Young Oklahomans Determined To Bring Fresh Ideas To Legislature
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - While state lawmakers say they spared education from any budget cuts next year, the numbers say otherwise.
Lawmakers bragged about keeping education funding the same when they passed the budget proposal, but lawmakers simply robbed Peter to pay Paul.
Take the textbook fund for example - lawmakers just shifted tens of million dollars from there to pay for education.
And, they did the same things to the alternative education budget.
One Oklahoma superintendent says, no matter how lawmakers spin the education budget, his district will still be more than $1 million short when school starts in the fall.
The state's failing education system is one reason why young people are running for office this election season.
Macy Gleason, 21, and Kyle Hilbert, 22 went to OSU and are now running for office to represent the people of District 29 right after graduating.
Gleason, a Democrat, is finishing up her studies at OSU to be a teacher, but before stepping into the classroom, she wants her voice heard in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
"Education is my passion. Students are important to us. Students are our future, and that is a top priority in my campaign," she said.
Hilbert is challenging her on the Republican ticket. He's also an OSU grad and student government president.
"I think it's important that we defend against overreach. I think it's important that we diversify our economy without abandoning the energy sector that got us here. I think it's important to remember that government doesn't create jobs," he said.
To run for the Oklahoma House of Representatives you have to be 21 years old, both are just old enough.
Hilbert wants to make sure there's an environment that creates more jobs. Gleason is focusing on education reform.
Gleason said, "It's interesting that we have young people running for this position, and I think it shows how important our education system is."
"Now, of all times, is when we need fresh perspective and new ideas, so I think it's great. On both sides of the isle we've got people that are young wanting to step up and get involved in politics," said Hilbert.
Gleason has a challenger in the June 28th Democratic primary, Rick Parris. The district encompasses west Tulsa County and most of Creek County.