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Staff

Executive Director David Blatt

IMG_1348David Blatt helped found OK Policy in 2008 and became the organization’s  Executive Director in 2010. David’s work involves conducting research, writing issue briefs and blog posts, and giving public presentations on state budget and tax policy, poverty, health care, and various other subjects. He writes a weekly column, Prosperity Policy, that appears in the Journal Record.  David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. David previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Patty Hipsher, a special education teacher in Broken Arrow, and their son, Noah. 

Policy Staff

Policy Director / Health Care Policy Analyst Carly Putnam

Carly joined OK Policy in January of 2014. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern. A Kansas City native, Carly graduated from the University of Tulsa in December 2013 with a BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. She is graduate of the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking program and  The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa. She previously served as board president for United Campus Ministry at the University of Tulsa. At OK Policy, Carly supervises policy staff and conducts research focusing on  health care and the safety net.

Economic Opportunity Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison

Courtney Cullison joined OK Policy in March 2017 as a policy analyst focusing on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

Education Policy Analyst Rebecca Fine

Rebecca Fine joined OK Policy in July 2018 as the education policy analyst. Originally from New York, Rebecca began her career in education in 2009 as an Oklahoma teacher. Rebecca proudly comes from a family of educators, and spent four years teaching middle school in Tulsa and Union Public Schools. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science from the University of Rochester and received an M.A. in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Damion Shade

Damion joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in July of 2018 as the criminal justice policy analyst. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and has lived in Oklahoma since the late 90s. Prior to joining OK Policy, he was an educator at Jenks Public Schools and the Oklahoma School for the Performing Arts. He’s written education and justice features as a contributing writer for the Tulsa Voice since 2016, and he was awarded best Education and General News Reporting features by the Society for Professional Journalists in 2017. Damion earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Oral Roberts University and started several voter registration and political advocacy initiatives during his time on campus. He lives in Tulsa with his wife Rachel.

Mental Health Policy Analyst / Fellowship Coordinator Lauren Turner

Lauren Turner joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in October 2018 as the mental health policy analyst and coordinator of the Mental Health Policy Fellowship. She is a native Tulsan who has spent the entirety of her career working in social services in Northeastern Oklahoma, including work in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, the HIV/AIDS community, and anti-trafficking efforts in the Tulsa area. She was a research assistant and Knee Center for Strong Families Scholar at the University of Oklahoma. She received a B.S in Family and Human Services from John Brown University in 2010 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2016. She became a Licensed Master Social Worker in July 2016.

Outreach Staff

Outreach & Legislative Director Bailey Perkins

Bailey PerkinsA native of Lawton, Bailey Perkins is the Outreach and Legislative Director for the Oklahoma Policy Institute. As Outreach & Legislative Director, she represents OK Policy at the State Capitol during the legislative session and works with advocacy groups and coalitions statewide to help advance OK Policy’s agenda for broad-based prosperity. Prior to OK Policy, Bailey spent two years as a state policy fellow through the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Through her fellowship experience at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, she researched, analyzed and advocated for education and fiscal policies that benefit low to moderate income families. Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history as a Clara Luper Full Tuition Scholar from Oklahoma City University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. She is a founding Co-Director of New Leaders Council Oklahoma, serves as the advocacy chair Oklahoma Women’s Coalition’s board of directors, and is a member of YNPN of Oklahoma City. Bailey is also the State Connection (or civic engagement) Coordinator for the Midwestern Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a Class XIII member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL (Linking Oklahoma’s Young Adult Leaders) program. This year, she was recognized as an Ion Magazine NextGen under 30 in Policy and Public Service.

Outreach & Advocacy Coordinator Sabine Brown

Sabine joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in January of 2018. She grew up in Germany but has called Oklahoma home since 1998. Before joining Oklahoma Policy Institute she served as the Oklahoma Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Sabine earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Science from the University of Oklahoma and was a physician assistant prior to discovering advocacy work. Sabine enjoys working with grassroots advocates to work towards a fair and prosperous Oklahoma. She lives in Bixby with her husband, Eric, and their two children.

Communications Staff

Strategy & Communications Director / KIDS COUNT Coordinator Gene Perry

Gene Perry joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism. At OK Policy, Gene works to develop strategic goals for the organization and ensure that projects are effectively advancing those goals. He also oversees design, messaging, and communications strategies for OK Policy publications and coordinates OK Policy’s work as the Oklahoma-affiliate of the KIDS COUNT Network. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, is a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and has chaired the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership, a nationwide network of state fiscal policy think tanks. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Kara Joy.

