Blake Aguirre was born in Ardmore and has deep roots in rural communities, communities which are similar to many located in Senate District 22. He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with his bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Pre-Law and Spanish. Having been raised by my mom and Navy dad, he knows full well the struggles many military families face as they balance family life with duty. Veterans’ issues are also very close to his heart, as many of my family are veterans, and he has learned so much about what can be done to help these heroes once they’re back home.
When his mom and maternal grandmother were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, he saw them struggle with the current healthcare system, which drove him to get more involved with helping others who experienced these struggles. He’s learned to think outside the box for solutions, such as when his family established a local firework business to raise funds to help pay the co-payments for cancer patients. He will work toward a healthcare system which works more efficiently and which helps patients more than it hurts them. As the grandson of an immigrant, he’ll strive to find a balance between a secure border and an effective path to citizenship for those who come to America in search of a better life. He knows many of their struggles, and he truly wants to help build a stronger Oklahoma by making Oklahoma stronger for us all.
What is the role of government in protecting public health and welfare?
The government has numerous roles in protecting public health and welfare such as: developing and implementing laws and regulation, monitoring the market of healthcare for adverse consequences that may endanger availability, the cost, and the quality of medical care received. Part of my role as a State Senator is to ensure Oklahoman’s have access to quality healthcare, education, jobs, and have the day to day necessities for individuals and families to thrive and not just survive.
What are your views on individuals being able to safely and securely access sensitive medical procedures in privacy and without interference from the state?
It is between an individual and their doctor to make decisions regarding medical procedures, treatments, and plans of care. Government should not be involved in the decision making.
What measures will you take to ensure that every Oklahoman has the chance to participate meaningfully in the democratic process?
One thing I will do is make sure that the constituents of Senate District 22 and Oklahoma are involved by hosting town halls and listening sessions to discuss the issues important to our area. I will visit neighborhoods, community groups, non-profits, and faith communities to listen to the concerns and needs of the district. My Senate staff will be trained to utilize interpreters, so language does not become a barrier to constituents communicating their thoughts and questions to my office.
How can we make voting more accessible to Oklahomans?
Voting can be more accessible by providing election and ballot information in multiple languages, hosting voter registration events in local communities, and encouraging early and absentee voting. I support expanding voter registration to include online voter registration. I also support restoring voting rights for those convicted of felonies.
Many Oklahomans experience discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and other factors; how would you address these problems as an elected leader?
I will make sure everyone is involved and has a seat at the table regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, and gender in order to have their voice heard. Representation is very important which is why I am open with the constituents of SD 22 as a young openly Gay Latino male candidate.
What measures will you take to ensure that First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, speech, protest, and press are protected from infringement?
First, we must overturn House bill 1674 that grants immunity to motorists who harm those participating in demonstrations of free speech and assembly. Second, I pledge to participate in rallies and awareness events with my constituents to show that I am just like them and standing up for what is right.
How can our current criminal legal system be reformed to better protect the rights of all persons involved?
We must remove non-violent offenders from jails and prisons that are using up Oklahoman taxpayer dollars that could be used to help our homeless population, our veterans, and could improve our education system.
What steps would you take to adjust or reform our criminal legal system?
Non-violent offenders that are arrested for unpaid traffic tickets and marijuana should not go to jails and prisons. They could be placed on a monthly payment system that brings payments up to date in a timely manner. Encouraging diversion programs such as mental health and substance use treatment, community service, and social service programs that not only educate but also uplift a person who needs assistance and not incarceration.