Jessica Garvin had never considered running for a political office higher than city council or school board — “if I got a wild hair might run for mayor?” but she never gave it much thought until the last several months she was encouraged to throw her hat into the ring for Oklahoma State Senate District 43.
“About four months ago I was nominated to be a spring cohort of the Oklahoma Leadership exchange,” she said. “That just being with the people who were in the leadership exchange academy, it just floored me the people we have leading our state and it’s just a really exciting time in politics right now with Kevin Stitt and Matt Pinnell. They are just doing a lot of really great things for the state of Oklahoma.”
Garvin joked she actually started college as a political science major but quickly realized she didn’t want to be an attorney or strategist and changed majors. But the long asleep interest had been renewed.
“I started getting approached to run for State Senate, at first it was one person and I thought ‘oh how sweet’” she said. “The next day I was looking across the table at (my boss) Jeff Gregston at work and I said ‘You are never going to guess what happen’ and he was like ‘what?’ and I said ‘Well I got a call last night and somebody asked me to run for state senate’ and I just looked at him and I started laughing.”
“He was just staring at me so solemn and I said ‘I’m not going to do it, it’s ridiculous,’ and he said ‘I don’t think it’s ridiculous, I think you really need to think about it.’”
Garvin said that was the “shocker” moment because someone she respects really thought she could do that.
The support continued and Garvin said she felt like God was calling her.
“I spent a lot of time praying about it, talking to my family … people I know I could confide in,” she said. “Kept thinking someone would sit down with me and say ‘I know you are considering this and it’s really cute but it’s not something you should do’ and I’ve been waiting for that moment for six months and so far no one has.”
Garvin said “there were several God things” like a call from a friend out of state, working with her children at home and all the spelling words were political related. But the final sign was the lesson at church.
“I remember walking into church and I still hadn’t really made up my mind what I was going to do,” she said. “The Bible lesson was about 2 Samuel 7 which is about when Nathan is telling David that ‘God’s going to make you a ruler, He’s going to protect your family’ and He’s giving all these promises from God to David. It was just too much and I thought this just can’t be a coincidence.”
So the licensed assisted living administrator, licensed nursing home administrator and co-founder of Bison Health Management announced she would run on the Republican ticket.
“I think it is the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I just have a lot of peace about it,” she laughed.
Garvin said she is a Republican but hopes to be more than just her party since she could potentially represent everyone in portions of Garvin, Grady, McClain and Stephens counties.
“I’m going to work hard and I am going to do what I need to do and do what I can do to find out what people want as representation,” she said. “I don’t necessarily know what my ‘platform’ is. I haven’t sat down and developed it and the reason is because I am republican but I think it’s silly for people in the district to vote for me because I am a republican. I think people in the district should be able to tell me the things that concern this district.”
While Garvin is a health professional and would be happy to lend that expertise to the cause, she also wants to become more educated in other areas which impact that area like oil and gas, energy and more.
“Oklahoma’s turnaround has started, and I am dedicated to continue that by helping to improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans, continuing to improve the education system, pursuing improvements to our state’s infrastructure, and making critical improvements to rural healthcare and mental health, which affects the residents in District 43,” she said.
Garvin was raised in Marlow and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Communication. She resides in Duncan with her husband of 11 years, Stephen, an employee of the Department of Human Services and their three children, Brooks, 8, Kollins, 5, and Tress 1.