Oklahoma teachers will continue their fight at Capitol after wins in midterm election
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - Oklahoma teachers don't feel defeated, despite the loss of the candidate they backed in the governor's race.
That's because 16 teachers were elected to the state legislature Tuesday night.
In the last session, there were just nine of them, so in the next, there will be a total of 25.
Despite the loss of Democrat Drew Edmondson to Governor-elect Kevin Stitt, they plan to make changes to improve our Oklahoma schools.
Among the fresh faces in Oklahoma City will be an assistant principal from Bixby High School.
Melissa Provenzano is the Democrat who was elected to House District 79, which surrounds Woodland Hills Mall in southeast Tulsa.
She said winning the election was a bit of a shock.
Provenzano added, "It was a little overwhelming, and my legs started shaking, and I took a minute to get myself under control, because it was hard to hear, process, believe for a minute or so, and then it was game on!"
She speaks with a quiet determination and says last spring's teachers' walkout inspired her to run.
Provenzano believes teachers can deliver in the legislature, because they can collaborate, share ideas and reach a consensus.
"I think I'll bring a tenacity to the state house," she said. "We can't forget about education and families in Oklahoma."
The teachers will be joined by other new lawmakers who share their goals.
Denise Brewer is the Democrat who was elected in House District 71, which is in the Brookside area.
Brewer took part in the walkout. and then teachers became her campaign volunteers.
She said she'd be disappointed if they can’t work with the GOP to make real changes.
"Then, we fail. We fail our kids. We fail all the kids of Oklahoma going to school every day or four days a week."
The teachers think the Republican power structure now understands they're serious.
Our new governor said he's ready to boost school funding and deal with the Democrats.
"They're just problems. Let’s just attack those as Oklahomans. So, I want to bring all four million Oklahomans together and make sure that they know they have a brighter future."
At the GOP election watch party in Oklahoma City Tuesday night, there was also a lot of talk about improving our schools.
The intentions are there for both sides, but now, they must agree on funding.