I’ve been an Oklahoman since I was 12. My dad, an electrician, moved our family here in 1975 for an opportunity to get a good paying job at JEM Engineering and Manufacturing Co. After many years of saving and hard work, my dad went on to buy the company and realize his dream of owning a business. I learned a lot from him about leadership and entrepreneurship. But more than anything, I learned from both of my parents, how to stand up for what is right.
Throughout my life, I’ve valued hard work and perseverance. When I was a child, with the help of committed teachers, I worked to overcome the challenges of living with dyslexia and now am proud to be an advocate for dyslexia awareness. As a young adult, I faced the uncertainty of dropping out of college, only to later graduate at the top of my class at Texas Christian University with a degree in education. I remember the stress of supporting a young family and also, after years of sacrifice, the pride of seeing my business flourish.
My husband Jerry and I have four grown children who all live here in Oklahoma. We raised our family in Tulsa where I owned a small business, served our church and community, and leaned into my calling as an educator.
In 2012, I was grateful to be appointed to serve on the Oklahoma State Board of Education. This position offered a closeup look at how our public education system had become demoralized and underfunded. I knew Oklahoma families deserved better, so I resolved to fight for our teachers and our students, and stepped away from my business, Kumon Math and Reading Centers (Tulsa), to run for public office.
There is much more work to do.
Just like how our Oklahoma kids need access to exceptional schools, their parents and grandparents need access to quality, affordable health care. Divisive politicians are standing in the way – on education and health care, on diversifying our economy and improving our infrastructure.
I know what it takes to move Oklahoma forward. It’s about respecting each other, and finding common ground. I’m running for governor of Oklahoma to represent everyone.
Let’s do this together.