As promised on Saturday, here is the first set of responses to questions I posed to the OKGOP Chair candidates (view part two here, part three here, and part four here). I'll start off with the responses in alphabetical order, then rotate on each successive question.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you came from and how
you got to be who you are today).
I’ve been married for 14 years and I’m a mother 3 kids. For the past 12 years, my husband and I have owned and operated a construction company in Oklahoma City. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business. I’m passionate about my faith, my family, and our country. I came to America at a very young age. My siblings and I were raised in the state of New Jersey. At the age of 18, I was privileged to become an American citizen. My immigrant story can be found on Metro Family Magazine.
I grew up in a loving, two-parent home. My Dad was a pastor in the Nazarene denomination. His two gifts were incredible faith and helping others. He coupled those with a tremendous work ethic. He was a great example, and I was often told, by well-meaning people, that I could never fill his boots. However, one day as I was pulling my boots on a big smile broke across my face as God helped me see that Dad and I didn't even wear the same size. In that moment, I realized that God has given all of us our own gifts that we are to use in following Him.
I am happily married to my husband Glenn, a step-mom to 6 and Mimi to 12 grandchildren. Glenn and I met in Church soon after he had become a widower and have been happily married for 27 years. I am originally from Florida and played softball for the Univ of Florida, earning the honor of All-Conference pitcher in my sophomore year. After graduating with a degree in Forest Engineering I was sent to work in Idabel, OK. Yes, from Orlando to Idabel, but I fell in love with Oklahoma and have been here 33 years.
I decided on a career change and in 1988 graduated with a degree in Accounting from East Central University in Ada. I found my niche to work with business startups doing everything from accounting to computer networking. In the most recent years I have become a business consultant helping companies become more profitable by improving efficiency in their business structure and employee management.
2. What do you consider to be the top three challenges for the next state chair?
Fundraising is CRITICAL to hire staff with the convention cycle being only 3 months away. I will raise the necessary funds to support the Party and support candidates in the general election. As OK County Chairman I raised over $100,000 and gave over $25,000 directly to candidates. As OK Federation of Republican Women President I exceeded my fundraising budget by almost $7,000. As State Vice-Chair I worked closely with Chairman Matt Pinnell and the donors who responded with generous support in 2010-2013. I am not afraid to ask for dollars!
#2- WINNING ELECTIONS!!
Because of term limits instituted in 2004 we will have 30 open seats in 2016! We are behind in recruiting leaders to run for these seats, 7 of which are currently held by women. I will work hard to find candidates, be a resource for information and raise funds to provide support for our nominees. We must re-institute the Victory program with its unique financial structure and statewide organization which benefits all candidates from the federal level to the courthouse.
#3- Party Unity
I believe #3 to be just as important as #1 and 2 but for list purposes I am talking about this one last.
I believe the foundation of TRUST is transparency and respect. We must restore the unity of our party and accept that while we may be competitors at times, we are never each other’s enemies. I will respect differing opinions and recruit diversity to our party. I will provide full financial statements at all meetings and will at all times abide by the Rules of the OKGOP.
There are many challenges that await our Party in the upcoming years.
First, we must work on our branding and image. For too long, we have allowed ourselves to be defined as a Party that is “against” things. We must define what we support. We unashamedly support the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We support life from conception and want to find real solutions like adoption that are alternatives to death. We support the American Dream, that all our citizens should be free to explore their dreams and find opportunity. We support lowering tax rates so that Americans can keep more of their money. We have to present a strong, vibrant image of the party to voters, the media and our officials.
Secondly, fundraising. The last year has been a difficult one for the Party’s finances. Some of that has been due to our image and as we fix that issue, we can restore the fundraising base. We need an aggressive fundraising plan, and I intend to work with a broad spectrum of fundraising opportunities to get us back on a solid foundation.
Infrastructure is the third challenge. Over the last few months, the technological presence for mobilizing our group game has diminished. I have already begun rebuilding that technology. The “war room” has been restored, and the voter files are in the process of being updated across all platforms. The RNC has spent $20,000,0000 on data software; we need to harness that for all our candidates.
1. Bringing everyone to the table
2. Reestablish a focus on our party platform
3. Have a state convention that doesn't turn into a waiting room