Tuesday’s election brought Tammy Townley to a historic role as the first woman to assume the District 48 seat for Oklahoma’s State House.
As a freshman representative, Townley said she has a huge learning curve.
“I’ve never been in politics before,” Townley said. “I want to learn about the majority of the issues before I start trying to attack or change anything. We know things have to be changed, that’s not a secret to anybody. I definitely want to learn.”
Townley said while she is looking forward to delving into those issues, her priorities include education and infrastructure.
“Education, of course, has to be one of the biggest priorities,” Townley said. “We have to get more money into the classroom. My goal is for no teacher to have out of pocket expenses. Everything should be fully funded — that should be non-negotiable.”
Another goal, Townley said, is employment. “One of my highest priorities is to bring quality, high-paying jobs to Southern Oklahoma. I believe our education system will need to be shored up to be attractive to large companies. Companies look at the quality of life before bringing in big business. Young families are going to want to see a strong education system before moving here.”
Failed state question 801, which would have allowed certain voter-approved property taxes to fund school district operations, could make a reappearance. Townley said she had no problem with a percentage of the tax funds being used to fund other education needs, with some stipulations. “I do think we have to ear mark it for particular things, where it can’t just go into some big general fund,” Townley said. “I totally trust our school boards; however, I also feel like that we have got to designate where that funding goes if we do the ad valorem thing.”
A second priority, Townley said, is infrastructure. “I feel like we need to get more money back into our roads and bridges. We had moved, I want to say about $30 million, from our roads and bridges. I think that needs to be replaced because we cannot let our infrastructure crumble.”
While healthcare is at the forefront of many legislative discussions, Townley said she does not feel changes like those proposed in another failed state question, SQ793 regarding optometric practice in retail establishments, require constitutional alterations. “I feel like any changes that need to be made in terms of eye care can be done legislatively,” Townley said. “If the people are desiring something they get down in Texas, I think we can do that with a legislative fix, not a constitutional fix,” Townley said.  
State Question 794, also known as Marsy’s law, that did make the cut with Oklahoma voters, Townley said was a step in the right direction, though she did not agree with some of the verbiage in the original form.
“There’s a lot of things people have already started coming to me with,” Townley said. “I’m going in looking at the big picture.”
According to the unofficial numbers reported by the 20 Oklahoma precincts in House District 48, Townley took the seat with 63.21 percent of the 10,319 ballots cast.