The Weekly Wonk September 21, 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, we examined new Census Bureau data and found Oklahoma’s poverty rate declined only slightly from 2012 to 2013, and that median incomes have yet to reach pre-recession levels. Policy Director Gene Perry was quoted in the Tulsa World’s coverage of the new data.

We explained Oklahoma’s broken electoral system and reviewed implications that the Governor’s office may be willing to restart criminal justice reform efforts. A guest blog post discussed how new domestic violence assessments performed by police could save Oklahoma women’s lives.

On this week’s PolicyCast, we talked about the new Census data, controversy over special needs students and newly released A-F grades for schools, the health of Oklahoman people and democracy, and more. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

In his Journal Record column this week, Executive Director David Blatt shared the story of a conservative, wealthy businessman’s reasoning behind supporting a minimum wage increase. KWGS watched a presentation Blatt gave on Oklahoma’s health issues and concluded that the state has a long way to go. 

In our Editorial of the Week, The Tahlequah Daily Press wrote that comments by state Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) are advancing unfounded hatred and suspicion against Oklahoma’s Muslims.

Quote of the week:

“Politicians like to talk about our low unemployment, but it’s clear that a huge number of families are working hard but not getting ahead. As long as Oklahoma continues to block minimum wage increases, underfund education and refuse billions in federal funds to expand health coverage, it’s not going to get any easier to move up the economic ladder.”

– Oklahoma Policy Institute Policy Director Gene Perry, speaking about new Census Bureau data showing 1 in 6 Oklahomans lived in poverty in 2013 (Source:

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the day:

  • 354 – Canadian County’s ranking out of 3,135 U.S. counties in a New York Times analysis of the least and most difficult places to live in the country, the best ranking of any Oklahoma county.
  • 92 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma women killed by men in 2012 whose killer was someone they knew. A new report ranks Oklahoma 3rd in the US for the rate of women killed by men.
  • 281,000 – Number of the Oklahoma children whose parents lacked secure employment in 2012, 30 percent of all kids in the state.
  • 65.5 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma pregnant women who receive first trimester prenatal care. The national average is 73.1 percent.
  • 16.8% – Percentage of Oklahomans in poverty in 2013, according to data released by the Census Bureau yesterday.

See previous Numbers of the Day 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.

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