Joy Hofmeister is running for governor because she knows firsthand how the values of faith, family, education and hard work can bring people together to improve our lives. As state superintendent of public instruction, Joy has already led the fight for better education in Oklahoma. Now, Joy is prepared to stand up to both parties to strengthen our schools, get our economy on track and ensure Oklahoma is a place our kids will stay and put down roots.
When Joy was a child, her father, an electrician, moved the family to Oklahoma for a good-paying job at a manufacturing company. Joy and her two sisters grew up in Tulsa where they learned about hard work from their dad. More than anything, Joy learned from both her parents to stand up for what is right.
That’s why Joy stood up to Janet Barresi, an incumbent within her own party, to run for state superintendent in 2014. For Joy, it has always been about kids – not politics – and doing what is right. Over and over again, Joy has battled against extremism and partisan politicians whose policies are dead wrong for Oklahoma.
Joy has always put faith and family first. When her husband Jerry was attending Baptist seminary, Joy dropped out of college to support Jerry’s call into ministry. Then, ever determined, she returned to school and graduated at the top of her class.
The path to a college degree wasn’t easy for Joy. She struggled with reading and dyslexia as a child. Joy often shares that it was her school teachers who believed in her and pushed her to keep trying – and that support made all the difference. Joy believes every Oklahoma child should be surrounded by strong, committed teachers. To this day, that determination has driven her to help Oklahoma kids succeed.
For 15 years, Joy owned a successful small business working with thousands of Oklahoma families. She understands that Oklahoma needs a governor who doesn’t just cater to big corporations, but stands beside small business owners, farmers and ranchers, and workers across the state.
As chair of the state’s CareerTech board, she has championed improvements in workforce readiness. As governor, Joy will work hand in hand with business leaders to address worker shortages and ensure our economy works for all Oklahomans. In her role as state superintendent, Joy also chairs the State Board of Education, is one of five Commissioners of the Land Office, serves on the state Board of Equalization, and dozens of other boards and commissions.
Schools were in free fall when Joy became state superintendent, but they began seeing key improvements in just a few years under her leadership. Just as Oklahoma’s children deserve access to exceptional schools, their parents and grandparents deserve the freedom to access quality, affordable health care and greater economic opportunities. Self-dealing politicians are standing in the way – on education and health care, on diversifying our economy, and improving our infrastructure. There is much more work to do. And it’s time for a governor who knows how to get things done.
Joy and Jerry have four grown children and recently welcomed their first grandchild, Willa! All of Joy’s children live here in Oklahoma, a blessing she will work to make possible for every Oklahoma family.