Meloyde Blancett

Candidate Details

OK House District: HD 78

Website:

http://www.blancettforhouse.com/

Email:

meloyde.blancett@okhouse.gov

Phone:

(405) 557-7334

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/blancettforhouse

Biography

Meloyde Blancett serves Tulsans in District 78 as their elected representative in the Oklahoma State House. Voters most recently re-elected Meloyde in November 2018. She is serving her second consecutive term as their representative and is seeking a third term in November 2020. Meloyde is a native Oklahoman who earned her degree at the University of Oklahoma. Her early career as a print journalist served as a springboard for enthusiastic, life-long civic engagement.

For Meloyde, her leap to elected public service came as she saw an opportunity to continue a legacy of strong, effective representation of her district as widely respected Rep. Jeannie McDaniel retired. Along with serving as District 78 Representative, Meloyde leads Creative Oklahoma as its executive director. The statewide organization’s mission is to foster development of vibrant, creative and innovation-based economy. Its projects and collaborative ventures span education, commerce and culture. Creative Oklahoma is a non-profit founded in 2006.

Meloyde is an entrepreneur and small-business owner. She is principal of The Blancett Group, which specializes in providing marketing and public relations consulting for organizations across Oklahoma. She has served as a marketing executive for several Oklahoma corporations and, notably, at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. At the latter, she focused on quality-jobs initiatives and the Main Street program, which supports municipalities’ commercial and cultural revival of their core districts. She is a nationally accredited public relations professional and has received recognition for her body of work.

Meloyde also designs and creates art-to-wear jewelry made of polymer clay and semi-precious stones. Her work is on display at galleries and special events. She has and continues to serve Tulsa through involvement in numerous community and non-profit groups which has included the American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, the City of Tulsa Economic Development Commission, the WaterWorks Art Center Advisory Council, the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, Camp Fire Green Country, the Tulsa Artist Guild, and Fab Lab Tulsa.

Survey Issues

What do you want your Muslim constituents to know about you? I honor all faith communities and fight for their freedom to pursue and express their faith. I also fight against efforts to prohibit people from expressing their faith, practicing their faith and efforts that seek to discriminate against them. 1. Who is someone who has inspired you, either personally, professionally or historically? And what about them makes them inspiring? There are a number of people who have inspired me! One person that immediately comes to mind is Mahatma Ghandi. His humanity, his wisdom in the face of great challenge and distress, his kindness toward others, his insistence on using peaceful means. All of these things are as applicable today, particularly in today's divided and fractured world. The one quote that I try to keep near is "you must be the change you wish to see in the world." Sometimes it helps me when I'm faced with feeling angry at our current political environment. 2. If you could change one thing in Oklahoma, what would that one thing be? And how would you do it? If I could change one thing in Oklahoma, it would be to make our public education system the best in the country. It is the lynchpin to EVERYTHING - to economic viability for our citizens long term, to mitigating poverty, giving our children the tools to be successful in whatever their chosen endeavor is. Right now, we have a system that has been systematically defunded over at least a decade, teachers who were not respected nor given the resources to do a very difficult job, and a student body that by and large has high ACE scores, a society of over incarcerated people which affects familiies and significant poverty. All of these things have been allowed to happen over time but long term, with an outstanding education system where every child gets a high quality education, what a different state we would see in the future. Money is part of the answer, but not the only one. We need all educators, parents, and citizens to work together to get the best results and to fight against further defunding. I also would take a very serious look at how we are using standardized testing to determine quality education outcomes. sometimes not rote learning methods but teaching critical thinking is infinitely more important. 3. What issue do you wish voters knew more about? Our cash bail system. It is horrible and is the gateway to our over incarceration!!! WE NEED BAIL REFORM NOW. It could not only save so many people from unnecessary incarceration but we could save millions of dollars that are being spent needlessly today to "warehouse" individuals pre-trial because they can't afford to pay bail. 4. If elected, what legacy do you hope to leave for Oklahoma? Well, quite frankly, as a Democrat in a very small minority in Oklahoma, sometimes it can feel like all I'm doing is putting my fingers and toes in the dike, hoping it doesn't crumble. In terms of a legacy, I want to try to bring greater dialogue between the parties in hopes of creating an environment where we can again have civil discourse and work to get things accomplished for our citizens! I also would like to empower more citizens to pay closer attention to their elected officials and how they vote. I don't think many people realize that many elected officials will talk one way but their votes reflect a complete different reality. Issues Voter Access: - What steps will you take to ensure equal access to voting rights for all, including the elderly, disabled, and impoverished? I filed legislation that would have eased the ability of citizens to be able to utilize absentee voting. Voter suppression is a very real phenomenon! I would absolutely advocate aggressively for a move to vote by mail. 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.? Well I can't say that I have ever experienced racial discrimination but being a female, I have definitely felt the sting of discrimination. I think the best way to erode systemic decrimination and prejudice is to counter it wherever you find it and to make a point of keeping awareness up about why addressing this is important. Martin Luther King said something like "by being silent, you are complicit" and I completely agree with that. When it comes to prejudice, silence can't be tolerated! Independent Redistricting: - What are your thoughts on gerrymandering, and do you think politicians should be allowed to draw their own district lines? Gerrymandering is a very real problem in this country and no absolutely not should politicans be allowed to draw their own district lines! We need an independent body doing that, one whose power doesn't hang in the balance if lines are not drawn in their favor. 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? I think the best approach is this - I'm not able to change the minds of people on extreme ends of this issue, so rather I try to be reasonable and talk to the middle and get them to try to understand differing perspectives. I have voted against the recent laws that have been passed, i.e. constitutional carry, and have debated them as well as talking to my constituents about why I voted the way I did. We just have to keep the conversation moving and urging people to be reasonable. I would also like for law enforcement to weigh in more publicly on this issue. They will say quietly that they do not believe having more guns on the street is good for public safety, but they rarely say these things in the public, and I think that is very unfortunately. Again, silence is complicit. 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? Our cash bail system. It is horrible and is the gateway to our over incarceration!!! WE NEED BAIL REFORM NOW. It could not only save so many people from unnecessary incarceration but we could save millions of dollars that are being spent needlessly today to "warehouse" individuals pre-trial because they can't afford to pay bail.

