Oklahoma Voices

Dr. Larry Kincheloe speaks at the EXPLORE: Oklahoma Healthcare Summit in Norman on August 13, 2015.
Jim Johnson / KGOU


Oklahoma City’s location as a crossroads positions the metro  as a hotbed for human trafficking activity.

According to a Department of Justice reports from 2003, Oklahoma ranked fourth in the nation for the largest number of trafficking survivors in the United States. The top states were California, New York and Texas.

The intersection of major interstate highways like I-35, I-40 and I-44 means human traffickers move sex slaves and others involved in forced labor through Oklahoma City.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole / Flickr


President Barack Obama is seeking fast track approval from Congress to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership. If Congress grants the president fast track authority, the 12-country trade deal can be approved with a simple up or down vote, and there are no amendments or filibusters. This issue has some Republicans siding with Obama, while Democrats are largely against it.


U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) says the United States shouldn't "accommodate" Iran in ongoing nuclear talks.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Steve Russell’s new career is a lot different than his previous one. 

The first term Congressman from Oklahoma’s fifth district is settling into his new job after spending 21 years in the Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He served all over the globe, including in Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. His unit played a key role in the search for Saddam Hussein. Russell wrote a book about it, We Got Him! A Memoir of The Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.

KGOU’s Jacob McCleland spoke to Russell, a Republican, following a town hall meeting at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond on April 2, 2015.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Two lawmakers with a history of filing open records-friendly legislation gathered with supporters of government transparency to discuss recent legislative measures they said ran counter to the spirit of the state’s Open Records Act.


Unresolved issues tied to education, incarceration and mental health services will hamstring Oklahoma’s ability to remain among the nation’s top 5 fastest growing economies, a panel of government officials and economists concluded during the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s 2nd Annual State Budget Summit.

On January 29, OPI Director of Policy Gene Perry led the panel through “An Economic Check-Up” of the state’s current economic conditions and fiscal policies. 

Organized citizens of large cities can be a greater force of innovation in leadership than state or federal governments, according to the vice president of the Brookings Institution.

Bruce Katz discussed the premise of his book The Metropolitan Revolution during a January 28 event at the University of Central Oklahoma. He emphasized the country’s economic growth model needs to “get back to the fundamentals” without relying on state and federal governments to lead the way.

Shelly Deas, principal of Lee Elementary School in Oklahoma City, shows the school’s system for tracking achievement and improvement levels of each student. Students in blue are at the highest performing level; students in red are at the lowest.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

At Oklahoma State University’s annual Economic Outlook Conference last week, industry professionals criticized low teacher pay, but forecasted continued job growth in education and several other jobs through 2015.

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Deputy for Workforce Development Diedre Myers questioned how to best prepare Oklahomans for the surge. 

“What do our Oklahoma citizens need to do to have successful careers over their lifetime?” she asked.

Oklahoma Policy Institute


Education is a core service of Oklahoma’s state government, is woefully underfunded, and will cost the state future jobs if not addressed soon.

That’s the message of some panelists convened by the Oklahoma Policy Institute last month, which discussed Oklahoma’s burgeoning fiscal challenges.

University of Oklahoma College of Law

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told University of Oklahoma College of Law students that adversity and even failure are vital in building a career.

The justice finished a state speaking tour at the college on Friday, September 12, at the invitation of OU President David Boren. Sotomayor talked extensively with students, even leaving her seat on the stage to roam among them, sit with them, and take photographs with them.

Jim Johnson

Storytelling is an innate human trait.

Long before the written word, stories were conveyed audibly through voice and music, and/or visually through art. They were used to explain significant events like natural disasters, conflicts, and histories. Myths, legends, fairytales, fables, ghost stories, heroic tales, epic adventures, religions, and origin stories grew from acts of storytelling.