2022 Primary Candidates OKDemVets Questionnaire Responses

Please note: these are answers to our questionnaires, not endorsements.


Candidates for Oklahoma State House of Representatives

  • House District 4: Charles Arnell

  • House District 12: Crystal LaGronge

  • House District 13: Jimmy W. Haley

  • House District 42: Steve Jarman

  • House District 44: Jared Deck

  • House District 45: Annie Menz

  • House District 46: Jacob Rosencrants  (incumbent)

  • House District 63: Shykira Smith

  • House District 64: Kyle Meraz

  • House District 79: Melissa Provenzano (incumbent)

  • House District 83: Gregory Clyde

  • House District 84: Jeremy Lamb

  • House District 88: Joe Lewis

  • House District 90: Nana Dankwa

  • House District 95: Tegan Malone

More responses will be posted as they are received from candidates.

 

Charles Arnall
Candidate for House District 4


Email charlesarnall@yahoo.com


1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?


US Navy RMSN, 4 years of service, 1970-1974. Served on board USS Trenton off the coast of Vietnam

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


No


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


Prescription drugs for veterans who are not drawing a disability check but still need help with prescription drugs


4. In what way can you be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office?



I will be a voice for all of the veterans who are being given the runaround when it comes to receiving any kind of medical assistance. A veteran is a veteran, and any veteran should be able to receive medical assistance, prescription assistance, and anything the VA has to offer, no matter income level.

Crystal LaGrone

Candidate for House District 12


Email: crystalforhd12@gmail.com



1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?


No, I am not in the military.



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


My grandfather enlisted in the Marines during WWII. My great uncle was a POW in Korea. I have many friends that are veterans of the Gulf War and Afghanistan.



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


I feel like the mental health of our soldiers is extremely important. The suicide rate for veterans is frighteningly high. I also think that wages for soldiers and support for their families should be increased. Veteran medical care should be better. Also, we need to look at homelessness among our veterans.



4. In what way can you be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office?


We can close gaps in healthcare for veterans. Better cooperation between the state agencies and federal government to streamline medical care. We need much better data infrastructure for communication between hospitals, doctors, and state medical facilities. Too often people are falling through the cracks due to lack of communication because of siloed information. State funding and legislation to close those communication gaps would help get needed care to veterans.


On the state level, the legislature needs to tackle homelessness. So often our veterans are the ones bearing the brunt of an inconsistent system that praises them verbally, but neglects them tangibly. We need to put legislation and regulations in place to create housing for veterans.


Also, factoring in SNAP benefits for housing allowance is also something that needs to be addressed.



Jimmy W. Haley

Candidate for House District 13 

1. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, what were your branches, rank, years of service? 


U.S. Air Force, E-4, 5 years of service.  Served in combat support role at Castle AFB, 93rd CSG.  Served in support role at HQ USAFE (Europe) at Ramstein AB, Germany.  Worked beddown of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in Europe that was strategic to the fall of Eastern Germany and the Berlin wall. 


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


Primarily veterans who served with me and my brother-in-law who retired AF. 


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


Medical support post-service and housing for the homeless.  Also support for families while their loved one is deployed. 


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. 


Maintain close communications with the needs and issues facing veterans and currently serving staff to identify specific needs that we can play a role in providing assistance.  Address those needs as expediently as possible. 


Steve Jarman
Candidate for HD 42


cell (405) 926-0464


1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?


No, I am not. Please allow me to explain.  During my freshman year of junior high (1968) I underwent a series of hip surgeries. The knuckle at the top of my right femur was slipping off. On November 7th of that year doctors put four pins in my right hip to prevent it from slipping any more. Seven days later the doctors placed four pins in my left hip to prevent any slippage to that hip. I was on crutches for the following five and a half months.


Two years later, approximately a month before my junior year the doctors took me back into surgery to remove the pins and broke all eight of them off.


On my eighteenth birthday, I registered to vote as a Democrat and I registered for the draft. My status was 1H.


I attended East Central University at Ada and graduated in 1976. If my memory serves me correctly, my birthday was the twenty-fifth birthday that was drawn out of the hopper which meant I would be going to Viet Nam. But, if my memory serves me correctly, that was the year that the U.S. troops were pulled out of Viet Nam.


I cannot help but believe that if I had been sent to Viet Nam, because of my health problems, I would have served in some sort of clerical position.


2. Do you have connections with veterans or active duty service members, including but

not limited to family ties?


Yes. As far as family members are concerned, yes. My mother’s brother Delbert Burelson was stationed in North Africa at the end of World War II. My mother’s twin sister’s husband Leonard Warren served on a construction crew in Germany when the Third Reich fell. He was then sent to Japan. As he was traveling to Japan, President Truman had the two atomic bombs dropped and the war was over before Leonard arrived. In addition to these family members, my cousin Carolyn Johnson’s husband Terry Johnson was sent to Viet Nam where he was shot while in the process of killing a sniper. As good a guy as Terry is, he is a true victim of PTSD. 


