by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Turn on a TV or pick up a newspaper and you’ll see Oklahomans fed up with who’s representing them at the state capitol.
Thousands of educators from around the state marched on 2300 N. Lincoln recently to voice their displeasure of years of funding neglect.
Funding for most state agencies has been stripped bare.
Health care, including mental health services, for those who need it the most is often unavailable.
It all became too much for Devyn Denton, RN.
So instead of complaining the trauma nurse decided to do something about it, throwing her hat into the ring to represent House District 39 as a Democrat.
That seat is currently held by Rep. Ryan Martinez, a Republican who serves as the assistant majority whip.
Denton started her nursing career as a patient care tech at the age of 19. In 2010 she became a trauma nurse.
“I knew I wanted to do something that involved helping people and making a difference for my community,” she said.
Primaries are in June. Election day is November 6. But she’s got a lot of ground to cover.
Denton announced she would run last October on the state’s mental health save our services day.
“I think that everybody that needs mental health needs to be able to get it,” she said.
She is an active union member and a volunteer for veterans.
Denton grew up in rural Oklahoma, attended school in Tahlequah before pursuing her college degree at UCO. She grew up in a family of educators and military service members.
She now works as a nurse within the community and is the founder of a nonprofit serving those who serve our community.
Denton formed Operation Nurses Helping Nurses after witnessing the impact of a tornado in May 2013.
That organization has reached out numerous times during natural disasters in our state and man-made tragedies such as shootings in other states.
In the wake of the Orlando night club shooting in 2016, Denton’s organization created gift bags for the 210 Orlando Medical Center nurses and the 225 combined fire and police department responders.
Denton is dedicated to serving her community, both as a registered nurse and as a volunteer firefighter.
As an RN, she has seen first-hand how budget cuts affect the health and well-being of Oklahomans – from hospital closures in rural communities to Medicaid cuts that hurt our children and elderly.
As your representative, Denton says she will fight to protect Oklahoma’s most vulnerable and expand access to quality care throughout the state.
Increasing access to care is a primary focus. And that means expanding the role of nurse practitioners within their communities to increase access to health care in rural areas.
She knows that leadership must be able to foresee the future needs of a growing community like Edmond. Putting in place systems like public transit and statewide internet, not only serve to benefit the people of Oklahoma, but encourage economic development.
Her legislative focus will be to expand our state’s budget for transportation, water treatment, and focusing on Oklahoma’s rural communities that have been left behind.
As a mother of two she knows that equal access to quality education is Oklahoma’s key to prosperity.
She says she will fight to reverse years of cuts made to education from Pre-K to higher education and trade schools.
Her campaign believes that Oklahoma has abandoned our state educators.
Her goal is to equip teachers with the tools they need to nurture our children’s educational and emotional needs.
Denton comes from a long line of nurses and educators.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew that it had to help people,” she said.
She still remembers when her grandfather brought her to the polling station one day, hoisting her on his shoulders as he voted.
“He taught me how important it was,” Denton said.
She remembers when Jesse Jackson ran for president. Her mother worked in the campaign and Denton got to meet the leader when he came to the capitol.
So many advances, but so many setbacks for our state.
Denton embraces her entire heritage. She’s seeking to be the district’s first biracial female representative, drawing on her Choctaw heritage.
With a mother who worked for the Cherokee Nation and growing up on Cherokee soil, Denton didn’t understand until much later the importance of having Wilma Mankiller as her godmother.
Mankiller became the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee nation, leading for 10 years.
“I didn’t know the pieces of the puzzle until way later and I realized what an awesome human being she was and how magical and intense she was,” Denton said.
You can find out more about Denton online at devyndentonforhd39.com or on Facebook.
She’s currently seeking donations for her campaign.