Platform Issues

Education

Meloyde strongly believes quality public education is the cornerstone to the viability of our community. For too long, our state has under-prioritized and underfunded public schools. We know that our schools can provide quality educations, but we need leaders who will fight for more resources in our classrooms and higher pay for our educators so that we don’t lose our best talent to surrounding states and so Oklahoma has a pipeline of teaching talent we can immediately rely on when needed. She also knows that education and the economy are directly related. Meloyde believes we need to do more for working families struggling to make ends meet, because success in school starts at home. Every child is capable of learning but there is a direct correlation between poverty and that child’s ability to be successful in school. She also wants to find ways to help our schools propel students into either good colleges or quality technical training, because an educated and trained workforce helps our entire community thrive both socially and economically.

Criminal Justice Reform

Meloyde believes that we need to take a serious look at our criminal justice system because of its significant cost and ineffectiveness at reducing crime. Our prisons are dangerously overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded. Oklahoma is spending an incredible amount of money warehousing non-violent offenders for long periods of time only to further expose them to a more dangerous criminal population then release them with little or no skills to be productive. Oklahoma also incarcerates more women than anywhere else in the world, and Meloyde finds this unacceptable. She believes that excessive fees, job-restrictions, and other barriers to re-entry keep ex-offenders from reaching their full potential and contributing to our economy. It costs less to educate a child than to jail them and we all benefit when our state makes proactive investments, such as youth services and alternative schools. She believes until changes across the board are made to replace long incarceration with drug treatment and community sentencing, Oklahoma’s criminal justice system will remain costly to taxpayers, ineffective at reducing crime, and destructive to many Oklahoma families. The bipartisan, national momentum for reform of mandatory minimums offers a good opportunity for progress in Oklahoma.

Practical Leadership

Meloyde is a small business owner, an artist, a proud mother, and a longtime Tulsan - not a politician. We need a leader who will stand up for hard-working Oklahomans and put the issues first - not a political party of one flavor or another. This past legislative session, the majority party twisted arms of their own caucus members to irresponsibly pass a budget that under prioritized education and cut from dozens of state agencies, while proceeding with tax cuts in the face of an expected multi-million-dollar revenue shortfall with no plan to replace the lost revenue. It’s time for our leaders to make smart decisions that push our state forward instead of hiding behind partisan ideals. Meloyde will work on both sides of the aisle to come up with common sense solutions. She knows that our community is used to having a committed, service-oriented leader at the state Capitol and is dedicated to working hard for all Oklahomans.

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