Jacob was born in Oklahoma City, and has lived in Norman for the better part of 30 years.
Shortly after graduation from Norman High School, he decided that being a teacher was his goal. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008, as a History major with a minor in Classical Cultures. He became a teacher in 2012 and has been teaching at the high school and middle school levels in Oklahoma City Public Schools ever since.
He is the proud father of an 9 year old daughter, Isabella, and of a 8 year old son, Jonah, both of whom attend Norman Public Schools.
Jacob has been a loud activist for public education for years, with his main concerns being the lack of funding given to schools, low pay for teachers, and the harmful high-stakes tests that are unnecessarily forced upon students, especially in lower income schools.
Before becoming your Representative in 2017, Jacob taught 7th grade Geography at Roosevelt Middle School in Southwest Oklahoma City. He has a passion for public education, has the patience to listen to constituents, and has the strength and ability to help our communities to progress into the future.
Survey Issues1. Who is someone who has inspired you, either personally, professionally or historically? And what about them makes them inspiring? Every teacher I’ve ever had is my biggest inspiration. Specifically, my 9th grade English Language Arts teacher, Claudia Swisher, who helped me become a life-long lover of learning, and the late Dr. Rufus Fears, an amazing professor at the University of Oklahoma, who helped inspire me to not only be a great lover of history, but to use my passion to spark that love in others. 2. If you could change one thing in Oklahoma, what would that one thing be? And how would you do it? I’d love to see more inclusive representation at the Capitol. We need balance in all things, especially when it comes to how we govern. 3. What issue do you wish voters knew more about? I wish voters knew just how important voting actually is to them...so many still don’t vote. 4. If elected, what legacy do you hope to leave for Oklahoma? As a former educator, I hope to change the overly outcome-based education system to one that eschews all the tests for what we all know is the most developmentally-appropriate way to learn: hands-on play-based/project-based learning. I aim to to do all I can from a state level to reinvest in the true joy of learning in our public schools. Issues Voter Access: - What steps will you take to ensure equal access to voting rights for all, including the elderly, disabled, and impoverished? I’m very concerned about access for voters, especially as it seems the party in power wants to make it tougher for folk to vote, rather than easier. I think we should look to states such as Oregon and Colorado, and implement universal voter registration at 18. That’s just one step, but a very important step Discrimination: - What experience have you had with discrimination or prejudice, and how do you plan to use your platform to end the unjust treatment of people based on their race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender identity/orientation, religion, class, etc.? While I haven’t been discriminated against, I’ve seen my former students discriminated for everything from their age to their skin color. I plan on ending discrimination by doing what I do best: Educating. I truly love all the various cultures present in the United States; it’s our differences that make us great! I will constantly use my platform to highlight that fact. Independent Redistricting: - What are your thoughts on gerrymandering, and do you think politicians should be allowed to draw their own district lines? Gerrymandering is why we are out of balance at the Capitol in Oklahoma. It also shuts folks out of the voting process. I’m all for an independent redistricting commission, and no I do not think politicians should have anything to do with drawing districts. Gun violence and the Second Amendment: - What can elected officials do to end the epidemic of gun violence in Oklahoma, and how can you use your platform to protect children and families while still recognizing Second Amendment rights? Nobody is wanting to take away guns. What I’d like to see is common sense gun laws, such as magazine restrictions, and a closing of the gun show loop hole. Also, I see no reason to have military assault rifles...they’re designed to kill people, not to hunt animals. Criminal Justice: - How do you think Oklahoma became the incarceration capitol of the world? What do you think is needed to reduce our overburdened jai/prison population and make our criminal justice system more humane? Nobody is wanting to take away guns. What I’d like to see is common sense gun laws, such as magazine restrictions, and a closing of the gun show loop hole. Also, I see no reason to have military assault rifles...they’re designed to kill people, not to hunt animals.
Quality education is a right, not a privilege
Public education is in a crisis as we see with the budget cuts, layoffs, and shortened school weeks statewide. These are not a result of lazy teachers or fiscal mismanagement by our school districts. These cuts are a direct result of the fiscal mismanagement and lack of economic foresight by the elected officials at the state Capitol. We need a change! As a public school teacher, Jacob has been on the frontlines of the war against teachers and public schools. He will fight vigorously to turn back the attacks made in the form of bills that support the privatization and deregulation of public education, and to ensure the education of our children is a priority every year.
Elected officials should be held accountable for the budget issues
Oklahoma is currently dealing with a nearly $900 million budget shortfall this year. This shortfall has caused disastrous cuts to vital state funded programs such as DHS, hospitals and nursing homes, and public education. Although this is partially caused by lower prices in the oil and gas energy sectors, the majority of this economic crisis can be traced back to a lack of foresight and outright ignorance by our elected leaders of the problem. These problems will not be fixed by one party, and Jacob is willing to work together with both parties to find a long-term and equitable solution to our budget issues. Jacob is concerned with the amount of lip-service paid by many elected leaders who say they want to help support Main St., only to later support large out-of-state corporations. While there have been many tax incentives implemented at the Capitol to help bring businesses to our state, Jacob would like to see incentives for our local small businesses, which truly are the lifeblood of our communities, that will lead to sustainable economic growth.
This campaign prioritizes rehabilitation over incarceration
The idea that somebody could go to jail for possession of drug paraphernalia is ridiculous. We need to spend tax dollars on reformation, not retention. And it will be a priority of mine to get private business out of our prisons.
After witnessing a death in the family attributed to long-term opioid usage, Jacob fully supported SQ 788, which legalized medical marijuana here in Oklahoma, and passed with 57% overall. As a member of the Medical Marijuana Working Group, he firmly believes in upholding the will of the people by implementing rules & regulations that reflect the spirit of SQ 788.