Melissa is a lifelong Tulsa area native, married mom to two sons and stepmom to two daughters. As a legislator, Melissa continues to bring this same commitment and voice, advocating for the people of Tulsa at the state capitol. The first half of the 57th legislative session brought much positive progress to our state. Working together across the aisle brought help to much needed support and help to working Oklahomans.
As a graduate of Northeastern State University with a BS in Organismic Biology and then from the University of Oklahoma with a MEd in Educational Leadership, Melissa honed her commitment to improving the lives of her fellow citizens by becoming an educator. First, as a Biology teacher at Will Rogers High School, then as an administrator at Booker T Washington High School, Hale Junior High and Bixby High School. Melissa worked tirelessly during her tenure as an educator to ensure that the children of Tulsa have access to a well-rounded social and academic school-going experience. Developing in each student the skills and abilities that allow them to be successful in life beyond high school as career and college-ready citizens is crucial to our long-term success.Healthy, productive, contributing citizens of Tulsa is the goal.
What do you want your Muslim constituents to know about you?
I am thankful for our Muslim community and look forward to continuing to serve you.
Restoring the Teacher Pipeline
Our teacher shortage crisis continues to deepen, and will get worse as teachers who have held off retiring begin to leave over the next 1-2 years. We must restore the teacher pipeline through our universities, who are experiencing a drop in enrollment. Studies across the nation clearly demonstrate that the best teachers for our children are those university trained professionals.
Adequate funding for supplies, textbooks, and technology is a critical need for all Oklahoma classrooms. Last year the State Legislature made an excellent start in turning education funding around in our state. Yet we still remain well below funding levels that date back to 2008. We have 50,000 more students enrolled in our public education system. We have more work to do.
Access to Health Care
Expanding Medicaid to accept federal dollars will bring affordable health care coverage to over 160,000 uninsured Oklahomans, leading to a healthier workforce, jobs creation and grow our economy.
Quality of Living and Workplace
Oklahomans have the right to earn a fair living wage that allows them to invest in a secure retirement while still putting food on their table each day and night.
Criminal Justice Reform
Many defendants who have served their time in jail spend the next several years paying off fines and fees incurred while incarcerated. They often have to make tough choices between providing for their families or paying off these fees, which often lands them back in the system. We can do better. We should: Disclose to defendants the total amount of fines, costs and fees before they accept a plea deal. Determine the defendant's ability to pay, and offer community service in lieu of fees if they are not able. Bail reform that is fair and feasible for defendants.
Supporting Small Business
Small businesses make America. Easy to understand tax laws, as well as support for funding entrepreneurs and start-up companies, are critical.