Redistricting process completed

By Rep. Cynthia Roe

It's been a very busy few weeks both at the Oklahoma State Capitol and in House District 42.

I recently had the honor of being a panelist at the Oklahoma Psychological Association's Conference regarding mental health.

We discussed many of the barriers people face when trying to access mental health services, one of which is the lack of mental health providers in Oklahoma.

This is partially due to the lack of post-doctoral training programs in the state. When students attend a post-doctoral program in another state, it increases the likelihood that they will not return to practice in Oklahoma.

I also had the honor of being invited to the Oklahoma Academy's Mental Health Town Hall, which focused on the impact of mental health on children and families, Oklahoma's education system, our existing and future workforce, our criminal justice system and the productivity of Oklahoma businesses.

This was an intense three-day town hall where we worked in groups to address issues regarding mental health and wellness in Oklahoma, including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the long-term physical and mental health issues related to this trauma.

We also discussed drug addiction, homelessness and issues related to a lack of available, accessible services.

We must continue to work to improve mental health and wellness in Oklahoma. I've been in several meetings with other entities and stakeholders to discuss possible solutions to improve these outcomes. Several new avenues are already taking place and many new ones will come in the future.

At the Capitol, the Legislature just completed our decennial redistricting process and finalized the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts for the next 10 years.

After receiving wide support in both the House and Senate, the maps have now moved to the governor's desk. If he signs them into law, they will take effect in November 2022.

The Legislature was called by the governor into special session for the sole purpose of focusing on bills related to redistricting, and the state constitution prohibits the consideration of any issues not in the special session call.

We anticipated earlier this year having to come into special session for redistricting because our census data from the U.S. Census Bureau was delayed due to the pandemic.

Before I wrap up, I also want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones as we gather to remember everything we have to be thankful for and to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

Thank you for the honor of representing House District 42 in the Oklahoma House!

(Rep. Cynthia Roe, a Republican, serves District 42 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Garvin and McClain counties.)

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