Oklahoma Engaged

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Sue Campbell and her husband David stand under a tree at a dog park along a busy highway near Lake Hefner. Their dog is here, too — a 3-year-old ball of furry energy named Louie.

“Louie is a miniature schnauzer and Staffordshire terrier mix,” Sue said.

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Tyler Clifton collapses onto a couch after a long day at the furniture store he manages in downtown McAlester. It’s the same couch where he occasionally interviews people for Facebook videos he calls “The McAlester Leadership Series.”

“Everybody that's asked me about the leadership series, what eventually comes up is they say, ‘What's the motive behind it?’” Clifton said. “Well I didn't really have a motive behind it other than I wanted people in McAlester to know what their leaders were thinking, and I wanted to know, too, if I'm going to be here long term.”

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

If you follow your nose to the back of Boots Cafe, you’ll run into swinging wood doors hanging underneath a metal script sign of the word ‘Blessed.’

Inside, you’ll find the kitchen and a staff of two, including owner Sylvia Wilson who immediately recites the days special: “We got loaded baked potatoes today, we got lasagna and salad …”

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

People over 65 are the most likely to vote. They’re also the group that’s most likely to point to government issues — like mismanaged taxpayer money — as their biggest political concern, according to a poll commissioned by Oklahoma public radio stations.

Martha Buehring, a 71-year-old Republican and former military wife, is one of many older Oklahomans who are frustrated with the state budget.

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

Women are a key constituency for both of Oklahoma’s major political parties, and an increasing number of women are running for office. But data suggest a majority of Oklahoma women are disappointed with both major political parties.

About 55 percent of women who responded to a political attitudes survey commissioned on behalf of stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project viewed the Democratic party unfavorably compared to about 60 percent for Republicans. That trend is reversed for men, who viewed Democrats more unfavorably.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Long before the Tonight Show, late night TV icon Johnny Carson was hosted a game show entitled “Who Do You Trust?”

If this show was still on the air today, and the topic was “Oklahoma Government,” it would likely be difficult to stretch contestants’ answers into the half-hour program. That’s because, data show, Oklahomans’ answers would be “no one.”

Claire Donnelly / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Kay Wallace holds up a denim Gucci jumpsuit as she sorts through a pile of clothes behind the counter of her shop in downtown Wewoka.

“Of course it’s not my size —it’s an extra large,” she said. “This is one of my favorites.”

Wallace’s store, My Second Closet, sells new and gently used high-end clothing and accessories. She has owned the business, which she says caters to everyone “from fashionistas to cowboys,” since 2012.

Our collaborative election project Oklahoma Engaged is not solely focused on informative and in-depth radio stories. We also want to strip away all extraneous information and get down to the bare bones of state questions. And to do that, we again commissioned videos from Blake Behrens of Radfive Creative.

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma voters will pick their primary candidates on June 26 and weigh in on a state question about legalizing medical marijuana. The political heat will build through the summer with high-profile endorsements, big-money ad blitzes and campaign promises.

And while a lot of political journalism starts with politicians, reporters at NPR member stations in Oklahoma are working together to change the conversation.

Robot House Creative

With the 2018 election cycle underway, Oklahoma’s public service radio journalism organizations have brought their newsrooms together to launch Oklahoma Engaged: Project Public Office.

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