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Chief Resilience Officer in Tulsa Helping City Face Down Natural and Political Disasters

DeVon Douglass spoke with Laura Bliss about how she plans to help make the city more resilient, especially for those most at risk.
August 30, 2017, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Meagan

When Laura Bliss asked Devon Douglass how she planned to make Tulsa more resilient, Douglass starts by talking about students and schools: "We’ve had the lowest teacher salary and more cuts to public education than any state in the union since 2008. Across the state, we’re cutting programs, moving to four-day school weeks, taking away stuff these babies need." To face these challenges, Douglass talks about strategies to engage whole families at schools by making them the sites of services to train adult members of the family.

Douglass also talks about the way city government deals with political differences and how she squares her progressive politics and goals with Tulsa's Republican mayor's views, "When you have a mayor who has hired people of all different racial and economic backgrounds, folks who are and aren’t from Tulsa, and who brought in the last Democratic mayor as his chief of economic development—it allows people to see what politics could be like."

Douglass sees her role as someone who can give voice to those who might not otherwise be heard. "It’s part of my job is to amplify their voices and find out what they have to say, figure out strategies to help them, regardless of party, gender, and race," Douglass tells Bliss.

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Published on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in CityLab
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