For the second year in a row, Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City) has been voted House Minority Leader in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
She made history when Representative Mickey Dollens (D-Oklahoma City) nominated her to be House Speaker becoming the first Asian American to be nominated for the position, reported the Stillwater News Press.
The nomination was largely symbolic as Republicans overwhelmingly control the state house 82 – 18.
I’d like to thank my colleagues that voted for me and their trust in me,” said Munson. “Even though I did not win the election, this is another glass ceiling broken, not just for Asian American women, but all underrepresented women in our government. As a young Asian-American woman growing up in Oklahoma, I would have never imagined that I could someday become a state legislator, much less be nominated for Speaker of the House.”
Despite facing a super majority, Munson refuses to stay clear of hot-button issues that may not prove popular with Oklahoma voters.
“House Democrats will continue to be the adults in the room,” Munson said to a group of CEOs, according to The Oklahoman. She strongly criticized Republicans for their passage of abortion bans and opposing LGBTQ rights. “If we are going to ask CEOs to bring their businesses and employees to our state, we have to embrace the ability to celebrate all people,” Munson said.
Some Democrats have urged the party to moderate their positions to reach out to rural voters and to be more competitive in statewide races. Munson has chosen to stay true to her values.
“We are going to work with the Republicans on the things that we agree on, but we will continue to stand up against the extremist policies that we know are coming,” she told the Oklahoman.
Munson grew up in Monterey, California in a military family, Asian Avenue Magazine reported in 2015. While speaking to a leadership class, she was asked if she would ever run for office. She said no, but the person who asked the question worked for a political consultancy firm. Two weeks later, she met with firm representatives and asked her to run. She ran in 2014, but lost. However, the following year, she won a special election, becoming the first Asian American woman to be elected to the state house.
She hopes her ascendency to a party leadership position will inspire others who look like her.
“I hope all Oklahoma girls of every kind of background can look at today and know that they can be whatever they dream or aspire to be,” said Munson.
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