Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: August 19, 2014
Social policy consultant Star Parker speaks on welfare reform alongside
Sen. Rob Standridge
(R-Norman) and Rep. Tom Newell (R-Seminole) at a recent OCPA forum.
Legislators focus on welfare reform in Oklahoma
Three state legislators are working with a conservative
think tank to ensure that welfare is used as the temporary safety
net that it was designed to be rather than a long term crutch. Last
week, Sen. Rob
Standridge worked with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
(OCPA) in hosting a forum on welfare reform in Oklahoma along with
Rep. Jason Nelson and Rep. Tom Newell. The featured speaker was
conservative political activist Star Parker who discussed her visionary
ideas on empowering those trapped in the welfare system.
Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal
and Education (CURE) in Washington, D.C., which works to create
a national dialogue on issues of race and poverty. Parker opposes
many welfare programs believing that instead of teaching people
how to take care of themselves, they create a system of government
reliance and helplessness. Parker had seven years of first-hand
experience in the grip of welfare dependency. Now, as a social policy
consultant, she works with policy makers on how to transition America's
poor from government dependency.
“I am extremely encouraged and excited that, amidst all of
the political noise in the nation today, Senator Standridge is focused
and deliberate about helping those most vulnerable. I look forward
to working closely with him and his office to help those struggling
to prosper and live in peace in this great nation of ours. Under
Senator Standridge’s leadership, Oklahoma could be a model
to help save the country.”
As Vice Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee,
Standridge has been a strong advocate of welfare reform authoring
numerous measures to address Oklahomans’ growing reliance
on government assistance.
“I enjoyed hearing Star Parker’s ideas for how to help
strengthen individuals and families and get them off of welfare.
When it was created welfare was intended to only be temporary assistance
for the disabled and elderly and it has become a crutch for all
ages and that has to stop,” said Standridge, R- Norman. “Part
of being fiscally responsible is ensuring that all citizens have
the education and skills needed to be contributing members of our
society. The strength of our economy depends on this. I’m
looking forward to continuing our efforts to reform Oklahoma’s
welfare system and putting some of Star’s ideas to work in
legislation for the upcoming session.”
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will be conducting
an interim study this fall on Oklahoma’s welfare-to-work programs
and the long term impacts of House Bill 2388, which allows DHS to
deny Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to
applicants found using controlled substances.
Nelson, who is the House Deputy Majority Floor Leader, serves as
a member of both the House Appropriations and Budget Committee and
Conference Committee on Health and Human Services.
“Star Parker's story is inspiring and her call to action compelling.
Her call to provide our most vulnerable citizens with equal opportunities
in education and to partner with families who want to work their
way up the economic ladder resonated with me,” said Nelson,
R-Oklahoma City. “I look forward to continuing to work with
my colleagues to expand these important opportunities. I'm grateful
that Star is willing to invest her time and energy in Oklahoma and
look forward to working with her.”
Newell serves as the Chair of the Conference Committee on Health
and Human Services as well as the Appropriations and Budget Committee
on Health and Human Services.
“A system once thought to help people when they’re in
temporary need has become a big-government bureaucracy that has
entrapped entire families for several generations now,” said
Newell, R-Seminole. “Once well-meaning, America’s welfare
system only serves to trap people and remove any motivation to get
off the system and find gainful employment. It’s a cycle that
must be broken somehow, and I believe Star Parker’s ideas
on how to accomplish that could revolutionize the system. Also,
it could provide true light for people who don’t want the
government to take care of them, but want to be self-sufficient.
It was an honor to discuss with Star what can be done to ensure
the welfare system goes back to being a temporary safety net and
not a catch-all way of life.”
The legislators will be working together to introduce strong welfare
reform measures in the 2015 legislative session. The bill request
deadline will be in early December.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Standridge: (405) 521-5535