State Senator Debbe Leftwich, D-OKC, and House Speaker Pro Tempore Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha, are calling the first meeting of the Oklahoma Women’s Caucus a tremendous success. Women lawmakers from the House and Senate gathered at the State Capitol for a session which included a presentation on similar organizations throughout the nation as well as a demonstration on women’s health issues.
Sen. Leftwich, a former chair of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, said both presentations helped inform members how a women’s caucus could help promote an agenda that would be beneficial to the entire state.
“As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a relatively small representation in the Legislature compared to other states. In Oklahoma, women only hold 14.8 percent of the House and Senate. By coming together like this, we can identify issues important to women and families and be a good resource for each other,” Leftwich said.
Following the 2004 elections, Oklahoma moved from 46th to 43rd in the nation in the ranking of women serving in state legislatures.
Rep. Susan Winchester is the first woman ever to attain the office of House Speaker Pro Tempore. She said she hoped the caucus could help other women seek public office and attain leadership positions within the legislature.
“Women bring a much needed voice and perspective to public policy and to leadership positions. It is my hope that this meeting is just the beginning of a positive movement to help bring other women from across the state into the political arena,” Winchester said.