26-Year-Old Openly Gay Democrat Pulls Off Election Win In Conservative Oklahoma District
TULSA, Oklahoma - There was a big upset in the District 37 State Senate Race.
Voters in the West Tulsa District elected Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman into office, a left-leaning and openly gay politician in a conservative district.
"I'm really excited,” said Ikley-Freeman. “It's kind of a big shock for everyone.”
Ikley-Freeman says she's ready to get to work, after a surprising win in District 37 Tuesday.
She narrowly beat Republican Brian O'Hara in a tight race that was decided by a mere 31 votes.
"I think Democrats are saying, ‘We have to get out; we have to get involved.’ Whereas, maybe a year ago, they didn't think that so much.”
Ikley-Freeman says with little money to go around, she won the race because her volunteers hit the pavement, knocked on doors and connected with everyday people.
She says being a mental health counselor, working for nonprofits, and being an active community member helped shape her understanding of what she believes Oklahomans need.
"It was really a shift in how I looked at the world once I saw the impact that could happen through giving back to the community,” she said.
Her focus will be on education, mental health and medical care with a focus on those in our state who are struggling to meet basic needs.
"Struggling to make life work, and if we can help them struggle a little bit less, they can go to the things that they've always dreamed that they'd be able to do,” she said.
And when asked about what sets her apart from those across the political aisle, Ikley-Freeman says division should not be the focus.
"I think we're gonna have to be collaborative to make this successful to bring Oklahoma into a better place,” she said.
The newly elected State Senator is the youngest person to win this seat at 26 years old. She'll start in February.