The Weekly Wonk: The racial wealth gap, military food insecurity, who doesn’t vote, and more

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

On the OK Policy Blog, Policy Analyst and Oklahoma Assets Network Coordinator DeVon Douglass highlighted the persistence of the racial wealth gap. In a guest blog post, Effie Craven of the Oklahoma Food Banks called for greater resources to be put towards veteran and military food insecurity.

Executive Director David Blatt discussed who doesn’t vote, and why. In his Journal Record column, Blatt examined small signs of change in the election outcomes. We released a statement on Tuesday night calling for lawmakers to take responsibility for school funding. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis suggested that the indictment of Supt. Joy Hofmeister highlights the need for campaign finance reform.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt appeared on Studio Tulsa, where he discussed Tuesday’s elections. Blatt shared election takeaways in a Tulsa World article. Blatt spoke to Oklahoma Watch about effects of SQ 779’s failure to pass. Prior to the election, Blatt spoke with NewsOK about the interest around the State Questions, and with Oklahoma Watch about the odds the State Questions would pass. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board quoted our statement on SQ 779’s failure

Policy Director Gene Perry and OCPA CEO Dave Bond spoke about the State Questions with the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce. Julie Couch of the Stillwater News Press cited OK Policy analysis in her discussion of the election. The Ada News cited OK Policy on the 2017 Legislative session.

Weekly What’s That

Supplemental Appropriation

A supplemental appropriation is funding approved by the Legislature in the middle of a fiscal year, in addition to funds already provided in that year’s initial state budget. Supplemental appropriations generally are made to cover emergencies or unanticipated mid-year budget shortfalls within an agency or other government entity.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“Three magnitude 5s in one year is unprecedented in California, let alone Oklahoma — and Alaska for that matter. It’s just an incredible number of moderate magnitude-5-sized earthquakes. Especially given that the next previous one (in Oklahoma) was in 2011 and before that the 1950s.”

-Daniel McNamara, a research geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

This outcome isn’t a sign that Oklahomans don’t care about teachers, or about education, or that they’re OK with the status quo. None of that is true. Instead, the result is a message that voters simply didn’t like this proposal, and that they expect lawmakers to produce a pay raise plan of their own and advance reform ideas to improve our schools.

Numbers of the Day

  • 23.2% – Percentage of Oklahoma children with at least one Adverse Childhood Experience, 2011-2012
  • 126 – State legislative races in Oklahoma in 2016, 39 of which had only one candidate
  • 1,451,056 – Total votes cast in the Presidential election in Oklahoma in 2016
  • 22.1% – Percentage of Oklahoma families with children who were not able to afford food sometime in the prior year (2014-2015), 14th highest in the US
  • 48.8% – Percent of Oklahoma parents who indicated reading to their child every day, 2011-2012. This outpaces the the national rate of 47.9%

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Voters With Disabilities Fight For More Accessible Polling Places [NPR]
  • 27 charts that will change how you think about the American economy [Vox]
  • How States Have Sabotaged Obamacare [Slate]
  • How America’s criminal justice system became the country’s mental health system [Vox]
  • Seven things you should know about childhood poverty [Urban Institute]


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.

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