“Regardless of the trials we face, I have hope. To build the future we want, we need leadership for the new decade. My priority isn’t the next election; it’s the next generation of Oklahomans. I want to raise my family in the same community that raised a foster kid into the man I am today. As your representative, I will honor my faith with my work, defend the Constitution, and fight for western Oklahoma every single day.”
- Austin Gipson-Black
Austin Gipson-Black of Texola has declared his candidacy for Oklahoma’s State House in District 55.
“My story started when my twin brother and I were taken into DHS custody at two months old. After two years of being in foster care we were adopted by our parents, Kevin Black and Teressa Gipson. My dad worked as a teacher at Elk City High School for 27 years where he taught thousands of kids the importance of education and government. My mom worked for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for 35 years where she greeted and helped guide every tourist who came through our beautiful state. My parents have lived lives dedicated to public service and taught me the importance serving others, as well as, the importance of community, faith, hard work, and service above self.”
After graduating from Erick High School, Austin earned a B.A. in Religion & Philosophy and a B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma City University. After college, he attended the Ronald Reagan Foundation’s American Studies Program in Washington, D.C., where he researched national and global economics, free trade, and civil rights. He attended briefings by members of Congress and the Trump administration as part of the Reagan Foundation’s work in these areas. Through these experiences, Austin learned the values of freedom, accountability, and access to opportunity.
“I am running because we need leadership for the new decade and I have hope that we can bring working policies back to Oklahoma. Every two years we hear a lot about how education, healthcare, and other policies need to be improved, but nothing ever gets done, because we keep sending the same people to make the same mistakes. Recently, this has made people lose hope.”
“Public policy is personal for me. Having been a foster child myself, I understand the hardships that at-risk kids endure, but also what it’s like to hope for something better. It’s the same kind of hope my older brother had when he fought the war in Iraq that his efforts would secure freedom for his country and his community. It is the same kind of hope my dad had when he began teaching in Elk City that his students would go on to lead educated and productive lives. It's the same kind of hope my nephew has that he too will be able to be successful despite the challenges he faces in the classroom. This is the hope I will work to bring back to western Oklahoma, because it's the hope that keeps us all working toward something better. It's what we need so we can meet the challenges of the 2020's head on."
Today, Austin is a member of the Erick First United Methodist Church, a volunteer at the Regional Food-Bank of Oklahoma, and a volunteer at Focus on Home – an organization that assists with transition housing for struggling families. He now attends OCU School of Law. He has worked for a land and title firm, a cyber security firm, and as a law clerk. Additionally, Austin worked as a legislative reporter for the Journal Record at the state capitol. While reporting at the Capitol, he read hundreds of bills in their entirety and saw the ways government fails Oklahomans.
“Western Oklahomans do not have the same access to opportunity that urban Oklahomans do. Whether it is through tax policy, healthcare, veterans affairs, or education, I know there is work to be done for western Oklahomans and I am here to step up to get the job done.”
"Representation for District 55 has fallen short over the past decade. For our communities to be successful again we must elect leadership for the new decade. Leadership that will invest in families, children, veterans, and common sense policies that will put our tax dollars to work."
“I believe there is a lot of work to be done in our state and that is why I am running in this election. The values that will guide my campaign are Freedom, Accountability, and Access to opportunity."
Freedom is a value that our country and our state hold sacred. It is a value that means teachers have the ability to go to work and make a living wage without worrying about having the resources to effectively teach our children. Freedom means that families can make tough medical decisions without having to worry only about how much a procedure may cost. It includes the ability of people and workers to organize without fear of their rights being taken away. A lot of people think freedom means we can do whatever we want. I say freedom means we have a choice; a choice to do what is right and a choice to do what is wrong - It is time to chose to do what is right.
Accountability is a value that is paramount to the success of government, because it ensures politicians work for the people. Accountability means politicians are available and hold town halls so peoples' voices can be heard and have their questions answered. It means the state spends our hard-earned taxes responsibly while not giving tax breaks to out of state corporations who don’t employ Oklahomans or benefit our state in any way. Finally, it means that government works for the people.
Access to opportunity means that our communities are be able to thrive. Access to opportunity means making our communities a place where people want to start a family and raise children. This includes making investments; not just for short term solutions, but investments that make the lives of our children and grandchildren better. It means that children are given a quality education and shown the opportunities that lay beyond graduation and have a true shot at either earning a degree or earning a job out of high school. Access to opportunity means that people have access to quality education and affordable healthcare, no matter where they live. It includes effective programs for veterans and provides needed services upon their return from fighting for our country overseas.”
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Authorized and Paid for by Gipson-Black for House 2020