Representative Tammy West

Hi, I’m Tammy West and I represent the people of Oklahoma’s 84th District.



Majority Whip

58th Legislature

Majority Leader

59th Legislature

News & Announcements

Oct 19, 2023
Recent Posts

Tammy West Studies Transitional Housing for Those Exiting Prison

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Majority Leader Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, this week held an interim study examining transitional housing for those leaving the criminal justice system. IS23-017 was held before the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee. “Restarting life is a challenge under the best of circumstances, but it is even more so if you are trying to build a new life after incarceration” West said. "We know housing is a key component of long-term success. We also know there are solutions, and we know that there are roadblocks." West said during the study she wanted to hear and have robust discussion about both so lawmakers and others involved in the criminal justice system can work to maximize and ensure stories of success for those formerly incarcerated. Her hope is to find solutions that can be implemented to make a positive difference in the lives of these individuals. West gathered a team of experts on the topic asking each to share data or personal stories of how housing or lack thereof impacted them or those they serve in their personal, family and work life.  Sarah Decker, the Oklahoma legislative strategist for Prison Fellowship, spoke on the key causes of housing instability and gave examples of policy responses from other states that address this issue. "When somebody has paid their debt to society and served a just punishment for an offense, any further barriers to success should always be limited to what's necessary to protect the public," Decker said. At the state and federal level, however, there are more than 1,300 legal barriers to housing and residency that relate to a criminal record, she said. There's also a lack of affordable housing in Oklahoma as well across the nation. Credit history issues and restrictions on public housing vouchers are additional hurdles. A private landlord's discretion to refuse renting to someone with a criminal record is an area where Decker believes lawmakers can encourage and incentivize second-chance renting. She also suggested housing providers that receive tax breaks or other benefits to create affordable housing shouldn't categorically exclude renters with a criminal record. Joy Block, a Prison Fellowship volunteer, shared her personal story of how she left prison homeless. She didn't have a stable address to give to her probation officer, and all the people who would allow her to live with them also had criminal background records, something not allowed for the formerly incarcerated, she said. Yet these were the only people who would take her in. Living from place to place or sometimes on the street, she felt unsafe and had a hard time securing adequate food for herself and her children. Not always having access to a place to clean up made it hard to find a job. Block said she also had mental health issues that required medications. Without a stable address, she could not get insurance or the care she needed. Block said she and her children eventually were accepted into the Exodus House, a Christian organization in Oklahoma City. She said it was a place where she gained spiritual growth that gave her the push she needed to stay out of prison. "With them being there with open arms and helping me out of that situation of homelessness, it helped me to be the person that I am today," Block said. "I felt special and that someone actually cared about me. Being accepted gave me a sense of peace and knowing that I could overcome the things that I once struggled with – crime, drugs, homelessness, those things." Block said at Exodus House she paid only a small fee for electricity, but they helped her start a savings account so she could build up money to transition into her own living space. This stability also helped her get off probation. "You don't know how good that feels," she told study participants, relating how in the past housing instability had landed her back in prison. Other study presenters included Damion Shade and Jennifer Williams with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. The two shared data correlating crime and adverse outcomes with lack of housing. They also related experiences of working on reentry programs with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. John Bae with VERA Institute for Justice discussed Oklahoma's survey supporting pro-housing polices and gave data on access versus barriers. Jacob Beaumont with Housing Solutions detailed how collaboration between the non-profit sector and government entities have provided solutions for criminal justice-involved individuals seeking stable housing in Tulsa County. Angel Wheeler with RISE Transitional Housing gave a program overview, including success stories as well as hardships endured by those leaving the criminal justice system. West thanked each presenter not only for contributing information for the study but also for doing what they do each day to make a difference for those trying to access stable, affordable housing after being incarcerated. "You are living the solution and providing the resources," she said. "And I know so much of that is just from a place of love and care and not from a place of money or means. It's literally showing up because you care for people, and there's no price you can put on that." West said she and other lawmakers want long-term solutions that solve these problems. "Because they are our problems," she said. "And they affect lives. They affect families. They affect generations. And I want us to be part of breaking these generational cycles. And we have the tools to do it. We just have to step up, and I think there are people here that are willing to do that." 

