The Weekly Wonk November 16, 2014

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, we offered some suggestions for the Governor’s second-term agenda. We crunched the numbers and found that Oklahoma failed to make gains in electing women and people of color in this month’s elections. In his weekly Capitol Update, Steve Lewis predicted changes in House leadership in the upcoming session.

Following up on a previous post on the topic, we showed how the US Postal Service could return to profitability while meeting a huge need in many Oklahoma communities. A post in our Neglected Oklahoma series examined an Oklahoma woman’s struggles to avoid homelessness. We’ve written before about why Oklahoma needs long-term solutions for homelessness.

On the OK PolicyCast, we feature an informal with the Oklahoma Sustainability Network‘s Montelle Clark on the pros and cons of Oklahoma’s various energy sources – including coal, natural gas, geothermal, and wind energy. Clark delivered the talk to students at the 2014 Summer Policy Institute. We also discuss the week’s headlines. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

On Tuesday, Dr. Lawrence Jacobs of the University of Minnesota spoke about the future of the Affordable Care Act in the aftermath of Republican gains in the 2014 mid-term elections to a lunchtime audience at the Jim Thorpe Association and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. The talk was presented by Oklahoma Scholars Strategy Network and Oklahoma Policy Institute. His presentation is available here. NewsOK’s coverage of Dr. Jacob’s talk can be found here. The Red Dirt Report covered the event here.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt argued that Oklahoma seems to have given up on state elections. The Oklahoman Editorial Board weighed in on our recommendations to restore health to our democracy. Our examination of elections in Oklahoma can be found here. In our Editorial of the Week, the Tulsa World discussed how state budget cuts are set to eliminate important juvenile justice services and make government more inefficient.

Quote of the week:

“The sense of ‘Grab your pitchfork, and let’s take out the Affordable Care Act,’ that’s no longer there. As people get these benefits, as we move to 50 million people covered, knowledge about the program goes up, and it becomes less about Obamacare and this very abstract polarized headache called health care reform, and more about, ‘Wow, my kid’s going to get health insurance coverage after she leaves home.’”

-Dr. Lawrence Jacobs, a health care policy expert speaking at an event hosted by OK Policy and the Oklahoma Scholars Strategy Network on the future of health care reform (Source:

See Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the day:

  • $251 million – How much Oklahoma’s spending on incarceration increased from 1986 to 2013, adjusted for inflation. Over that period, Oklahoma’s spending on incarceration increased 120 percent.
  • $13.41 – Federal funds that would be invested in Oklahoma for every $1 of state money spent if the state were to expand health coverage to low-income Oklahomans.
  • 11,418 – Number of children found to be victims of abuse and/or neglect in Oklahoma in 2013.
  • 22.9% – Poverty rate for African-Americans in Oklahoma, nearly double the white poverty rate.
  • 40,665 – Number of seniors who received meals through statewide nutrition sites in 2013.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What we’re reading:


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.