A seeming lack of diversity in the Oklahoma Legislature is sometimes cited as a sign that the state is slow to embrace change, unlike other states that lean to the left and favor the Democratic Party. That would be the party of diversity — or so we hear.
The relative scarcity of women in the 149-member Legislature is bipartisan. Of the 20 female legislators, 13 are Republicans. The only Hispanic member, Rep. Charles Ortega, is a Republican. In the Native American caucus, 15 of the 26 members are Republicans.
Only within the black caucus are the numbers stacked. The caucus has six members and only one of them is a Republican. But he happens to be speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in state government.
If a lack of gender and racial diversity in the Legislature is a problem, it’s one that’s seen in both political parties.