My name is Mitchell Jacob, and I am running as a democratic candidate for Oklahoma House District 20. I currently reside with my wife, and four of our five children (all boys, the oldest of whom graduated in May of 2023 and is now living in Owasso, OK). I am an Oklahoma native, one of nine children, father of five children, and I have a myriad of experiences which I believe will benefit my position as Representative for District 20. Specifically, I have worked in the service industry, finance, and served in the Army. Currently, I am slated to graduate from law school in May of 2025. Enough about me. Let us get to the veterans.

1) Have I ever served in the Armed Forces? If so, what was my branch, rank, and years of service? Mention any pertinent details.

Yes, I am a veteran. I served in the United States Army for five years and four months. I entered as a PFC and earned the rank of Sergeant (E-5) prior to transitioning off active-duty status. I served from l/l 7/2017-5/16/2022 as a 35P, Cryptologic Linguist. Primarily, I was assigned to Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Campbell, KY. My family and I lived just across the state border in Clarksville, TN. I deployed to Southern Syria for six months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

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

I have an extensive network of veterans in my life. I have a brother and two cousins, all of whom are Marine veterans, who live in Oklahoma. I also have two other brothers currently on active-duty status, one of whom is in the Army, and the other is in the Air Force. Beyond that, by virtue of my service, I have an extensive support network of active-duty service members and veterans with whom I communicate regularly. Though many of them do not, and will not, live in Oklahoma, they have been very open to discussion about the issues facing veterans generally, and I believe they will collectively continue to be an incredible resource for working through veteran’s issues, including active-duty families, and those transitioning off active-duty status.

3) What do I consider the most important issues facing veterans and military families?

This discussion focuses upon Oklahoma and is presented generally, because the military is not a monolith and issues faced in one part of the country or in one branch may not apply universally. Transitioning servicemembers need 1) stability; 2) ajob; 3) opportunity for them, their spouse, and their children; and 4) to know the resources available to them. I will address 1-3 below and focus upon 4 here.

It is true that the Army, for one, provides information and opportunity to active-duty and transitioning servicemembers. It is also true that this information is not coordinated, not necessarily easy to find, sometimes difficult to understand, qualify for, or access, and otherwise in such excess as to be useless. I was bombarded with information while I was in the service, and then received volumes of packets and information when I was going through my ETS transition. I was overwhelmed and unable to use the information simply by virtue of being incapable of reading it all, attending every single brief, or making an appointment with every office.

To that end, I believe that the VA could do bener, but we can start here at the state level with a centralized library to present information to active-duty servicemembers, transitioning service members, and veterans in a centralized and easily digestible format.

4) In what ways can I be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office?

These may of course include policies not specifically directed to those communities.

Oklahoma provides incredible benefits for 100% disabled veterans, and I have no qualms with those currently offered. Though we can certainly do more, I would prefer to focus my discussion on the veteran population generally.

I propose four (4) initiatives which I will champion for veterans: 

1) I propose that Oklahoma should conduct a legislative analysis of the Hazelwood Act and evaluate both its economic viability and relevancy to veterans within Oklahoma. I believe that we should invest in the education of veterans to help reduce the likelihood of veteran homelessness. No veteran deserves to be ignored by their state or country.

2) I propose implementing a home purchase grant program to incentivize active-duty servicemembers to return to, or relocate to, Oklahoma when they transition off active­duty status. I propose a $5,000 grant to incentivize veterans to move to Oklahoma and purchase their home. This will encourage more veterans to live in Oklahoma and help them pay their closing costs when using their VA loan.

a. Limitations can include requirements for an honorable discharge, a veteran may only receive the grant once, and others.

3) I propose a state-sponsored spousal credentialing program. We can work with Oklahoma’s community colleges and technical schools to provide opportunities to both active-duty and veteran spouses residing within Oklahoma. This will benefit military families both during and after their active-duty service.

4) I propose a public-private partnership to employ veterans within the state of Oklahoma. Fort Campbell had a Skillbridge, or similar, program, and it is possible that one exists in Lawton. We should open these programs to include internships with state agencies, police departments, credentialing programs through community colleges and technical schools, and these programs should be open to veterans living within the state who have never used the program. If we want to solve veteran homelessness and ensure that no veteran goes hungry, then we must help our veterans develop the skills they need to remain competitive after they transition off active-duty status. 

I strongly believe that there are even more initiatives which we should invest in to benefit all the citizens of Oklahoma, including her veterans. As these discussions continue, it is highly likely that I will propose additional programs to help veterans. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are my current priorities to address veteran’s issues when I am elected.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions and I would love to discuss any questions you may still have. Please feel free to reach out any time.

Warmest Regards,

Mitchell Jacob
Candidate-Oklahoma House District 20
(918) 261-4377