Out and running
Ikley-Freeman runs for open senate seat in Tulsa
by Rob Howard
“Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Everyone has to be involved for it to work the way it’s supposed to work,” says Allison Ikley-Freeman, the Democratic nominee for Oklahoma State Senator in a District 37 special election. “When we stop including our voice, we stop being represented. And when we’re not represented we start to not like the way things are going.”
A special election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14. The opening is the result of the resignation of Sen. Dan Newberry. District 37 includes much of northwest Tulsa county, including Sand Springs and Jenks.
Ikley-Freeman is a community mental health counselor at a non-profit in Tulsa. “I spend every day working with Oklahomans who are struggling to have their basic needs met. I spent a lot of my childhood and young adulthood on low income. It’s hard. You know they need help to survive.”
As a state Senator, health and mental health care will be a major focus for her. “For mental health, the stigma is more than just preventing people from seeking services, it’s preventing our state from adequately funding those services too,” she says in her platform.
Because of her career, she sees up-front the need for health care, housing, family services and education.
She says she is running because, “I saw an opportunity to be a voice for Oklahomans who didn’t have a voice. To be a legislator for people who felt like their voice wasn’t being heard. And to get people out and vote.”
Ikley-Freeman considers herself a liberal. “Which honestly is a bit of a disadvantage in our district, but I feel very liberally about a lot of issues. I think that is born out of empathy.”
District 37 has around 10,000 more registered Republican voters than Democrats. Her opponent is Brian O’Hara, who calls himself a conservative Republican.
Ikley-Freeman got married in April. “We have three children, my wife is an angel for being on board with my running for office.”
On LGBT+ issues, she says, “LGBT people are people, and people deserve to be treated equally and fairly and not have to worry about basic things such as safety. I think in our nation we are having a time when people of all sorts of minorities, religious, racial, every minority, that there is a part of their life when they just don’t feel safe.”
But she is not running as a ‘gay candidate’. She says, “Being gay is part of who I am and I don’t hide that. In Oklahoma City there are things we have to take care of that have nothing to do with being LGBT.”
As a final thought, Ikley-Freeman says of the District 37 fight, “Some would look at it and say that’s really a steep, hopeful stance. It’s absolutely a good chance to take it, to flip it.”
Her campaign team has fielded dozens of volunteers every weekend to turn out the vote. To learn more about Allison Ikley-Freeman and her stand on the issues, visit www.ally4ok.com. The election is November 14.
Copyright The Gayly – November 1, 2017 @ 12:20 p.m. CDT.