Coworkers and wellwishers gathered to offer their congratulations to Cinda Hughes at the State Capitol on Thursday. The Senate receptionist was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 200 last Saturday during a national pageant in Des Moines, Iowa.
Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson presented Hughes with a citation honoring her latest achievement.
Cinda should be an inspiration to us all. She focuses on her abilities and finds ways of overcoming obstacles with a positive attitude. I am not at all surprised that she was chosen for this honor, said Senator Hobson.
A quadriplegic since birth, Hughes credits her grandparents, the late Charles and Alice Toyebo, and most especially her mother, Gayle Roulain, for helping her develop selfconfidence and encouraging her to focus on her abilities rather than her limitations.
A member of the Kiowa tribe, Hughes was raised in Anadarko, Okla., and became the first quadriplegic ever mainstreamed into the local public school system. In high school, she was the first American Indian Student Body President and excelled in academics, drama and public speaking. Hughes was also appointed by Governor Boren to serve on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children. Although she was the youngest member, she was chosen to serve as its Corresponding Secretary.
In addition to her current work at the State Senate, Hughes continues to be a strong advocate for many issues, including those impacting Native Americans and all citizens with disabilities.
Hughes serves on the Advisory Board for the Oklahoma Office of Handicapped Concerns. For more than two years, she produced and hosted a weekly radio program, Native Beat, which focused on social and political issues of concern to Native Americans.
Hughes said she viewed winning the title of Ms. Wheelchair America as an opportunity to be an advocate on behalf of those with disabilities.
She said she was touched by the wellwishes of her coworkers and senators who had extended their congratulations.
I am overwhelmed by the support that I have received here at the Senate over the past nine years. Everyone has been so kind and encouraging about my recent endeavors. I want to thank everyone for always believing in me. These are the finest people that I have had the honor to know, and I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart, said Hughes.
Hughes will be honored by the full Senate when the session reconvenes in February.