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Record number of women will serve in the Oklahoma Legislature

The Oklahoma Capitol, in the early morning, on the last day of the regular legislative session on May 26, 2017. (Phil Cross/KOKH)

Tuesday was a historic election for women in Oklahoma as a record number were elected to office. Women won races all over the state, from a congressional seat to the Oklahoma City City Council.

"I think the people are obviously saying they want change, in particular in Oklahoma County," said Carri Hicks, state senator-elect for district 40. "It was just overwhelmingly female representation, which is very exciting."

The public school teacher decided to run for state senate to help fix underfunded classrooms.

"During the course of this 18 month campaign, obviously some of that came to light during our nine-day walkout at the state Capitol," Hicks said.

She will now be one of nine women in the state senate, a number that ties the previous record. The election also brought 15 new female state representatives to the Oklahoma House, along with 8 incumbents. It will be the largest number of women to ever serve in the state house.

"It's unprecedented for us," said Sara Jane Rose, executive director of Sally's List, a nonpartisan organization that trains and supports female candidates in Oklahoma. "When women run, they win in equal numbers to men. That’s something people have known for years and years. They just need to run."

Rose is excited to see how this so-called "pink wave" impacts local and national politics.

"I think women bring different experiences to the table," she said.

Despite the historic progress in this election, there's still a long way to go.

"We've got 9 females in the Senate out of 42," Hicks said. "That's really not reflective of our state."

Hicks hopes her victory will inspire other women to run.

"If you're considering running, just do it," she said. "You don't need to be convinced. You can stand on your own laurels and you can make change."

If you're interested in running in 2020, Rose says now is the time to start thinking about it. Sally's List will accept applications for its candidate training program in the spring.

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