Increasing the Minimum Wage
Connie will fight to increase the state minimum wage in order to close the gender wage gap, fight income inequality, and honor the dignity of hard working Oklahomans. Currently, the minimum wage in Oklahoma is stalled at $7.25/hour.
As your Governor, Connie will fight to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hr, because hard working Oklahomans deserve a minimum wage that allows them to pay rent and utility bills, buy groceries, and have reliable transportation to work.
A $15/hr minimum wage increase helps low-income Oklahomans and their families improve their basic quality of living.
Most Oklahomans who would get a raise are workers under 35-years-old. In addition, the majority of minimum wage workers are women. A $15/hr. minimum wage increase would help expand incomes for nearly 28 million Americans.
At present, a full-time minimum wage worker making $7.25/hr earns barely $14,000 a year. That's more than $4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would lift nearly one million Americans out of poverty. Raising the minimum wage grows our economy, not our unemployment rate.
Nineteen states across the nation— including neighboring Missouri, New Mexico, and Colorado—already have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage.
Connie also believes local municipalities should have authority to raise the minimum wage because she believes local communities offer the best sensible solutions to local problems.
Ensuring Equal Pay for Equal Work
As Governor, Connie will work to close the wage gap between women and men in our state. She will fight to ensure equal pay for equal work.
Since 2001, the wage gap in Oklahoma between women and men has closed.xxiii Unfortunately, that gap closed not only because of modest, increased wages for women, but because of wage losses for men.
Today, although we are 50.5 percent of Oklahoma's population, women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to our male counterparts.
Many Oklahoma families, in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash and post-pandemic 2021, rely on women as the primary caregiver and the sole income earner.
Connie believes Oklahoma's women deserve equal pay for equal work and will fight for nothing less.
Expanding Job Opportunities
Oklahomans work hard. “Labor conquers all things” is our state motto.
Economists define the middle class in Oklahoma as having a yearly income that ranges between $25,000 and $85,000.
But, Oklahoma’s middle class is shrinking, and wages are stagnating. Fuel prices and grocery bills have risen.
Hardworking Oklahomans, women and men alike, are suffering in this sluggish economic, post-pandemic recovery period, even here in “recession-proof” Oklahoma.
Put simply, in the private sector, since the 2008 economic crash, the national economy has added an average of less than 200,000 jobs a month.
That's not enough. That barely puts us back where we were in 2008 before the recession began.xii And, the majority of new jobs are low paying, not the middle-range wage jobs lost in the recovery.
For the past 30 years, U.S. worker productivity has ranked highest in the world. Workers' wages during that same time, however, have not matched that productivity.
In the public sector—from higher education to highway patrol to corrections—Oklahoma’s state workers haven’t seen raises in years. The Merit Protection Commission which ensured fair and equal treatment for state workers was abolished and that's unacceptable.
Finally, women work nearly two-thirds of our country's public sector jobs, particularly as public school teachers. Over the last decade, Oklahoma and states across the country have slashed state budgets for education and public sector jobs, creating unemployment lines and decreased wages for hardworking employees and their families. Our state leadership’s refusal to extend employment benefits beyond the federal expiration date is a firsthand example of our low regard for Oklahomans and our families.
As Governor, Connie will do for Oklahomans and their families what we know works: invest in education and infrastructure spending that spurs jobs and innovation.
If we want to attract businesses to our cities and towns—if we want our rural communities to thrive again, if OKC truly wants be a “big league city,” if Tulsa's renaissance wants to continue, if we want to fight income inequality—then, we have to give Oklahomans the tools to become a modern, skilled, knowledgeable, and healthy workforce.
Parents work better and more confidently when they have safe, affordable childcare. Connie will continue to ensure quality, affordable and accessible childcare for families, including appropriate developmental care for children with special needs. As a parent, former foster parent and grandparent, Connie understands the daunting challenges of quality childcare. As a working foster parent, her family’s childcare challenges grew even more strained, particularly due to cost. She got legislation enacted providing paid childcare for working foster parents in addition to the foster care stipend.
Since then, yearly budget cuts at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to our state's childcare subsidy program have substantially limited access to quality childcare for struggling, low-income, working families.
Research suggests many parents will stop working entirely to qualify for childcare subsidies, pushing families into the welfare system. Other parents will abandon safe, licensed childcare for informal care with friends, siblings or neighbors.
Finally, many licensed childcare providers are small, local businesses. These childcare providers may lose clients who can no longer afford their services, hurting small business owners. Many of these small businesses simply cannot afford to absorb higher co-pay costs.
