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22 Apr
0

Democratic Leader Responds to Governor’s Plans to Reopen

Communications & Public Affairs
April 22, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 [email protected]

Democratic Leader Responds to Governor’s Plans to Reopen

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) released the following statement after Governor Kevin Stitt announced plans to begin reopening businesses.

“The governor’s decision to reopen Oklahoma businesses early comes from a place of fear, and it is understandable for him to be worried about the long-term economic effects of this pandemic. However, in this time of uncertainty, it is crucial not to make decisions hastily and out of fear but out of fact.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued clear guidelines on when states should begin reopening, and at this moment, Oklahoma does not meet those criteria. Furthermore, since the beginning of this crisis, we have failed to administer proper testing or tracing that is needed to ensure Oklahoma meets the CDC guidelines. Reopening without proper data and against the scientific community puts Oklahoma workers in a dangerous position to have to choose between their safety and their job. We urge the governor to reconsider until better data is available.”

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21 Apr
0

House Democrats Letter: Public Money Should Go to Public Schools

Communications & Public Affairs
April 21, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 [email protected]

House Democrats Letter: Public Money Should Go to Public Schools

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus has sent a letter urging Gov. Kevin Stitt to commit federal stimulus dollars to public education.

The letter comes after it was reported that Oklahoma will receive $40 million in stimulus money for education. The stimulus package gives the governor discretion to spend the money on public or private institutions.

“We wrote this letter to make sure the governor understands not only our position but the position of Oklahoma’s education community,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “700,000 Oklahoma students are served by our public schools. Public money that is earmarked for education should first and foremost go toward improving the educational opportunities for these children.”

The Democratic Caucus letter pointed to different ways the money could be spent for the betterment of Oklahoma students. The list included support for teachers spending money on technology, maintenance and infrastructure, protecting teacher employment, special education resources, and additional social workers and counselors in our education system.

“The needs of our public school system are many,” Provenzano said. “As a public school teacher, it would be incomprehensible to see the governor take public funds and give them to private schools.”

The governor made comments at a recent press conference that he saw an opportunity to use the money to back fill scholarship programs that benefit private schools.

“Between talking about cuts to agencies and now sending public tax dollars to private schools, it is becoming harder and harder to see the governor as an advocate for government services,” said Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman). “As lawmakers, we are constitutionally charged with adequately funding public education. In the face of next year’s $1.3 billion revenue shortfall, it would be insulting to many Oklahomans if this money was funneled to private schools.”

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MEDIA: You can find the entire letter here: House Democratic Caucus Letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt

20 Apr
0

Minority Leader Comments on BOE Meeting

Communications & Public Affairs
April 20, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 [email protected]

Minority Leader Comments on BOE Meeting

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) released the following statement today after the Oklahoma Board of Equalization declared a nearly $417 million revenue failure for fiscal year 2020:

“The uncertainty in the oil market and our future with COVID-19 makes this a difficult time for a lot of Oklahomans,” Minority Leader Emily Virgin said. “These numbers reflect the lives and livelihoods of many Oklahomans. As this unfolds, our caucus feels a deep responsibility to protect government services that will be vital to supporting our constituents.”

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17 Apr
0

DNC on Rise in Anti-Asian Racism Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

DNC on Rise in Anti-Asian Racism Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

DNC Chair Tom Perez, DNC CEO Seema Nanda, and DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng released the following statement:

“Our world is in crisis. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people have lost their jobs, their savings, and even their lives. In this time of crisis, we must come together as Americans. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has stoked the flames of racism by insisting on calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus’ and equating Chinatowns in the United States with China. Words matter. Words have consequences. And words like Donald Trump’s are dangerous. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a disturbing rise in racist acts against Asian American communities. Across the country, Asian Americans are being threatened on sidewalks, shouted at in grocery stores, and vilified online. And in Texas, a man even stabbed two Asian American children and their father, in what researchers expect to be just the beginning of a wave of hate crimes. This must end. Federal agencies like the CDC and DOJ must work to stop anti-Asian sentiment, and every member of Congress must denounce Trump’s deliberate attempts to stoke bigotry and hate against Asian Americans. Democrats stand as and with the Asian American community against racism and bigotry in any form, and we will continue fighting for an America that treats all people with dignity and respect.”

15 Apr
0

Democratic Caucus Letter Urges Governor to Protect Grocery Store Workers

Communications & Public Affairs
April 15, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 [email protected]

Democratic Caucus Letter Urges Governor to Protect Grocery Store Workers

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt today urging him to temporarily declare grocery store, food retail, and food processing workers as emergency personnel in response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

A temporary designation would provide needed relief for the many Oklahomans working to protect Oklahoma’s access to groceries.

“This simple designation is about protecting hard-working Oklahomans,” said Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC). “Oklahomans, who in this situation, have risked their health to provide groceries to their community.”

The temporary first responder or emergency personnel designation would bring funding for the following: two weeks paid leave, childcare, medical testing for the Coronavirus should it be needed, treatment for Coronavirus should it be needed, and greater access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The governor has spoken several times about how Oklahoma’s supply chain is in good shape,” said Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC). “He is able to say that because of the hard work of the dedicated men and women—like my dad who is a grocery worker—working around the clock in our community grocery stores. We sent this letter because it’s time to do our job as lawmakers and protect them.”

Providing this designation would benefit all Oklahomans.

“Our food supply chain is only as strong as the workers that keep it going,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman). “Our hope is that Governor Stitt won’t view this action as opposition but instead an idea to protect Oklahoma’s most vital assets – its people. ”

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LETTER: Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus Letter Urging Governor To Protect Grocery Stores.

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