Young Identifies Five Pillars of Progress for Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus

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Contact: State Rep. George Young
Phone: (405) 557-7393

OKLAHOMA CITY – Let me begin by stating what a wonderful pleasure it is to have the opportunity to pledge my time and action; in positive efforts to move the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus further in its process of becoming more accessible in service to all Black Oklahomans. It is crucial that OLBC be viewed as an organization of resource and outcomes. This is a process that I am extremely happy to further push during my tenure. I have so much gratitude for those who have served in this capacity prior to my administration. I am still moved by the thoughtfulness of this body and Sen. Kevin Matthews in the recognition for my late wife the Rev. Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young. The recognition was a new implementation within this organization and that act of kindness increases my want to do the best job that I can for this body.

We are out of session, out in our respective districts, doing the work that affords our constituents an opportunity to meet us unobstructed without the time constraints of session. In addition, the travel schedule to legislative conferences and policy educational forums is in full force.

I will be presenting to the Caucus our Five Pillars of Progress or the areas of concerns that I feel are most important to our constituents and to our state. 

I.     Education

II.   Criminal Justice Reform

III.  Health Care

IV.   Economic Development

V.     Social Justice

Education is the foundation for me. I am blessed to have been selected to be an Early Childhood Education Fellow with the National Conference of State Legislators. We have had several events to date and my starting philosophical point has changed, or should I say been revised. I have been concern about our starting point in the educational process and I placed it at:  Head Start, Pre-K, Kindergarten, First through Sixth grade. Well, I now think the educational process emphasis needs to be: (What I call Negative 9 or pregnancy) Pre-Natal and birth to 3 years old. The brain science has shown that the work begins in the womb with the care of the mother and child and the concern of making sure that the pregnancy is as trauma free and healthy as possible.

Criminal Justice Reform is under attack. With the successful campaign to pass State Questions 780 and 781 we began the process of taking low level possession crimes and making them misdemeanors, not felonies.  780 would take a formula and quantify the savings from imprisoning people and send a portion of that back to the counties for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Health Care is the issue that has been front and center on the national stage, but here in Oklahoma the health disparities that exist in our state is one of the reasons for our low national standing.  In addition the denial of our state’s executive officer to expand Medicaid is almost as criminal as the many attempts to take away health coverage by those in DC. Our uninsured rate is very high. 

Economic Development is one of the major issues on our agenda. The Caucus has worked hard on getting state agencies to play by the written rules and to give contracts to entities of colors. We still push this item and we are making some in roads. In addition, the promise of the American Dream has lots to do with the ability of individuals to find decent jobs with decent salaries. A minimum wage increase is on the table again. A better description is a “living wage.”

Social Justice – (Children, Youth, & Families) Families are under attack and we need to be fully engaged in the work of helping our families to become strong, vibrant entities in our communities and to regain their place as the backbone of our very existence. I will be asking the Caucus to help me create a Children Caucus in the House.

I will be presenting these Pillars to our Caucus for discussion and hopefully they will dictate to me the necessary adjustments in order for us to have a more responsive act to the needs of our constituents and state.

 We are planning a series of Town Hall meetings around the state. We had a very successful first time event of elected officials in Oklahoma County. I will be meeting with the elected officials, community leaders, faith leaders, and others across the state in their community to fine tune our Pillars of Progress. We are trying to if we can have an open public forum following these leadership meetings to hear from a broader group of citizens. Please look for dates in venues in your community.

 As we broaden our scope, we pray we broaden the communication and participation of more concerned individuals.  Help us to by your Caucus and your connection to State level concerns.