In The Know: Deadlocked race for governor; addicts shut out of sober-living homes; school support staffers work extra jobs…

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Edmondson, Stitt plan statewide campaign stops to woo undecided voters in last two weeks: As the race for Oklahoma governor moves into its final stretch, Democrat Drew Edmondson and Republican Kevin Stitt plan to campaign in every corner of the state and blitz the airwaves to persuade the undecided voters who may decide the Nov. 6 election. All signs point to a deadlocked race. The national Democratic Party, which has declined to invest in its Oklahoma candidates for years, has spent heavily on advertising attacking Stitt. The national Republican Party, which hasn’t had to spend money in this red state, has been trying to keep up with the Democrats. [NewsOK] Governor candidates to appear at forum in Tulsa on Tuesday evening. [Tulsa World]

Much to think about for lieutenant governor’s office: Oklahomans will have to make several decisions about the lieutenant governor’s office this year. Of course, the seat is open, and voters will choose between Republican Matt Pinnell and Democrat Anastasia Pittman. And there is a state question that will allow residents to decide whether the gubernatorial elections should look more like the presidential elections, with the lieutenant gubernatorial candidate joining onto the gubernatorial campaign and appearing on a joint ticket. [Journal Record]

Meet the OK commissioner of labor candidates: Three candidates will compete Nov. 6 to become Oklahoma’s next commissioner of labor. The commissioner heads the Oklahoma Department of Labor and must implement labor-related laws from the Legislature. Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Melissa McLawhorn Houston to serve as commissioner of labor in November 2015 following the death of Mark Costello. [NonDoc]

Four Oklahoma County judicial races on the ballot this general election: Four Oklahoma County judicial races will be on the ballot this general election Nov. 6. Candidates running for the Office 5 and Office 8 seats will appear on the ballot countywide. Those seats are open because district judges are retiring. The other races won’t appear on the ballot countywide. [NewsOK]

Many opioid addicts shut out of sober-living homes: Addiction-recovery homes across Oklahoma are turning away people who are trying to escape opioid addiction by taking medications considered highly effective for recovery. Oxford House, one of the state’s largest networks of recovery homes for drug and alcohol addiction, is trying to convince more of its residences to accept applicants who are taking prescription drugs that curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms, like Suboxone or methadone. But resistance is strong. [Oklahoma Watch]

(Capitol Update) Three priorities for criminal justice reform: There’s a growing consensus that “criminal justice reform” should be an important part of the change we need in Oklahoma. It would free up funds for other priorities like mental health and education. It would blunt the need for new spending for prisons. And it would stop the needless disruption of the lives of thousands of offenders whose families — and society — would be better served by their remaining in the community for treatment or rehabilitation. [OK Policy]

Defense to appeal judge’s decision prohibiting argument that troopers may be at fault in OHP lieutenant’s car-chase: Public defenders intend to appeal a judge’s decision that prohibits them from arguing state troopers may be at fault — not the defendant — for the death of a Oklahoma Highway Patrol lieutenant in a high-speed chase. A scheduled court hearing was canceled Monday after Judge Jeff Virgin rendered his decision in an Oct. 9 court filing. [Tulsa World]

New OSBI unit to tackle more than 1,200 Oklahoma cold cases: More than 1,200 murder or missing persons cases in Oklahoma that have gone cold since 1950. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation wants to reduce that number. On Nov. 1, the OSBI will open a new Cold Case Unit. The OSBI chose 1950 as a cut-off year based on the likelihood that suspects in the crimes are still alive. [NewsOK ????]

Some Oklahoma school support staffers work extra jobs just to keep up: Carla Burton wakes up every weekday at 4 a.m. to drive Lyft and Uber. Then, after she drives for about an hour and a half in the early hours, she heads back home to get her daughter ready for school. At 7 a.m., Burton starts her “real job” as an administrative assistant at Star Spencer High School in Oklahoma City. [KOSU]

Walkouts led to big wins for red-state teachers. So why are they still struggling?: When teachers walked out this spring, they won. In red state after red state, intractable Republican governors signed overdue pay raises and pension fixes. The narrative that emerged from the walkouts is a triumphant one, and for good reason. But older realities persist. Months later, as the euphoria fades and the grind of another academic year sets in, teachers in walkout states are still struggling. [Intelligencer]

Adam Kupetsky: More education funding can make Oklahoma’s public schools great again: I regularly run through Gathering Place and love to hear the sound of children playing in the remarkable playgrounds, even through my headphones blaring loud, inspirational music. I think about those kids and how they will grow up. Some will make it to a good life, others will struggle and still others may not even make it to adulthood. I think about what it will take to make sure that all of them can have good lives. [Adam Kupetsky / Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Paying teachers more helps by attracting great teachers to work here and retain those we already have. But it’s not enough. A 30-student class with a great teacher will still include students who aren’t getting the attention they need to thrive.”

-Adam Kupetsky, member of the Tulsa World’s Community Advisory Board [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Uninsured rate for low-income working-age adults in rural Oklahoma, 2015-2016. The US average was 26%.

[Georgetown Center for Children and Families]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

With flu season nearly here, medical experts warn that Trump’s immigration policy is a public health threat: Leading academics on public health across the country agree that, while the administration’s rule apparently aims to penalize non-citizen American residents for using public-health facilities, all Americans stand to suffer. “The change in the public charge policy for immigrants has potential to further discourage immigrants from accessing important health-care and public-health services, which puts all of society as a disadvantage, especially when it comes to infectious diseases or conditions that are easily managed in primary care but can end up resulting in costly emergency room visits,” says Lisa Goldman Rosas, a health policy professor at Stanford University. [Pacific Standard]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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