her Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in May of 2011 before teaching history and coaching debate at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs. Brittany’s passion for policy work and advocacy reignited while working with the Community Advocacy Clinic, Immigrant Rights Project, and Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office. Her research and policy interests include mental health, criminal justice, education, and the problems at the intersection of all three areas. Contact Brittany