Criminal Justice Reform

We have the second highest incarceration rate in the country.  This is unacceptable on both moral and financial grounds.  We need to prioritize who we imprison by focusing on only incarcerating those who pose a genuine threat to the public.  The mentally ill and drug users who aren’t harming others should not take up valuable prison space that needs to be used for burglars, rapists, and murderers.

Education

No one who works in Washington, D.C. or at 23rd & Lincoln knows your child, so why are they making decisions about the education of your child?  Testing mandates and curriculum directives placed on your local school by self-interested politicians and bureaucrats demoralize teachers and harm children.

State Budget

Despite the massive budget hole over the past several years, the Legislature has failed to reduce spending except in a handful of obviously necessary areas.  Instead, they’ve chosen to allow across the board temporary spending cuts.  There are hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits and subsidies for various special interests that could be eliminated, and numerous agencies that could be consolidated or done away with entirely.  For instance, there are half a dozen state law enforcement agencies that could be consolidated into one entity.

Tax Credits and Incentives

Our current budget crisis is in no small way due to the tax credits and incentives that our state government has given to big corporations, rationalized with promises of future economic growth. This is just another way for our government officials to line the pockets of their industry cronies who fund their elections. The rewards that these incentives are supposed to bring never come around and our state is left with a budget shortfall that leaves our core services underfunded.

Second Amendment

I consider the Second Amendment to be a legal codification of the basic human right to self defense. You have the right, and the responsibility, to provide for your own safety and security. I will defend your right to do so.

Family Law and Child Welfare

Oklahoma’s child protective services operate under a consent decree called the Pinnacle Plan that resulted from a class action lawsuit against the Dept. of Human Services. The plan was designed to improve outcomes for foster children and those at risk of being taken into state custody, yet we still have unacceptably high rates of children being removed from their homes, with wildly differing rates from county to county of initiated claims and substantiated claims of abuse or neglect. Additionally, we have a family court system that nearly everyone who finds themselves trapped within it considers to be arbitrary and capricious. Real reforms to fix both of these systems are necessary in order to strengthen Oklahoma families, starting with an assumption of 50/50 custody for both parents in cases of separation(barring a sound reason that one parent should not have custody) and with a realization that removing a child from their home is a trauma on top of trauma and should truly only occur when there is no other choice.

Cannabis

I am the only candidate who is in favor of complete decriminalization of cannabis. Of my opponents, one voted no on SQ 788 on June 26th and the other spent 12 years as a prosecutor followed by 16 years as the top law enforcement official in the state vigorously enforcing drug prohibition laws and increasing our prison population.

Healthcare

Because so much of healthcare policy is set at the federal level states are limited as to how much they can do to deal with the misuse of insurance to pay for routine costs, the primary factor driving ever-increasing prices. It will be a priority for me to protect providers such as Surgery Centers of Oklahoma and direct primary care physicians who offer healthcare services outside of the insurance system and thus are able to offer superior care at vastly reduced prices. As these alternatives become more popular market forces will begin to reduce, or at least slow the increase, of the price of healthcare. We also need to continue to protect and expand the availability of providers such as by allowing nurse practitioners full practice authority like they have in many other states. And it would be a good idea to explore allowing rural hospitals to utilize underused space in their facilities to house mental health and rehabilitation programs both to put these programs within reach of people all across the state and to help keep our rural area hospitals solvent.

See also:
Red Dirt Report talks to Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chris Powell

Candidate Profile: Chris Powell, Libertarian for Governor