02/26/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/27/2020 08:53
Communications & Public Affairs
February 26, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 [email protected]
OKLAHOMA CITY - Three Democratic legislators are scheduled to join a panel of area female political leaders during the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma's 'Votes for Women in the 21st Century: An Insider Perspective' event Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. in the USAO Ballroom.
February 28 is the 100th anniversary of the Oklahoma State Legislature passing legislation recognizing the right to vote for women in Oklahoma.
State Sen. Carri Hicks (D-OKC), Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC), and House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) will join the panel to share their experience of being a woman in the 21st Century political landscape. They will be joined by Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice and Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn.
State Sen. Carri Hicks represents District 40 and is co-chair of the Legislative Diabetes Caucus. She holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication and political science, a master's in leadership management and a master's in early childhood education.
'It's important that we have more women in political office. It's a challenge, but it isn't insurmountable,' Hicks said. 'My fellow panelists and I are proof that voters are willing to elect qualified women candidates, but we need to recruit and help elect more women to office,' Hicks said. 'This forum at USAO takes place on the 100th anniversary of Oklahoma's passage of the 19th Amendment. I think the persistence of suffragists, beginning in Oklahoma's territorial era and culminating with the February 28, 1920 ratification, is inspirational and proof of our power and abilities in the political arena. I believe we embody that persistence, power and ability to this day.'
State Rep. Cyndi Munson represents House District 85 and serves as the House Democratic Caucus Chair. She became the first Asian-American woman elected to the state Legislature in 2015. A first-generation college student, Munson earned a bachelor's in political science from the University of Central Oklahoma and a master's in leadership education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
'Finding your voice as a woman is one of the hardest things to do in politics,' Munson said. 'I can't wait to share the stage with some of the strongest leaders in our government and hear how they found their voice.'
House Minority Leader Emily Virgin represents the state's 44th District, which is home to the University of Oklahoma. As minority leader, Virgin has focused on pushing the legislature to be more inclusive of voices that have continually been left out of the process. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 2013.
'Women are severely underrepresented in our state government,' Virgin said. 'I look forward to spending an evening talking with these other female leaders of our state and sharing ways we have navigated a field that has been male-dominated for far too long.'
After the panel, NPR correspondent Mara Liasson will give the event's keynote address. For more information, visit usao.edu/votesforwomen.