As Governor, Connie will fight to provide tax breaks for businesses that provide on-site childcare centers and for businesses that help employees find access to safe, affordable childcare services. She’ll work to provide access to childcare for all Oklahoma families, particularly for rural and at-risk urban communities.
As Governor, Connie will prioritize care and resources for our country’s veterans.
Connie is dedicated to Oklahoma’s 303,205 veterans. We don’t send our children to war and into harm’s way unless absolutely necessary, however, when necessary, Oklahomans answer the call to service at levels that surpass most states.
After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with hundreds of thousands of wounded warriors returning home, Connie believes we must focus on the cost of war on our society and on our veterans in particular.
Our veterans deserve a government that supports them and their families before, during and after we send our service members to war. Our country owes a huge debt of gratitude to the brave Americans who put their lives and everything on hold in order to serve and protect our nation and freedom.
As an Oklahoma State Senator, Connie listened to accounts of issues and concerns affecting veterans. They included bureaucratic bungling, health care, homelessness, high suicide, domestic violence and incarceration rates, and lack of access to mental health and rehabilitation services.
Connie authored legislation to create Veterans Courts staffed by people who are sensitive to veterans’ needs.
As Governor, Connie will work to ensure that veterans have access to quality, affordable health care, including both physical and mental health services. She’ll work to provide job training for all veterans as well as reintegration programs for veterans returning from war.
Our debt to our vets is non-negotiable—it’s our government’s role, duty, and responsibility.
Connie will work to ensure veterans have affordable, if not free, college education. She will ensure that Veterans’ emotional and social concerns are handled in ways that don’t put them at risk for incarceration or, even worse, suicide.
Agriculture is a driving economic force in Oklahoma. Oklahoma farmers feed Oklahoma and the nation's families.
Every five years, Congress must re-authorize The Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill built upon re-legalizing and expanding the industrial hemp industry by allowing states where industrial hemp is legal to regulate and process crops for commercialization.
As Oklahoma’s original and only cannabis policy advocate for years, Connie supports industrialization of Hemp, a form of Cannabis that is indigenous to Oklahoma. Representing potentially four times the value of all other forms of cannabis combined, Hemp can enhance the operations of many Oklahoma farmers, especially in the state's eastern/southeastern quadrants.
As Governor, Connie will work to give Oklahoma farmers and their families the support and resources they need to succeed in a 21st Century economy.
Oklahoma is home to over 100,000 LGBTQ citizens.
As Governor, Connie will fight to support hard working Oklahomans, making sure no employer can fire employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. She will work to end housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and reinstate the process for modifying birth certificates to reflect a person’s gender identity.
Families with Disabilities
As Governor, Connie will fight on behalf of Oklahomans with impairments and disabilities. Nearly 60,000 people with developmental disorders live in Oklahoma. Those numbers include young children—3,045 under the age of 18—on the waiting list at DHS’s Developmentally Disabled
Connie will support legislation that allows Oklahomans and Americans with impairments and disabilities to get access to the potentially life-altering services they need, including job preparation, home and community-based services, therapy, and independent living skills.
Families of Faith
A lifelong Christian, Connie knows the importance of protecting religious liberty in our state and nation.
Around the world, people look to America as a place that welcomes, honors and respects those of every faith background.
Connie stands firmly behind each word in the Declaration of Independence, believing “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
That declaration means religious liberty for all Oklahomans—that means that every Oklahoman is free to worship or not
worship, and to define “Creator” however they may choose.
We are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants in the U.S. have always encouraged innovation and helped spur economic growth. Oklahoma is no exception.
Our state’s ancestry groups include everyone from Native American tribes to early African Americans, from German, Irish, Mexican, Dutch, Scottish, French, English, Scandinavian, Latin American and Italian settlers.
As Governor, Connie will work across party lines to honor and celebrate our rich immigrant history. She believes any person who comes to America, adheres to the process for becoming a citizen, and is law-abiding should have a pathway to citizenship.
Connie also supports the Dream Act. Every high school student—including young Oklahomans whose parents are undocumented—should have access to affordable college education that helps them become skilled, productive, civic-minded citizens. Through no fault of their own, these young people were born in the US to parents whose presence was undocumented. We do not visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.
She sponsored legislation to provide a driver license or state ID to undocumented people as an economic security issue. Connie also believes we must develop and enforce border security in ways that are sensible and humane.
Finally, Connie will work to make sure we hold businesses accountable for hiring undocumented workers, paying them low wages, and forcing them into unsafe working environments.