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


Funding. Pure and simple. Funding to help with programs for veterans and their families including funding to provide quality care at veterans’ hospitals. 


Next, I would say outreach to veterans. So many times we not only hear of but see veterans who served their country, yet are homeless. So many times their homelessness is a result of mental illness. Closing mental health facilities such as Griffin Hospital is a travesty whether they are veterans or not. 


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. 


Be responsive. Not only be responsive to veterans but depend on their experiences and advice.

Jared Deck
Candidate for House District 44


https://www.deckfornorman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DeckForNorman


1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces? 


N/A


2. Do you have connections with veterans or active duty service members, including but

not limited to family ties?

Grandfather served in the U.S. Army, late 1940s


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

Families?

Navigating social services is practically a full-time job.

Mental health care access should be provided to Oklahoma veterans in a timely manner.

Substance abuse services and suicide prevention.

Affordable housing and homelessness.


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

Listening to veteran needs directly from the source. Develop systems of care that wrap services around the veteran. Increase affordability and access to Career Tech and Higher Education. Advocate for higher wages and no more cuts to ODVA.

Annie Menz

Candidate for House District 45


https://www.facebook.com/annieforhouse

https://annieforhouse.com/


1. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, what were your branches, rank, years of service? Mention any details of your service which you might want voters to know. 


I was in the U.S. Navy.


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


My father was in the Army, grandfather in the Navy, & my brother was a Marine. 



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


Healthcare, access to mental health services, and ODVA has seen a 35% cut in funding since 2009.




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. 


I will fight any further cuts to ODVA or any Veterans services.






Jacob Rosencrants

Candidate for House District 46 (incumbent)


https://www.facebook.com/RosecrantsForHD46

https://jacobrosecrants.com/


1. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, what were your branches, rank, years of service? Mention any details of your service which you might want voters to know. 


No. 


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


My father was a Navy veteran and my Aunt Joyce Jean King was a Navy veteran, too. She resides at the Norman Veterans’ Center. I work with the Dale K. Graham Center to help local vets. 


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


1. Veteran suicide

2. Lip service from politicians


3. The bureaucracy of providing for veterans


4. Mental health


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

Veterans issues are close to my heart - I’m trying to run a piece of legislation to make the 2nd week of October “Veterans Suicide Awareness Week” - but want to have other pieces of legislation to run in tandem with it. I also vote for every single pro-vet bill. 



Shykira Smith
Candidate for House District 63


facebook.com/smithforhd63
smithforhd63.com


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 an Army Veteran having served over 12 years on active duty. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2003-2004, and Iraq 2004-2005. My husband and I deployed together to Iraq in 2004, combined we have deployed seven times, and have over 38 years of active duty military service.


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


My husband, grandfather, father, father-in-law (Airforce), brother-in-law, son-in-law(Navy) all served in the military. I served as a senior medic under the command of General Mark A. Milley, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Afghanistan and Iraq.


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


Access to resources for service members post military service. Including, but not limited to, health care, finance and education, etc. The transition from Soldier to civilian needs to be as in-depth as the transition from civilian to Soldier.


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. As representative for House District 63 I plan to work across the aisle to ensure that issue concerning service members, and their families, are prioritized and addressed. Some of my policy concerns are directed towards education, resources, and mental health. I am also concerned that the incumbent has been re-elected due to a lack of being contested, and family name recognition only. House District 63 includes active duty Soldiers and their families residing on Fort Sill, and I look forward to being their legislative representative when I am elected.


Kyle Meraz
Candidate for House District 63


kylemeraz.com

kylemerazforoklahoma@gmail.com
(580) 351-7723


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.

No


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


Both grandfathers were veterans before they passed. No family history more recent.


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


Quality jobs that provide a living wage and opportunity for advancement. Housing security ensuring low income and disabled veterans maintain safe and affordable housing. Healthcare access and cost reduction to ensure no veteran misses medical treatment that isneeded. Mental health services made available and accessible so no veteran has to internalize trauma, and provide resources for care.


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


I will be an advocate for healthcare access and funding in Oklahoma to include our rural vets. No one should have to choose between healthcare and other needs. Through investing in health care and implementing price caps on prescription medications we can provide more equitable stake. I will also be an advocate for affordable housing and increased services for the unhoused populations in Oklahoma.

Melissa Provenzano
Candidate for House District 83 (incumbent)


https://www.proven4oklahoma.com/
https://www.facebook.com/proven4oklahoma/


1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?


No


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


Yes. My dad served in the Army during Vietnam. Covid took him last year.

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

Better access to healthcare services and mental health services. 


4. In what way can you be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office?


In 2022, I co-authored HB1067, the Dignity in Burial Act providing grants for burials of those who do not have the financial capability to pay.
LAW HB1800 which grants in-state tuition to a larger group of honorably discharged veterans.
LAW HB3693 (co-author) exempts veterans from state income tax 100%. Currently in Senate. 


