Over the last few days, I've been talking with friends, family and colleagues about why I'm running. I keep hearing myself say "I want to hear what Oklahomans are thinking and feeling."
In this picture of the 2014 rally, thousands of teachers, parents, business leaders, students left our everyday lives to voice our concerns. But there weren't enough ears and hearts to listen, understand and advocate for us.
Our current political system pushes platforms and talking points above the wishes vocalized by voters. A majority of our legislators are advocates for political platforms and donors, but not Oklahoma voters.
A good legal advocate is much like a good school counselor. It is important to set aside personal bias and perspective to listen in a way that amplifies the full voice of others. Impartial listening allows and advocate to honor the authority of the person to make decisions.
I've noticed that a handful of politically active folks jockey for position and power, and aren't concerned about understanding and reflecting the concerns of Oklahomans. Instead they are mostly loyal to advancing their ambitions for power, or power for their particular political party. These folks fear I haven't "paid my dues" and ask "Who do you think you are?"
I'm an Oklahoman. I am a public servant, and good neighbor. I am a mother and wife. I am a hard working employee. I am a former school counselor who was pushed out of a career I loved because of the stress and injustice of high stakes testing. I am "teacher-friend" to dozens who've left Norman for higher pay and lower stress. I'm trained to be loyal to the voices of Oklahomans. I'm a child of God. I'm a trustworthy advocate.