OCCC alumna running for seat in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives

October 14, 2016 Featured Slider, News Print Print
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mary-newcome-hatchJust a few years ago, Mary Newcome Hatch was a new student at Oklahoma City Community College.

Today, she is the Democratic Party’s nominee for House of Representative District 54 (see District Map here).

“I went to OCCC between 2010 and graduated in 2013,” she said. “It was some of the best time of my life. It’s what got me started to where I’m headed now with the House of Representatives.”

Now an OCCC alumnus, Newcome Hatch is running for the District 54 seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by Republican Paul Wesselhoft, who is being forced to retire because of term limits.

Newcome Hatch faces Republican candidate, Kevin West, and Elizabeth Larios, an Independent. The seat is considered a must-hold for state Republicans.

Newcome Hatch said she knows the race is an uphill battle. But that fight, she said, is a battle worth fighting.

“I’m aware of the backlash of some of my policies that I want to enact,” she said. “But I think they’re important. I mean, corporate greed is corporate greed, right? But people will always be scared of change so that’s why we need to do it slowly.”

Newcome Hatch said education is a key component of her platform.

“There’s plenty of topics that I feel strongly about but, if I had to pick the one that I felt the strongest about, it’d have to be towards the schools,” she said. “With the education system the way it is now, it would be ridiculous to continue to fund private charter schools. We could, honestly, be funding public schools and educating the kids that need it. Educating the public is and should be one of the main focuses in this campaign. Or any campaign for that matter.”

She said she would also work to reform the state’s criminal justice system and push back against what she called the involvement of religious practice in public school.

“I chock it up to my upbringing in Oregon,” she said. “I was always raised in a family that was more liberal so you could imagine the cultural shock when I first came to Oklahoma. That being said, I love this state very much. I think that’s why I want to help it as much as I want to.”

Newcome Hatch pointed to her tenure at OCCC as one of the reasons she sought public office.

“It’s funny to think that, at one point, I was a business major just getting my degree,” she said. “Really, my goal was to get my degree so that I could better understand what was going on but I caught the political bug quickly.”

At OCCC, Newcome Hatch mixed politics with her business classes. She and Jorge Krzyzaniak, another OCCC student and now lab assistant for the Pioneer newspaper, became active in the Occupy Movement.

“Jorge and I were like the ‘Occupy Wall-Street’ of the school back when I was here,” she said. “I’d have to say it was between that and a movie I saw when I was in my political science class called ‘Iron-Jawed Angel’ which was a movie about the struggles of the women suffragettes. If they could make change, I knew I could too.”

After she had graduated from OCCC in 2013 Newcome Hatch attended the University of Science and Arts at Chickasaw. She graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in a double major in history and political science. She also attended the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Summer Seminar in 2014.

“I urge anyone, regardless if you’re looking for running for office or not, to go to this seminar. It teaches you to get your info from the people, not the gut,” she said. “If anything, it solidified what I already believed. It made me realize that I had a purpose to run for office.”

Oklahoma voters will make their choices for the state House of Representatives and dozens of other offices during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

 

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