Oklahoma teachers inspired to run for office - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Oklahoma teachers inspired to run for office

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Oklahoma candidates filed paperwork at the State Capitol on Wednesday. (KFOR) Oklahoma candidates filed paperwork at the State Capitol on Wednesday. (KFOR)

By LILI ZHENG
KFOR-TV

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Candidates filing for Oklahoma offices stood in long lines on Wednesday, and many of the 2018 political hopefuls are teachers.

"Even though I live in Norman, in what some consider a really great school district, I see us on a path to some of the other challenges like four-day school weeks," said House District 47 candidate Merelyn Bell.

Teachers like John Waldron say the statewide walkout over school funding has inspired them to run.

"This was not an event; it was a movement we saw created here at the Capitol," said Waldron, who is running for the House District 77 seat. "Teachers walked here from Tulsa. They gathered here from all over the state, and they're standing on street corners in their hometowns right now."

But others who were filing paperwork said they`re not simply not happy with the job being done by the Oklahoma Legislature. 

"I'm a foster mom and the daughter and granddaughter of educators and the sister of an educator here in Oklahoma," said Carly Hotvedt, who will be a candidate in House District 67. "I think it's abysmal the way that we have failed to fund our state services."

"It`s still nerve-wracking every time you put your name on the ballot," said State Rep. Collin Walke (D-District 87), who's running for re-election. "The teachers are here today, and that's important, because they're up here fighting for their students... they`re fighting for funding in the classroom, and that is so important because we've cut $250 million out of common ed, and we've only restored about 20 percent of those cuts."

State Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-District 39) wanted prospective candidates to know that being a lawmaker is more complicated than it might appear.

"A lot of times you have all these great ideas. You realize somebody's already had that idea in the past,  and there's a reason why it didn't come to fruition."

The Oklahoma teacher walkout continued for a ninth day on Thursday.

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