An Oklahoma Democrat elected Tuesday will make history as the first Muslim in the Oklahoma Legislature and the first nonbinary legislator in America. Progressive community organizer, Mauree Turner, won her race in House District 88 and will break barriers in Oklahoma’s statehouse.
The 27-year-old Democrat defeated Republican Kelly Barlean with more than 71 percent of votes, according to results from the Oklahoma State Election Board. She will represent Oklahoma’s 88th Congressional District when they enter the state House in January.
Turner, who identifies as nonbinary and uses both they/she as pronouns, received a slew of high-profile endorsements, including one from progressive lawmaker Ilhan Omar.
Omar is one of the first two Muslim women — along with Rashida Tlaib — to serve in Congress.
Former Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg also endorsed Turner’s campaign.
On Tuesday night, Turner told her supporters she was grateful on Twitter, posting an image that read: “The real work begins now.”
I have a lot of feelings about tonight. But overall, I'm grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity. I hate SQ805 & so many other things slipped through our fingers… But I'm ready to fight hard as hell so they never do again.
Nothing About Us Without Us
Let's go get 'em 88 pic.twitter.com/Y059G30Mbw
— Mauree Turner (They/She) (@MaureeTurnerOK) November 4, 2020
In an interview with The Advocate, Turner thanked her local community, and discussed the risk that comes with running a political campaign as a non-binary person
“A lot of people don’t know how much you risk putting your name on the ballot if you are not a white cis het man, and it was a lot of work to get here,” she told The Advocate. “I had to put faith in my community to catch me when I jumped, and they did.”
Turner, who is Black and identifies as queer, previously worked as a community organizer and for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice, according to a campaign website.
According to comments made to HuffPost, she was raised in “a single parent household because one parent was incarcerated” and “had to live off SNAP benefits.”
Her campaign hinged on criminal justice reform, investing in public education and a higher minimum wage.
Congress needs to continue electing people who look like and represent what this country looks like now.