A Democratic woman was sworn in to represent Oklahoma in the House of Representatives for the first time in history Saturday.
Kendra Horn, who won the seat after upsetting Republican Steve Russell in a tight race, became the first Democrat to take Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district in more than 40 years, and the first woman of the party to do so.
Horn took the oath of office in a ceremony at Douglass High School in Oklahoma City after taking the official oath in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 3, returning to celebrate her accomplishment with the community.
“What I see is a community standing with me to undo some of those toxic ideas that have us pitted against each other,” Horn said during the ceremony.
Horn said she returned to take the oath in Oklahoma City with her family’s Bible and included a salute to the state flag as a “critical reminder” to herself to best represent the community that elected her and to stay connected with her local constituents, something she said remains a high priority.
“We plan to do that in a variety of ways,” Horn said. “I plan to be back here almost every single weekend and during district court periods, we’re going to have a lot of community conversations ... so we can interact with people across the community and understand their opportunities and challenges.”
As the first female Democrat in history to represent Oklahoma in Congress and one of the founders of Women Lead Oklahoma, a nonprofit that aims to educate women in the state on civic and political engagement, Horn said she plans to empower young people and women in Oklahoma and across the nation to use their voice to get involved.
“That is my heart, and something that I will never stop doing,” Horn said. “I want to encourage young people to use their voices and make sure they’re engaged.”