Communications Associate Jessica Vazquez

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, she immigrated to Oklahoma with her family at a young age and obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma, a community organization dedicated to advocating and empowering immigrant youth in the state.

Operations Staff

Operations & Development Director Shiloh Kantz

Shiloh joined OK Policy as the Office Manager in February of 2010.  She is a wife and mother of three children, Grantham, Ethan and Delilah and a member of the Cherokee Nation.  Prior to joining OK Policy, she worked as a controller and office manager for an Oklahoma small business group.  Shiloh was promoted to Director of Operations and Development in June of 2015. She oversees all internal operations, event planning, and fundraising activities. Her work at OK Policy has tuned her in to what is happening in our state and fostered a drive to play a more active part in it.  Before joining the staff, she felt she was a suburban wife and mother who had no interest in state government because it did not affect her.  She now realizes state government affects all residents, big and small, old and young. 

Operations & Development Associate Andrea McNeil

Andrea joined OK Policy in June of 2018. She is a lifelong Tulsan, wife, mother of two children, and member of the Cherokee Nation. Prior to working at OK Policy, Andrea held positions in accounting and finance at the Tulsa Community Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa Opera, and Riverfield Country Day School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northeastern State University and is working towards her Master’s degree in Organizational Dynamics at OU-Tulsa. Andrea has recently become more involved in local advocacy groups such as Together Oklahoma and is passionate about seeing education, health care, and safety net programs improve for a strong and sustainable Oklahoma.

Operations & Development Associate Kourtni Cain

Kourtni Cain joined OK Policy in September 2018. Previously, she worked for The University of Tulsa in their Development office. Kourtni received a B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in 2013. As part of the Operations Team, she assists with fundraising and special events. Kourtni’s areas of policy interest are immigration, international relations, poverty/healthcare, and women’s health. Always ready for a good debate, she volunteers with the Tulsa Debate League. In her spare time, Kourtni enjoys spending time with her husband Paul, her two dogs and three cats, and travelling.

Open Justice Oklahoma Staff

Open Justice Oklahoma Director Ryan Gentzler

Ryan Gentzler joined OK Policy in January of 2016 as a policy analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

Justice Data Analyst Ashley Harvey

Ashley Harvey joined OK Policy as the justice data analyst for Open Justice Oklahoma in September 2018. A native Oklahoman, she received her B.S. and M.S. from Oklahoma State University-Tulsa in Human Development and Family Science. She previously worked as a research assistant for OSU’s Center for Family Resilience evaluating various community and grant funded projects. As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, she developed and implemented a family strengthening initiative within Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center. Ashley is an alumna of OK Policy’s 2017 Summer Policy Institute. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from OSU, where her research interests include family and community impacts of the justice system. She lives in the Tulsa area with her husband, Bryan, and their two children.

Mental Health Policy Fellows

Mental Health Policy Fellow Maggie den Harder

Margaret (Maggie) den Harder obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology from Seattle Pacific University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Originally from the Pacific Northwest area of Washington state, Maggie has called Tulsa home for the past 8 years. Since living in Tulsa, Maggie has worked in the legal field, higher education administration, and the nonprofit sector as well as actively volunteering in the community. Maggie also recently spent time at the City of Tulsa as a consultant and wrote the content for Resilient Tulsa, an action-oriented strategy designed to better equity in Tulsa. Through her work, community involvement, and personal experiences, Maggie is interested in the intersection of the law and mental health and addiction treatment issues, preventative and diversion programs, and maternal mental health, particularly post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis. While working at Oklahoma Policy Institute as a research intern, Maggie further developed an interest in family dynamics and stability, economic security-related stress, and intergenerational trauma.

Mental Health Policy Fellow Brittany Hayes

Brittany Hayes joined OK Policy in October of 2018. She is a licensed attorney, having graduated with highest honor from the University of Tulsa College of Law in May of 2018. Brittany earned her Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in May of 2011 before teaching history and coaching debate at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs. Brittany’s passion for policy work and advocacy reignited while working with the Community Advocacy Clinic, Immigrant Rights Project, and Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office. Her research and policy interests include mental health, criminal justice, education, and the problems at the intersection of all three areas.