Name: Tegan Malone

Office sought: Oklahoma House of Representatives District 95
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1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces? If so, what were your branch, rank, years of service? Mention any details of your service which you might want voters to know.

I am not a veteran.

2. Do you have connections with veterans or active duty service members, including but not limited to family ties?

Both of my grandfathers were at one time active duty (Paternal – Navy WWII and Maternal – Air Force Vietnam).  Upon completion of their active duty service commitments, both retired from civil service at Tinker AFB.  My father was a civilian at Tinker AFB until his retirement a few years ago.  His last positions at Tinker were as Deputy Director of Engines, Deputy Director B-1B Systems, and finally as Executive Director AMARC.  My oldest son works as an electroplater at Tinker AFB.  My ex-husband was active duty Air Force from 2000-2011, supporting our efforts in Operation Enduring Freedom as well as to provide humanitarian aid in Honduras.  During our family’s active duty time, I was an active board member of the Women’s Auxilliary at David Grant Medical Center at Travis AFB.

I am currently working with an organization created at Walter Reed Medical Center called Team River Runner (TRR).  TRR works to bring wounded vets and their families into the outdoors with kayaks as a means of exploration.  We have received the acceptance of the City of Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department to proceed with securing funds to build a low barrier, ADA accessible kayak launch at the existing fishing pier at Lake Stanley Draper (in District 95).  This will enable wheelchair bound people to place a kayak into the water and lower themselves into the watercraft autonomously.  This will benefit veterans as well as their families.  We have plans to continue our advocacy into other bodies of water around the OKC Metro.

3. What do you consider the most important issues facing veterans and military families?

In Oklahoma, access to quality schools is a top priority for families.  I know the struggle of moving to a place that receives constant negative attention when it comes to public schools as we were once stationed in Biloxi.  Mississippi consistently ranks lower than Oklahoma in almost every metric related to education.  That scares families who only want the best for their children and have little say in the location they will be assigned.  Improving our public schools with adequate funding on other measures will ease a burden for our service families.

Employment for spouses is another priority issue for military families.  There have been strides over the years for priority placement in the federal jobs system as well as other initiatives to assist, but more can still be done to demonstrate the opportunities available to spouses at a new duty location.

Mental health care is needed for so many right now.  Entering into the military can be a very tough transition in today’s day and age.  Likewise, the demands of the job for people who have been in for years can take its toll.  We all need a little more compassion and understanding, and mental health care is a wonderful way to empower people to forge ahead, solidify relationships, and create space for others who may need the assitance.

We must also focus on the incidences of sexual assault within our ranks, the lack of reporting, and the ineffectual discipline.  Our service members deserve to serve without wondering if their basic human rights will be ignored.

4. In what ways can you be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office? This may of course include policies not specifically directed to those communities. If you are an incumbent, include relevant measures you have supported in the past.

Although I have not personally served in the military, I have grown up surrounded by a community of people who understand the mission of service above self.  I have experience as a military spouse who has had a partner deploy to a war zone.  I have carried a pregnancy to term without a partner in attendance, while being time zones away from home.  I know the struggle our active duty families can have when tragedy strikes while our loved ones are out there supporting the mission.  It can be a hard life, but given the proper supports, it can also be a very fruitful one.

I have compassion for our veterans who have lived through sometimes unimaginable things, but am so grateful for the lessons of perseverence, duty, and honor with which they return home.  These people are truly the best of us, and as such, they deserve the best that we can give in return.

 As a representative, my primary goal is to be responsive to my constituents first and foremost. I don’t shy away from challenges and invite unique perspectives to problem solve.  Our service members are no different.  Since the whole of Tinker AFB resides in my district, I hope to prove to the military and veteran communities that I will be the right person to meet their needs with regards to state government.

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