OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City southsider, former Fox 25 News TV reporter and media professional Joe Griffin announced his intention to seek election to House District 92 Monday.
Griffin recently stepped down as press secretary and director of communications for Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman to focus on bringing jobs and opportunity to his community.
“From the people working in the factories and high rises to the kids getting snow cones on South Walker Avenue, House District 92’s neighborhoods are filled with some of the most hard working, honest and caring people in this city,” said Griffin. “Everyone wants a better life for their children, good paying jobs, and a safe place to live. For too long, the needs of our district have been skipped over and people deserve to be represented by someone who is willing to fight and can deliver.”
Griffin grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Baltimore, and is the first generation in his family to go to college. His father, a Vietnam veteran, and his mother, a secretary and daughter of a police officer, raised Griffin with the values of family, faith and hard work. Instilled with the belief that you get what you put in, he began working as a dishwasher at 15, and after graduating college, he embarked on a career that allowed him to travel the country as a TV reporter and media professional before making Oklahoma his home.
Griffin, a Republican, said his top priority is bringing jobs to urban areas where good paying jobs with benefits are needed the most.
“Downtown is booming, but many of the surrounding neighborhoods, including the Southside, are still lagging in growth and opportunity,” said Griffin. “We need good-paying jobs with benefits for hardworking Oklahomans, and we need to make sure that job-creation efforts include workers, such as manufacturing and service-oriented companies. This can only be achieved by someone who can work with their fellow legislators and with business.”
Griffin said reducing crime in his community will also be a major point of focus, especially violent crime.
“As a reporter, I covered crime and victim issues, and I have seen what works and what doesn’t,” said Griffin, who recently started a Neighborhood Watch in his own neighborhood. “We need effective leadership that can bring together law enforcement, community leaders and common-sense policies. Gangs and criminal organizations have taken a foothold in several pockets of our city. Drug and sex trafficking have increased over the years, and the many abandoned houses and buildings plaguing our area attract criminal elements. The citizens that I talk to are frustrated, and they want someone in office who will take the safety of their families and their communities seriously.”
Griffin said he would advocate for a “smart-on-crime” approach to non-violent offenders that involves expanding drug courts, ensuring that our juvenile justice system is working to help troubled youths rather than institutionalizing them and alternative sentencing and rehabilitation for non-violent offenders so they have family and community support.
Another issue that is key to improving the quality of life for the people of HD 92, is making sure ALL Oklahoma children have access to a quality education and are prepared for the working world.
“Businesses want educated employees who can think critically, communicate effectively and solve problems quickly,” said Griffin. “But we have real challenges in our schools. Our teachers feel disrespected and our students feel hopeless. We need to show our teachers how important they are by improving salaries, and we need to develop strategies that will get more of our education dollars into the classroom.
“We also need to increase expectations for our students. Our kids are not dumb; they have the ability to meet challenges, so we need to challenge them. The state has also yet to fully address the children who struggle to read and suffer from language barriers in many of our schools. Parents who are working two or three jobs in HD 92 are sending their kids to school so they can have a better life, and we are falling short due to politics and interest groups getting in the way of their children’s success. These interest groups and policy wonks can get as philosophical as they want, but people in HD 92 are brass tacks and reality sort of people, and so am I. If something will help our kids succeed, go for it. The people in the alphabet-named associations have the luxury of already having an education. Our kids don’t.”
Griffin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Filmmaking from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism/Communications from Towson University. He is currently working on a law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law. Griffin and his family attend St. James Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, and he is an active adult leader with Boy Scout Troop 179.
Elections for Oklahoma House District 92 will be held along with other major elections in June of 2016. You can find more information about all the candidates on FortySix News 2016 Elections page.