OK Senate District: SD 35
Assistant US Attorney. Wife & Mother. Leader.
Cheryl Baber is a Tulsa attorney who enjoys life with her CPA husband, Chuck, and their two sons, Grant and Luke. She grew up on a farm and ranch in Walters, Oklahoma in the Cooper family, where they spent summers harvesting wheat with the family out on the Great Plains. She initially attended Oklahoma City University where she studied journalism. Cheryl transferred during her junior year to Midwestern State University, where she was named the Outstanding Graduate in the Division of Political Science and Public Administration and received a Rotary Foundation International Scholarship. She used that scholarship to obtain a degree at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs in Geneva, Switzerland. Upon returning to the United States, Cheryl obtained a law degree at Columbia University School of Law in New York. Cheryl began her legal career in Oklahoma at Crowe & Dunlevy, but she eventually left private practice to work as a law clerk, and she has since worked for five federal judges.
More recently, Cheryl served an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Oklahoma. She is a member of several legal organizations, and years ago, was legal counsel to Resonance, Listening and Support for Women, Inc. Cheryl has also served as an instructor for the Oklahoma State University Special Education Resolution Center, and she is currently a volunteer attorney with Tulsa Lawyers for Children. Outside of her legal experiences, Cheryl has been involved in a wide variety of civic activities in Tulsa for more than 20 years. She served as Vice-Chair of the City of Tulsa Ethics Advisory Committee, and in numerous roles as an officer and committee chair for the Cascia Hall Parent Faculty Association. She has been a member and officer of her local Alpha Phi alumnae group, and she served as a Tulsa Area Alumnae Panhellenic delegate and officer for several years. Cheryl’s husband Chuck is a proud OSU and TU Alumni. Cheryl is involved in state and local politics, and she served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2016. She has judged numerous Miss America Scholarship Program preliminary pageants, and she was active for many years as an officer in the Tulsa Christian Business & Professional Women’s Club. Cheryl also loves playing tennis, and she and her husband regularly attend University of Tulsa football and basketball games. Together with their sons, they attend First Baptist Church of Tulsa, where Cheryl has served, and continues to serve, in various roles and on numerous committees. Cheryl’s two sons attended Eliot Elementary School, where they still keep up with many in the community today.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The highest purpose of government, I believe, is to protect its law-abiding citizens, and when law and order break down, society breaks down. Yet, there is a balance between being too punitive and too lenient in law enforcement, and we need to always seek to find that balance. Oklahoma needs to work on initiatives to reduce our incarceration rates by focusing on fair sentencing as well as efforts to rehabilitate prisoners so that they have a second chance at becoming productive citizens when they are released. However, we must not release violent criminals or give non- violent prisoners unlimited chances to reoffend. We also need to cooperate with federal authorities to deport illegal immigrants who break our criminal laws. We need to support local authorities with responsibility for police and firefighters as well. As an attorney and former law clerk, I would enjoy working on legislation related to judicial selection and lawsuit reform. Finally, I am committed to legislation and policies that will protect the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans, as I believe that law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend themselves."
Education is the great engine of upward mobility and economic growth. I have close friends and family members who are public school teachers, and I believe they need to be well-paid, well- prepared, and well-supported by administration, parents, and community leaders. More important, however, our children need to be well-taught and well-prepared for success in the workplace and in life. That means greater accountability, with the expectation of better outcomes at both the common education and higher education levels in Oklahoma. That means being open to educational reforms which will provide future generations with greater opportunities and outcomes in education. It means fewer mandates, less indoctrination of liberal thought and progressive values, and a greater focus on workforce development. It means freedom of speech and expression for students and professors alike. It means reforms to our funding formula. It may mean consolidation at the administrative level for some schools and separation at others. It means choice. It means that every child in Oklahoma has a chance at a quality education."
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH
Oklahoma has recently been rebranded as the “hub” of America, and we need to capitalize on our location, our diversity, our hospitality, and the ingenuity of our people. Now more than ever, our small businesses, retail establishments, and entrepreneurs will need assistance and guidance from state government to survive and thrive. In addition to the giants in energy and aerospace, our agricultural and manufacturing interests will need support from government leaders to continue providing the services, products, and jobs needed to strengthen our economy and sustain our people. This means removing regulatory burdens and streamlining paperwork and processes, developing our workforce, bringing in investment and employment opportunities, and forging partnerships and innovative collaborations among multiple entities. It means reforming occupational licensing laws and preserving right-to-work and workers’ compensation reforms. We need policies to show Oklahomans and the rest of the world that the American Dream is not only possible here, but alive and well."
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
As a volunteer lawyer for children who have been abused and neglected, I advocate for those in state custody and, as a legislator, I will look for ways to improve the laws governing the care of these children and those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. As for unborn children, I am pro-life and anti-abortion, although I would make exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, I fought to improve the quality of care in nursing homes. As for healthcare in general, I believe Oklahoma needs to be focused on initiatives that lower costs and improve health outcomes for all Oklahomans. Greater price transparency and elimination of surprise billing practices would certainly help. Other options may include maintaining incentives for employers to hire the uninsured and provide them with insurance; creating incentives for greater provision of health care in rural hospitals and clinics; and lowering prescription drug prices by reducing the role of administrators in the payment process."
My grandfather worked in the early 1900s as a roughneck in the oil fields of Burk Burnett, just south of where he lived in Walters, Oklahoma. He didn’t have the success of Tulsa’s early oil pioneers, but I recognize that energy is one of the pillars on which our State’s economic success depends, and we need to always be mindful of ways in which to encourage production, innovation, and profitability. It is the one of the largest economic drivers of Oklahoma’s economy. Our legislature needs to continue encouraging exploitation of all energy resources so that more jobs are created, our economy grows, and we provide future generations with opportunities to stay here without feeling the need to move out of state to get good paying jobs. As a legislator, I will work to ensure that Oklahomans continue to lead the way in providing the affordable and reliable energy that drives our local economy, empowers our state, and secures energy independence for our country."
Oklahoma’s finances have always been subject to boom and bust years, but legislators and administrators did much to account for that characteristic in recent years by setting aside taxpayer dollars in the Rainy Day Fund and in savings which will now be essential in a time of economic distress. More than ever, we will need pro-growth tax relief to expand our workforce and tax reform to expand access to capital. We should look continually for incentives and initiatives to support existing and developing businesses, especially those in technology, aerospace, and telecommunications. Lawmakers have recently taken steps to increase the transparency of our state’s finances by putting the state “checkbook” online, and have worked tostrengthen the state’s retirement systems for police, firefighters, teachers, and other public employee groups who have served our state so faithfully. Legislators should remain vigilant to protect these pension funds. Our laws must consistently promote sound fiscal policy and safeguard the financial health of our State."