Oklahoma Policy Institute has grown a lot in the past few years. From humble beginnings in 2008, we now have a staff of 19, including talented individuals who focus on a wide range of policy issues, intensive data analysis, outreach, communications, events and operations, and more. To give you a better idea of who we are and what we all do, we are running an OK Policy Blog series highlighting our staffers.
For this edition, here’s Outreach & Legislative Director Sabine Brown:
What do you do at OK Policy?
I lead the outreach and legislative advocacy work for OK Policy. I develop issue-based campaigns and work with coalition partners and policymakers. I also oversee our grassroots advocacy efforts through Together Oklahoma. I educate the public on issues we work on through presentations, meetings and social media. I work to engage people in the legislative process and promote effective citizen advocacy.
What’s your favorite thing about doing this work?
The favorite part of my job is when people tell me that they contacted a legislator for the first time, either by email, phone call, or in person. People will often say they were nervous but felt empowered by the experience. When people contact a legislator once, they generally make it a practice to communicate regularly with their legislators about issues they care about. The legislature works best when citizens are communicating to our elected officials about how issues affect them personally. It is my hope that every Oklahoman recognizes the power of their voice.
What would you most like Oklahoma to become a “Top 10 State” in?
We could be doing better in so many areas to ensure Oklahoma is a place where everyone can prosper, but as a mom of two kids in public school, education is often at the forefront of my mind. Over the years, I’ve seen our schools try to meet the needs of more students with less resources. It’s not fair for our children or our teachers. From health and well-being to likelihood of living in poverty, so many of life’s outcomes are closely tied with a person’s education. I hope we will invest in our schools in a way that gives every child the best opportunities in life no matter where they live or their background.
What else should OK Policy’s readers know about you?
I used to be a physician assistant, and I worked in emergency medicine for many years. I got involved in advocacy work volunteering for a gun violence prevention organization. Using my voice and helping other people find theirs was an empowering experience, and I saw how good policy can make our communities better. I knew that I wanted to make that my life’s work so I went back to school and am now working on my Master of Public Administration. Although I’ve had an unconventional career path, I am thankful for my background because it has allowed me to see first hand the barriers people face in both providing and accessing quality health care and the barriers many Oklahomans face in accessing life necessities that many of us may take for granted.