Senator Mary Brown Boren

2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 514, Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Phone: 405-521-5553,  email: Mary.Boren@oksenate.gov

Good Neighbor Platform

Restore Trust

Oklahomans are good enough and work hard to have quality schools, jobs, health care and roads.  On March 31, 2014 I was trained as a teacher with Norman Public Schools to join a contingency of teachers, students, parents, business leaders, professors and thousands of others from all over the state to rally at the state capital to fully fund education. Sadly, our voices were ignored by a majority of lawmakers in 2014, and through 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Our hyper-partisan majority has continuously failed to fully fund core services and public schools.  It is shocking that a majority of state leaders have failed to represent the voice of Oklahomans.  A mass exodus of Oklahoma teachers to surrounding states soon followed, and a high number of non-certified teachers are now filling our classrooms. 

Oklahomans need lawmakers who will hear, understand, and respond to our voices, instead of partisan politicians. Your support of this campaign will unite the voices of Oklahomans to build a better Oklahoma for Oklahomans.   

Support Schools and Stabilize Budget

Stable school funding is critical towards inviting and keeping higher paying jobs, and grow our economy. Oklahomans are hard working enough, smart enough, and compassionate enough for leaders to honestly listen and decide upon a fair and stable way to fund our schools.  

 

After years of protesting, calling, writing, emailing, and meeting with current leaders, our voices have been ignored. Teachers have gotten the message loud and clear that their effort is not valued by a majority of state legislators, and too many have left. The minority of leaders have not been enough to stop the demise of our public schools.

College students realize that lowering the personal cost of university education is not a priority.  The Oklahoma Promise Scholarship program is constantly under threat.  Oklahoma supplemental grants for low-income college students has been reduced.  This neglect in leadership and funding has lowered the number of Oklahomans with college degrees.

Oklahoma's landmark education bill, House Bill 1017, was enacted due to the vocal demands of teachers and parents, and the strong leadership of Governor Henry Bellmon.  For a few years our progress continued, until partisan politics and the recession of 2008 greatly cut back our accomplishments.  Even as our state and local economy rebounded, too many of our leaders failed to protect and restore the funds needed to keep our schools viable and successful.

With better leaders, we can build a better Oklahoma.

Healthcare Platform

Oklahoma's physicians, nurses, and health care providers are skilled and committed to providing the best care possible. Unfortunately, the politics surrounding the insurance industry, the demands for profits, and the instability of federal funding of medicaid and medicare have diminished Oklahoma's health care system. Women in Oklahoma have been made more vulnerable by health care restrictions imposed upon us through the majority party that the prevent women from having medical care and birth control needed to maintain control of our reproductive lives. There are many solutions proposed to turn this problem around, but we must elect leaders who are committed to setting aside partisan loyalty to leverage federal funds and fairly consider solutions offered by local health care providers, and Oklahoma based clinics and hospitals.

Jobs, Economy, and Environment Platform

Oklahomans are the hardest working people in America, and deserve a fair chance to compete, provide for their families to enjoy living in Oklahoma. Experts agree that job training and retraining, and education are essential to attracting high paying jobs to Oklahoma.

 

We need leaders who are focussed on solutions instead of political ambitions fueled by subsidies for Oil and Gas billionaires.  Real solutions will leverage business opportunities with the training available through our Career Technology Centers, public schools, and colleges.  Access to high speed internet in our rural communities is critical to keeping retraining opportunities open for all Oklahomans.  Our industry and training centers can work together to increase job skills, college degrees, and attract and keep jobs into Oklahoma.  This cooperation requires leaders who are ready to build a better Oklahoma, and stop political bickering.  

Sustainable sources of energy like wind and solar have brought in newer and higher paying jobs as the oil and gas industry as laid off hundreds of workers. As State Senator I will continue raising awareness, and promote sustainable energy to preserve economic opportunities, and clean air, water and soil. 

Criminal Justice Reform Platform

Oklahomans are more likely to be incarcerated than people of any other state.  Our limited access to legal representation, a heavy reliance on fees and fines to fund our courts and district attorneys, private prisons, and limited access to mental health and drug rehabilitation services all contribute to high incarceration rates.  

By funding core services with stable sources of revenue our dependency on fines and fees to keep our courts open will be reduced. With a commitment to establishing drug and mental health courts, our prison populations will decrease. And by eliminating private prisons, the profit motives to incarcerate Oklahomans will end.  Fees can also be set at levels that low-wage earners can pay, and avoid incarceration for failing to pay their fines.

Oklahomans also need access to high quality legal representation that they can afford.  As State Senator I will work with attorneys to build upon my experience as a pro-bono attorney to make the justice system more available to all Oklahomans.

