School Choice supporters victorious in Oklahoma legislative races

Supporters of parental choice in education and robust schooling options for children celebrated a wave of victories in state legislative races contested in Oklahoma’s November 3 elections. 

The American Federation for Children, described in a press release as “the nation’s voice for educational choice,” congratulated the school choice advocates elected in last week’s election. 

The federation is active across the United States. 
In 2017, the group sponsored a conference on school choice that drew diverse speakers and community leaders from across Oklahoma ( 
Recently, the federation scored several historic victories in more than three dozen districts in the national “battleground” state of Wisconsin. Additional notable advances for school choice came in Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.  

Jennifer Carter, Oklahoma Senior Advisor for the American Federation for Children, said, in a press release, sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations:

“Due to the continued closure of many schools to in-person learning, parental support for school choice is growing in Oklahoma, and that demand is translating into the election of more candidates from both political parties who support giving parents a greater array of educational options. Oklahoma has now seen several consecutive election cycles in which school-choice candidates gained ground and prevailed over opponents of school choice. There’s no stronger sign of public support for school choice than the ballot box.”

John Schilling, President, American Federation for Children, commented in the group’s press release: 

“We are seeing repeatedly in national and state polls that the vast majority from all different ethnicities, political backgrounds, and income levels support school choice. We are living in a time when COVID school closures are forcing a massive shift in the nation’s outdated education system and parents of school-aged children are demanding more options to ensure their children have access to a full-time, quality education.
Congratulations to all of the school choice champions who won in Oklahoma’s General Election, they truly listened to the needs of Oklahoma families! We look forward to these elected State Senators and Representatives continuing the fight to give lower income and special needs students every school choice option.”

The group congratulated the following “school choice champions: who were supported by the Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund and won election in this year’s primaries and general election based upon results posted at the time of release:

House District  3 – Rick West; H.D. 20 – Sherrie Conley; H.D. 29 – Kyle Hilbert; H.D. 40 – Chad Caldwell; H.D. 52 – Gerrid Kendrix; H.D. 65 – Toni Hasenbeck; H.D. 83 – Eric Roberts;
H.D. 90 – Jon Echols; and H.D. 99 – Ajay Pittman.

Also victorious in Tuesday’s balloting were Senate District 1 – Micheal Bergstrom; S.D. 15 – Rob Standridge; S.D. 17 – Shane Jett; S.D. 28 – Zack Taylor; S.D. 37 – Cody Rogers; S.D. 37 – Dave Rader; and S.D. 47 – Greg Treat
Senator Treat is president pro temporate of the Oklahoma state Senate, and a long-time champion of educational options for taxpayers and their children. 

Other school-choice supporters who have won election include: H.D. 11 – Wendi Stearman; H.D.  28 – Danny Williams; H.D. 43 – Jay Steagall; H.D. 5 5– Todd Russ; H.D. 64 – Rande Worthen; H.D. 95 – Max Wolfley; and H.D. 96 – Preston Stinson

The federation’s press release continued, “Not only did 23 school choice candidates win, but six incumbent opponents of choice were ousted this election cycle. The one common thread of incumbents losing in 2020 is that they opposed giving parents the right to choose the best educational opportunities for their children.”

Carter said, “The American Federation for Children is proud to see the number of candidates who champion a range of high-quality educational options for each and every child regardless of zip code, including everything from better public schools to homeschooling to charter schools to private schools. 
“Our congratulations go to these winners who are proving themselves committed allies of Oklahoma families.” 

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report, and selected the photographs published with the story.