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Joy Hofmeister, the first Oklahoma Democratic candidate for Governor to put up a serious challenge in nearly two decades, graced voters in Historic Greenwood District on Wednesday.
Stepping off the bus, an excited crowd welcomed Hofmeister to Black Wall Street, as she urged residents to get out the vote early and on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, a North Tulsa native, said it was her pleasure to introduce Hofmeister to the diverse crowd.
“This is my hometown, and I am grateful to be here on the first day of early voting,” Hofmeister, who is also the outgoing State Superintendent of Public Instruction, told the crowd.
Reiterating her campaign’s focus on quality education, safe and healthy communities, workforce development, and eliminating corruption, Hofmeister urged residents to encourage their friends and family to vote.
“We need world class schools. It starts with teachers and everybody that’s there to support student learning,” Hofmeister told the crowd. She blasted incumbent Republican Governor Stitt’s plan to privatize education through a voucher program, calling it a “rural school killer.”
“You kill the school, you kill the community,” she added.
When asked why she came to Greenwood, Hofmeister told The Black Wall Street Times Tulsa it’s about preparing for a better future.
“I grew up in Tulsa. You never heard about the Tulsa Race Massacre,” Hofmeister responded. “As State Superintendent we taught and included the Tulsa Race Massacre within our academic standards. And we worked with the Commission and historians to also embed primary source documents in elementary, middle and high school.
In a state that has banned books and passed legislation limiting how race is taught, Hofmeister said “we can’t go backwards.”
“I want the message to teachers to be that we want our children to have the best education, which includes teaching those things that do make people uncomfortable, but they are accurate reflections of the history as God witnessed it,” she said.
Joy Hofmeister seeks to kick Stitt out of the Governor’s Mansion
Hofmeister, who switched from Republican to Democrat in 2021 to run against Stitt, has closed the gap in recent weeks, with multiple local polls showing her at or ahead of Governor Stitt among likely voters.
Maureen Tarber is a lifelong resident of Historic Greenwood who attended Wednesday’s rally for Joy Hofmeister.
“I’m trying to help her win this thing. I love Joy. She’s the right person for this job,” Tarber told The Black Wall Street Times.
When asked what would happen if voters don’t show up to the polls for Joy, Tarber put it bluntly.
“If they don’t, this state gone’ be screwed. Schools, education, everything will be taken away. We need her,” Tarber said.
As voters begin to vote early on Wednesday, both candidates are on tours across the state vying for support from Oklahomans.
Yet, while Joy’s stop in Greenwood was met with enthusiastic support, Stitt’s campaign has recently faced heat from his own constituents.
Greenwood residents warm up to Joy for Governor as Kevin Stitt faces heat
At a recent campaign stop in the rural town of Seiling, Stitt argued with the very voters he was trying to court, according to a report from the Frontier.
As a local newspaper publisher grilled him over his private school voucher plan, he showed signs of irritation.
“I’m not cutting [public school] expenditures bro,” Stitt shot back.
Stitt’s plan would allow parents to use public school funding toward private school tuition.
“I’m just asking you what the truth is …. and you won’t tell anybody the facts,” Paul Laubach, publisher of the Dewey County Record said.
“I’m giving you the truth,” Stitt responded. “And I’ve answered about five of your questions so now I’m going to talk to real people.”
Meanwhile, Joy Hofmeister remains in striking distance of unseating Stitt from office.
“She’s down. She don’t care, she’ll fight you. Republican, Democrat, if you’re wrong you’re wrong,” Tarber said.
Editor’s note: The Black Wall Street Times Editorial Board has endorsed Joy Hofmeister for Oklahoma Governor.