The Norman Transcript

State/Region

November 23, 2012

Women rare commodity in Okla. Legislature

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma has a female governor and was the first in the nation to elect a woman to statewide political office, but when it comes to electing women to the Legislature, the state ranks among the worst in the nation.

Only 12.8 percent of Oklahoma’s 149 state lawmakers are women, ranking the state 48th in the nation based on membership before the 2012 elections, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. Oklahoma’s ranking is unlikely to move as a result of this year’s elections, since there were no net gains for women in the Legislature, which now has four women in the 48-member Senate and 15 females in the 101-member House.

“Obviously, given Mary Fallin is governor, it’s not that voters won’t elect a woman to office,” said Sara Jane Rose, the president and founder of Sally’s List, an organization dedicated to electing progressive women to office in Oklahoma. “It’s just that women haven’t been running.

“If you sit at the right angle in the Senate gallery, you can’t even see any women on the floor. I have no aspirations to run for office, but if I did, I would feel a bit overwhelmed by the lack of women down there.”

Oklahoma was assured its first female governor in 2010 after Fallin won the Republican nomination for governor and former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins secured the Democratic nod. Oklahoma has three other female statewide elected officials, all Republicans: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi and Corporation Commissioners Dana Murphy and Patrice Douglas.

Oklahoma also has a history of electing women to major posts. In 1907 — before women could even vote — Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to elect a woman to statewide office when Kate Barnard was picked for Charities and Corrections commissioner. And in 1920, Oklahoma Republican Alice Mary Roberts became just the second woman in the country elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Also, former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller was the first female chief of the Oklahoma-based tribe, a position she held from 1985 to 1995.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Scam targets migrants

    HOUSTON — Scammers have been preying on the relatives of unaccompanied young migrants being held at two U.S. military bases by conning them into paying nonexistent fees to be reunited with their loved ones, officials said....

    July 27, 2014

  • Trial delayed for man in murder case

    DUNCAN — The first-degree murder trial of a Velma man charged with killing a 16-year-old girl has been delayed until January....

    July 27, 2014

  • Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

    OKLAHOMA CITY — One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. What some consider a far-flung ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Man found dead outside Tulsa home

    TULSA — Police in Tulsa are investigating the death of a man whose body was found outside a house on the city’s north side....

    July 27, 2014

  • McCain: Arizona execution ‘torture’

    TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture....

    July 26, 2014

  • Okla. food pantries struggle to meet demand

    TULSA — Food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across Oklahoma are scrambling to meet demand for food from, among other groups, kids left in the lurch because they can’t get the free and discounted meals offered when schools are in ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Rogers County clerk sues paper over stories

    CLAREMORE — The Rogers County clerk has sued the Claremore Daily Progress and its government reporter over claims the newspaper painted her in a false light and invaded her privacy. Clerk Robin Anderson filed a lawsuit Thursday against ...

    July 26, 2014