As AFP’s Senior Vice President for State Operations, Teresa Oelke provides the strategic vision for an expansive, nationwide team. Across 36 state-based chapters, Oelke ensures the organization is optimally deploying its volunteer and staff assets to secure economic policy victories that give Americans greater freedom to chart a course for their own lives.
Oelke started with the organization in 2009 as a volunteer in Arkansas, and quickly helped AFP launch a chapter in the state. As State Director, her leadership on key policy battles in Little Rock led her to be elevated to Regional Director before AFP’s board of directors appointed her Vice President in 2013. Since then, she’s helped AFP to increase its ranks (up to 3.2 million activists in 2016), expand into new states, and integrate a field operation with the capacity to reach millions of Americans with timely, issue-based communications.
Oelke credits her parents for imbuing her with a passion for economic freedom.
“My mom is a first-generation American. My grandma received welfare her entire life. But because of the freedom and opportunity this country afforded them, with ten kids in tow, my parents were able to move our family out of poverty. History shows economic freedom is the best way for people to find opportunity and prosperity.”
Teresa also owns Oelke Construction Company in Springdale, Arkansas. Prior to joining AFP, she served on the marketing team at Crossland Construction and led the enrichment program for Roger’s First Baptist Christian School. She is a former member of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the Northwest Arkansas Association of Latino Professionals, and served on the advisory board of the Arkansas Association of Builders and Contractors.
Previously, Teresa served as Chief of Staff to Kansas House Speaker Tim Shallenburger among a number of other public and campaign roles.
Teresa has enjoyed a 22-year marriage to Tim Oelke, president of Oelke Construction. They reside with their three sons – Nick, Jake and Sam – in Springdale, Arkansas, where they’re active at Cross Church in Rogers. In their free time, they ride dirt bikes, run and enjoy zombie television programs.