WASHINGTON — Rep. Kendra Horn stood, cheered and high-fived her female peers as they gathered in a sea of white for Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
“It’s almost beyond description,” Horn said of the moment President Donald Trump noted the record-breaking number of women serving in the 116th Congress. “Standing there with those women and looking around and recognizing history and the potential that we have to do something great … (I got) a lump in my throat and my stomach definitely did a few flips.”
Horn, a representative for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, was among the majority of Democratic women who donned white to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.
She said she was honored to stand with so many women, many of whom are there to make a difference in their communities.
Trump touted a bipartisan message of unity during his address. Horn said she was glad to hear Trump talk about the need to work across the aisle, including on issues like criminal justice reform, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and addressing the student loan crisis.
Throughout the address, Horn joined the Democratic side of the House floor in sitting in silence on several issues while their Republican counterparts erupted in cheers. At other times, she stood and clapped while other women in white remained seated, especially on issues of military spending and oil and gas.
“My reactions, and when I stood and when I didn’t, really come back to my belief that … I’m here to represent every single person in the 5th Congressional District,” Horn said. “My number one focus is on doing the right thing, on fiscal responsibility and taking care of people in our district.”
Horn echoed the same sentiment that Trump opened and concluded his address with — one of bipartisanship and unity.
“We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them,” Trump said.
“I’ve said for a long time, I think there’s more that unites us than divides us,” Horn said.
Horn sits on the prominent House armed services committee that is recognized as one of the most bipartisan committees and serves as the chair of the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics.
Horn is one of 35 women elected in the freshman congressional class. Eighty-nine out of 102 women in the U.S. House are Democrats.
Gaylord News is a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.