Jun 9, 2023
Recent Posts

Tammy West Celebrates Caring for Caregivers Act Becoming Law

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma will be the first state in the nation to adopt an expansive caregiver tax credit after the Caring for Caregivers Act became law this month. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. House Majority Leader Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, who championed the legislation in the House, praised the enactment of the bill that will allow tax credits for individuals who are caring for older loved ones in their homes. "For Oklahoma's 490,000 family caregivers, caregiving is decidedly a labor of love, but the experience is stressful, isolating and has a real financial cost," West said. "This will provide these unpaid family caregivers much-needed financial relief and keep loved ones at home and out of costly taxpayer-funded nursing home. This presents a great solution that lets Oklahomans take care of their own without having to rely on the government to take charge of their family members." HB1029XX – The Caring for Caregivers Act – will allow a tax credit up to 50% of eligible caregiver costs, capped at $2,000 per year for most participants and $3,000 per year for those caring for veterans or people with a dementia-related diagnosis. Eligible expenses include home modifications such as installing a ramp, durable medical equipment, assistive technologies, home health and more.   The family caregiver must have a federal adjusted gross income below $50,000 for single filers or $100,000 for joint filers. The credit is for out-of-pocket costs incurred by the unpaid family caregiver for a limited set of services. It is capped at $1.5 million per year. Other states offer smaller tax credits to certain caregivers or for expenses like home modifications, but according to AARP, Oklahoma is the first to adopt the more expansive credit. According to AARP's?Valuing the Invaluable report released earlier this year, Oklahoma family caregivers provide a staggering $6.6 billion in unpaid care with the average individual spending an estimated $7,200 a year on expenses related to their duties. That’s on top of the emotional and physical challenges that often come with providing unpaid care for an older loved one.   A recent AARP survey shows 93% of Oklahoma family caregivers pay out-of-pocket expenses for the following;  ·                 Transportation – 84%  ·                 Medical equipment – 50%  ·                 Home modifications – 42%  ·                 Hire in-home support services – 28%  ·                 Respite services – 16%  AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl also praised the enactment of the legislation. “We appreciate the strong leadership from House Majority Leader Tammy West and Sen. John Michael Montgomery and commend the Oklahoma Legislature for becoming the first in the nation to pass an expansive caregiver tax credit bill to ease the financial burden family caregivers face. When 91% of Oklahomans agree on an issue regardless of political affiliation, the message is clear, and we applaud our legislators for taking action,” Voskuhl said. "Family caregivers are the backbone of our country’s long-term care system. The Caring for Caregivers Act recognizes the hard work and sacrifice and helps lessen the financially challenging impacts of family caregivers’ responsibilities.”  The measure passed the House unanimously in special session and earned majority passage in the Senate where it was carried by Sen. John Michael Montgomery. 

May 19, 2023
Recent Posts

ARPA Funds to Benefit Ronald McDonald House, Bethany Children's Center

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Majority Leader Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, today commented on the awarding of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that will go to local nonprofits to provide long-term housing or care facilities for children and their families. The House and Senate this week passed House Bill 2943, which appropriates $4 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities for construction of a new home to be located by Mercy Hospital in north Oklahoma City, and $2 million to the Bethany Children's Health Center for the renovation of the center's complex care units, which are 25 years old.  "Both of these organizations do an amazing job of caring for children who have very complex health care needs as well as for their families who need to stay nearby to be involved in their care and offer loving support," West said. "It was such an honor to help secure this necessary funding that I know will greatly help relieve the burden these young patients and their loved ones face." Ronald McDonald House Charities provides temporary housing and a place to rest and regroup for Oklahoma families who have a seriously ill or injured child hospitalized in the Oklahoma City area. This keeps families and children close to each other and the care and resources they need. The Bethany Children's Health Center provides pediatric rehabilitation and 24-hour inpatient and out-patient complex care for children and is the only inpatient pediatric rehabilitation facility in Oklahoma. The multidisciplinary team at the center works with patients and their families to maximize every child’s potential, and ensure the family has the training and resources needed for a smooth transition from hospital to home. HB2943 now moves to the governor for his consideration of signing it into law. Rep. West carried the bill on the House floor.