By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Over 200 leaders with VOICE (Voices Organized In Civic Engagement) will hold an accountability session with candidates for State Representative District 97 on Sunday, June 12.
The event will take place at 5 p.m., at Prospect Baptist Church, 2809 N. Missouri Avenue. This is the first of a series of accountability sessions VOICE will hold for the 2016 legislative races.
VOICE is a coalition of 25 congregations and non-profits in the Oklahoma City metro area. The group works to develop the leadership skills of their own members to more effectively work within the democratic process with civic leaders and public officials on issues of concern to families.
“We cannot even begin to comprehend the damage done to families in this legislative session,” said Dr. Lee Cooper, pastor of Prospect Baptist Church. “In every area – health care, education, economic development – the cuts are too deep.”
The accountability session will highlight the stories of families in four areas: health care, education, economic development, and post-incarceration fines and fees.
During the event candidates will be asked to answer a series of questions related to these areas – some asking for specific commitments, and others asking for ideas to respond to enhance life in the district.
“We watched the legislature stand by in support of an automatic tax rollback for the wealthiest Oklahomans, and then turn around and pass emergency legislation in the last week of the session that doubled court costs for misdemeanors and felonies,” said Pastor Manning, pastor of the Divine Wisdom Worship Center.
“Tell me, if courts are a core service of government, how is that we are relying on fines and fees to pay for over two-thirds of the costs of running courts in our state?”
All candidates have been invited, and no endorsement of a candidate or party will be made by VOICE.
The next VOICE Action Fund accountability session will be held on Tuesday, June 21, at 7 p.m. at Edmond Trinity Christian Church, with candidates running for Senate District 41.
For more information, call Pastor Lee Cooper at 405-424-1795 or visit the website.