OK Senate District: SD 28
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Karen is married to her husband of almost 28 years, Mark Rackley, who has been a long time resident of Chandler Oklahoma. They have 5 children, Daniel, David, Dustin, Jarrod, and Anna Rackley. Her husband, Mark Rackley is a 40 + year Veteran (Retired Command Sergeant Major) with the Army and Oklahoma National Guard. Her son also served with the Oklahoma National Guard. Often Karen was tasked with the household and child rearing duties while Mark was deployed.
She has a good understanding of the unique struggles facing military and single household families. Karen is a self-described “military brat,” as her father was an Army Major and her stepfather was in the Air Force. Karen came to make Chandler, Oklahoma her hometown shortly after she and Mark married. They raised their children in Chandler, and enjoyed many a baseball tournament, wrestling match and football game as the children grew up.
She earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1995. She later completed my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from Oklahoma City University in 2016. She has a calling to serve, and she has worked in healthcare for the last 27 years. She has held many different positions as a nurse, working in the ER, ICU, as a Nursing Supervisor and unit Manager. Currently she is practicing as a Nurse Practitioner. -written by CAIR Oklahoma
What is the role of government in protecting public health and welfare?
Protecting our borders, governing matters of national security or state security, funding our military, responding to natural disasters and emergencies (FEMA, Oklahoma National Guard), providing/managing human social services programs and providing disease surveillance and response.
What are your views on individuals being able to safely and securely access sensitive medical procedures in privacy and without interference from the state?
As a healthcare provider, I understand that there are situations that expectant mothers may face that can risk their lives or that of their fetuses; those tough decisions should be left to them and their OB/GYN healthcare providers to determine the best and safest course of action. These decisions should not be delayed, and they should not be biased by fear of civil or public repercussions. But, I do not believe abortion should be used for “Birth control”. I do not believe in ELECTIVE late term abortions. I do not believe in suicide, assisted death. I do believe life is sacred.
What measures will you take to ensure that every Oklahoman has the chance to participate meaningfully in the democratic process?
I encourage people to register to vote and use that privilege. Oklahoma generally underutilizes this voting right. Every vote counts. People should take pride in voting; my family considers it our duty to do so.
How can we make voting more accessible to Oklahomans?
Oklahoma already has voting by mail in ballots, early voting, and extended hours for regular voting. Photo ID’s are needed for everyday transactions such as writing or cashing a check, using a credit card, banking, buying property, buying liquor, driving, obtaining health or public services. In these circumstances, having to use an ID is not considered burdensome, therefore it should not be considered so for voting.
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?
You forget disabilities in the discrimination lists. We have non-discrimination laws in effect and they should be part of all Oklahoma polices and procedures. But there are other considerations that need to be more addressed that are often overlooked. Those with mobility issues often have a hard time getting around. Although many public buildings and business have handicap access, getting to these places, to medical appointments, to family functions is impossible for many if they do not personally own a handicap equipped vehicle. While there are handicapped ride programs, they are often very expensive and therefore not really an option for every day use. They can cost $150 or more per trip. And if you live rurally, these ride programs are not an option either. Public transportation is lacking in rural Oklahoma. Affordable public transportation for mobility impaired Oklahomans needs to be sorely addressed.
What measures will you take to ensure that First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, speech, protest, and press are protected from infringement?
Making sure these things (1st Amendment rights) are considered when writing or voting on new laws. Reading through the full proposal/law before voting on it. Reviewing each proposal for vague language and fighting back against inappropriate measures.
How can our current criminal legal system be reformed to better protect the rights of all persons involved?
Our criminal system is overburdened. Department of Corrections (DOC) estimates around 80% of it’s inmates utilize mental health services, but you shouldn’t have to go to jail or prison to obtain your mental health services. Mental health access in this State has been dwindling for decades yet they stripped another 13 million dollars from the mental health budget this last year. Educational services need more budgeting, job training services and trade schools need more budgeting, college educations need to be affordable and attainable, Drug prevention and rehab services need better funding, Veterans affairs and services need more budgeting. Youth programs, YMCA’s, YWCA’s that offer other options for enrichment other than joining gangs need to be funded. If you fund and promote strong families and communities, then Oklahomans have more stability in their lives, and have the opportunity to make better choices. Secondly, there needs to be standardization in sentencing. Similar offenses should get similar sentences, some non-violent offenders are serving more time than murderers??? There is room for reform across the board in this area.
What steps would you take to adjust or reform our criminal legal system?
As stated above, there is work to be done. I would be interested in being involved in a committee overseeing these issues. I have been contracted to provide health care for DOC inmates in the past, and currently work for a private company caring for USMS detainees; I do understand the needs of this vulnerable population. I see it on a daily basis.