Gregory Clyde

Candidate for House District 83


https://www.facebook.com/gregforok

https://www.gregclydeforok.com/ 


1. Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?


No


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


Yes. Father, Uncle, and both Grandfathers US Army.  Grew up in Lawton and spent my childhood on/around Ft. Sill.  I have a good friend who is currently active duty US Army Chaplain.


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


 Veterans - Mental health and Healthcare access.  Active Duty - Balancing work demands with marriage/family demands.  Quality Housing.


4. In what way can you be helpful to veterans and military families if elected to office?


Help facilitate programs that strengthen family stability including spousal employment and access to quality/affordable housing.




Jeremy Lamb

Candidate for House District 84


https://www.facebook.com/JeremyLambHD84

https://www.jeremylamb.org/


1. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, what were your branches, rank, years of service? Mention any details of your service which you might want voters to know. 


No.


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


Yes, my uncle Danny Lamb is a veteran, as is my father-in-law. I attend church with multiple veterans and have many close connections there. 


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


Financial & medical support post-deployment.



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. 


If elected, I would be an advocate for financial support and services for veterans.



Joe Lewis
Candidate for House District 88


Votejoelewis.com

  1. Are you a veteran if the US Armed Forces? If so, what was your branch, rank, years in service? Mention any details of your service which you might want voters to know. 


I served in the United States Marine Corps from 2004-2008, my rank was a Corporal (NCO non-commissioned officer)

I served in the Marines Anti-Terrorism Battalion and while serving I was awarded a Meritorious Mast for superior performance of duties, for displaying an exceptional level of technical skill and knowledge of combat lifesaver techniques during a medical evacuation of three critically wounded local nationals. A tire from a semi-truck exploded and injured three Iraqi citizens at a checkpoint. I applied a pressure dressing to one of the victims and assisted in splinting the other victim’s leg which slowed the bleeding and prepared each for evacuation. My quick reaction, skill, and knowledge of combat lifesaver helped save the lives of three local nationals and increased the rapport of coalition forces with the local populace.  

I also served in the Oklahoma National Guard where I was a team leader of a sniper team (I was not a school house trained sniper) in the scouts, HQ platoon. my rank was a Specialist 


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

Yes, I am plugged in at my American Legion Hall and I have lots of connections with local Veterans. Our family also has a long history of men that served in the United States Armed Forces. Last year, my American Legion post and I put together an 8-mile ruck march in the district in remembrance of POW/MIA day. We raised money through donations and auctioned off items and then donated all of the proceeds to the “Honoring America's Warriors” an organization that trains and provides service dogs to veterans.



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


Veteran mental health and the transition home for returning veterans and their families. Another issue Veterans are facing when they get home, is dealing with the VA system and the programs that are out there those veterans don’t know how to access.  



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

First and foremost, I am a veteran, so I am one hundred percent willing to fight for issues that matter most to veterans. Here’s a few plans I have to help veterans transition home -

  1. Eliminate sales taxes on veterans

  2. Eliminate property taxes on Oklahoma Veterans 

  3. Limit taxes on Veteran businesses

  4. Push for natural mental health options over Big Pharma drug companies.


Nana Dankwa
Candidate for House District 90


nanaforhd90.com

facebook.com/NanaDforOKC


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.


No, I am not an active or retired service member.


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


Yes. My wife is a proud “military brat” who trained in advanced nursing at the VA and my father-in-law Tony is a retired, 100% disabled veteran. I also have three years-long friends that are military, and I hear their needs and concerns first-hand. Our military service members’ and families’ sacrifice is the reason Americans are free. The rights, healthcare needs, and benefits of all veterans who have served our country are very important to me.


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


Homelessness, quality healthcare, mental health care, affordable child care, and equal opportunities in work and education.


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.


- I have seen firsthand what the Homeless Alliance does for people, including our veterans. I would support any bill that increased services and funding to protect these populations. One of my big issues has always been protecting our veterans and making sure that they are respected within our community and our economy.


· I worked in the healthcare industry for 9 years and cared for a wide variety of patients at a top facility in our state. Legislation that concerns better access or treatment in quality care for Veterans will always be something that I champion.


- While there are many educational opportunities available to veterans, there are some scholarships that do not account for military service the way community service is addressed. I will work to make these issues known so that higher education facilities are more inclusive in the wording and requirements for their scholarship candidates. I believe that military service is one of the most, if not the best, ways to serve our communities.


- I know that continuing tax benefits for military widows is very important and I will definitely support and champion any legislation will positively affect military families.


Tegan Malone
Candidate for House of Representatives District 95


teganforok.com
facebook.com/teganforok

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.



 

For ALL Democratic candidates running for office in OK in 2022 please visit https://okdemocrats.org/2022-candidates/