Civil Rights Enforcement

Oklahomans are all too often victimized by employers and landlords who unlawfully discriminate against minorities which include the protected classes of disability, race, religion, national origin, gender, and sexual orientation. Federal, state, and local protections are often overlooked or made void for lack of effective enforcement. Limited access to legal representation and inadequate accountability within government agencies cause the rights of minorities to be violated.

Oklahomans within our minority communities who are vulnerable to discrimination need laws to be enforced without expending large quantities of time and personal resources to ensure that they are enforced. Oklahomans within our minority communities need access to high quality legal representation that they can afford.  As State Senator I will work with attorneys to build upon my experience as a pro-bono attorney to make the justice system more available to all Oklahomans.

Church and State Relations:

Senate Bill 1140.

Many voters have asked if I would have supported SB 1140. Under this bill, religious agencies could receive public funds for adoption and foster care, while also refusing to serve single parents, divorced parents, same sex parents, or parents with different religions.

 

It is very difficult for teachers, social workers, and health care providers to meet the needs of all children and families in Oklahoma with legislation like SB 1140 because it promotes fear, distrust, and alienation of a wide range children and the families who are caring for them.

 

Through my experience as a school counselor, advocate for early childhood education, and religious children’s leader I learned that young children must FIRST have a close and stable emotional connection with parents to grow as moral and critically thinking people. When children’s full array of physical, mental, intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and ethical needs are met, parents preserve a child's opportunity to become ethically equipped to make individual moral and spiritual decisions in later years. This kind of emotional connection and ethical training can be provided by families that SB 1140 permits to exclude for religious reasons.

 

I am continuously dismayed by the ways my religion (which has provided me great spiritual assurance and family stability) has been used by politicians to stigmatize, bully and alienate many Oklahomans.  

 

I believe SB 1140 unnecessarily perpetuates a distrust of families and children who do not find themselves falling neatly within the dominant view of “family,” which is heavily influenced by christian doctrine. Granted, the expression of this doctrine is protected by the US Constitution. And for a large majority of Oklahomans, the doctrine on sexuality, gender, and marriage is easy to read, comprehend, accept and follow because it does not disrupt their identity, worth, and acceptance.  However, for those within the LGBTQIA community the doctrine is reasonably received as hurtful, contemptuous, and rejecting.

 

Until recently most Oklahomans have been unaware of the intricate matter of identity and sexuality, and how our identity is formed. The experiences of LGBTQIA and their allies have been mostly hidden and unexpressed to avoid the scorn of religious people. As the legal rights of LGBTQIA have advanced in other states and regions, more Oklahomans who were unaware of the experiences of LGBTQIA Oklahomans, are now growing in our understanding and empathy. We are now receiving helpful training and information to consider how we can maintain healthy, respectful, and supportive relationships with one another in our workplaces, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Our growth in this realm is very tender and vulnerable. And I believe SB 1140 threatens our ability to do this, and it troubles me greatly.

 

For these reasons, I would have voted against SB 1140. ~ Mary Brown Boren May 13, 2018

 

{A personal note not related to SB 1140, but my religious perspective}

One’s ability to reconcile christian doctrine with a LGBTQIA identity demands and deserves patience, empathy, understanding, and theological guidance.  I am profoundly grateful for the ministers and theologians who are willing to provide that reconciliation. I’m not an expert on that realm of Christian theology. But, I am personally committed to the command that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves even our LGBTQIA neighbors.  Even more so, I am grounded upon one central doctrine of Christianity --  nothing about our humanity is beyond the reach of the grace of Jesus Christ to reconcile our spirit to God, not even our sexual or gender identity. Romans 8:38-39.

Reproductive Rights of Women:

When discussing this issue with pro-choice voters and pro-life voters in Senate District 16 the broad consensus is that Roe v. Wade effectively balances the interests of the woman, her un-born child, and the state.  Roe v. Wade is accepted as well settled precedent and protects the privacy, dignity, and moral agency of women.

 

Many non-religious and religious views impact the question of when life begins, and when is it morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy.  Because the Constitution sets a boundary on the government to decide and enforce which religious view should be enforced, it is correct to treat the issue of reproductive rights as an issue of separation of church and state, as well as an issue of Constitutional privacy, and equality of women to exert control over our reproductive lives.  The voters in Senate District 16 expect these boundaries to be respected in their laws. 

 

Voters in Senate District 16 have also encouraged me to advocate for policies that reduce the crisis in many pregnancies to reduce abortion in Oklahoma. I believe that voters can trust the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party to provide what women in crisis pregnancy need. These Democratic “pro-life policies” include: access to birth control, sex education, access to health for young women, women and children, high quality and affordable child care, domestic violence prevention and prosecution, pregnancy discrimination prevention and prosecution, college affordability, adult education and retraining, mental health care, drug addiction recovery, medical research to reduce health crisis for pregnant women, children’s health insurance, affordable housing, WIC, TANF, EIC, SNAP benefits, child support enforcement and collection. All of these policies are to remove the crisis that too many pregnant women face.