A series of video interviews with Oklahomans about subjects that relate to the state’s most significant issues. The 2016-2017 series is sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation and is made possible by a grant from the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Keith Gaddie: Dissecting Oklahoma Politics

Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the nation. What gives rise to that conservative culture, and where is the state headed politically? University of Oklahoma Professor Keith Gaddie offers insights.


Debbie Aldridge: Running a Prison for Women

Debbie Aldridge worked for more than 20 years at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Now she runs Oklahoma’s largest prison for women, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud.


Barry Switzer: Overcoming Personal Trauma

Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer reflects on the trauma and family turmoil he experienced as a young man.


Bob Blackburn: Oklahoma’s Rural-Urban Divide

Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, talks about the state’s rural-urban fault lines and whether Oklahoma is at a turning point in dealing with rural areas’ increasing problems.


Nicole Washington: A Refuge for the Mentally Ill

Dr. Nicole Washington, the main psychiatrist at Family and Children’s Services in Tulsa, discusses the types of low-income clients she sees, the persistent problem of stigma, and mental illness in low-income neighborhoods.


Rick Bayless: Our Relationship with Food

Renowned chef and entrepreneur Rick Bayless grew up in Oklahoma City. He talks about the obesity epidemic in his home state and people’s unhealthy relationship with food. And “I am a huge believer in ‘all food is good food.'”


Greg Burns: The Artist Undeterred

Born with a severe joint disorder, Greg Burns built a successful career and life as an artist by learning to paint holding a brush in his mouth. He considers himself lucky and says communities still do not fully embrace the disabled.


Kelli O’Hara: The Importance of Arts in Schools

Broadway star and Oklahoma native Kelli O’Hara talks about how exposure to the arts makes a difference in people’s lives and how she has had to deal with assumptions about artistic ability because she’s from Oklahoma.


Aspasia Carlson: Transforming Troubled Schools

Named as principal of the year, Aspasia Carlson talks about her efforts to turn around Oklahoma City’s John Marshall Mid-High School, which had a history of difficulties dating back to the era of busing.


Michael Brooks-Jimenez: In Defense of Latino Immigrants

The Oklahoma City attorney, who represents many immigrants in federal and state courts, talks about how Latino immigrants and culture benefit the state.