Teachers' activism could boost Oklahoma's Democratic Party

Teachers' activism could boost Oklahoma's Democratic Party (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla (KTUL) - The teacher’s movement of spring 2018 could have a lasting impact on Oklahoma politics and not just when it comes to the activism of public employees.

Oklahoma Democrats think it could breathe new life into their party at a time when it is needed.

The Republicans have a big numerical advantage in the state legislature, but there are many new candidates signed up to run this year and many of them are filing as Democrats.

Many teachers are angry that they had to battle the Republican leaders at the Capitol for raises and to restore lost educational funding.

Chairperson Kimberly Fobbs told a Democratic lunch meeting on Friday that things are changing.

Fobbs said, "We've had people that have come through that are Republicans every single day that say, 'I want to change my party or I want to know how to get involved.'"

Fobbs is registered to run for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner.

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It was difficult to find anyone at the meeting, who wasn't running for something.

After long days of political struggle in Oklahoma City, some teachers are disillusioned with the GOP.

Tulsa teacher Kristin O'Dell said she's heard many conservative teachers express their concerns.

O'Dell said, "I don't know if you'll get too many who will just jump ship and vote Democrat now, but you'll get some who are not going to vote straight their party lines, because they know better."

Veteran Democrats are excited about the chance of having more balance in Oklahoma City.

State Senator Kevin Matthews of Tulsa said they’re anxious for the primary elections.

Matthews said, "Remember November, but June is soon. There's a lot of people that are coming to the Democrat party that are pro-teacher and pro-education, and we haven’t seen that for a long time."

This statewide walkout at the Capitol is sparking some change in one of the reddest states in the nation.

We contacted the Tulsa County Republican Party but have not heard back yet.