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The Oklahoman highlights diversity in legislature by ignoring first Latina State Rep…

9:39 AM EST on February 27, 2023

Over the weekend, the new and improved yet still sometimes same old Oklahoman profiled the 24 new members of the Oklahoma House and Senate.

Written by William Wertz – the paper’s new political editor – the piece was pretty benign and fluffy and gave the current House Speaker the chance to say nice things about politicians to the local media. 

Wondering who the future leaders of the Oklahoma Legislature might be? Some are very likely among the group of 24 new members seated in the House and Senate chambers this year.

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House Speaker Charles McCall complimented the small group recently and noted that these rookies ― 17 men and seven women — had become all the more important because legislative term limits force the retirement of senior leaders after 12 years. New members will soon be seen in those leadership positions.

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“I’m very impressed with our newly elected class,” McCall said, referring to the 16 members of the House and eight members of the Senate who took their seats in the Statehouse for the first time.

Yep, the guy who has rammed through some of the most right-wing and regressive draconian legislation in the country during his reign as Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House is very impressed with the new freshman class. In other words, we’re screwed, Oklahoma!

Because The Oklahoman is woke now – well, at least according to Carly Atchison – the paper highlighted the lack of diversity in the new class by recognizing its non-white members. 

Well, at least 2/3rds of them:

All eight of the newly elected senators are Republican, as are 10 of the 16 new House members. Most of the new faces are white. The exceptions are Rep. Amanda Swope, 34, D-Tulsa, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, and Rep. Arturo Alonso-Sandoval, D-Oklahoma City, whose parents moved to the United States from Mexico.

I appreciate what The Oklahoman is trying to do here, but if you’re going to highlight the non-white new members of the Oklahoma legislature, you should probably name all the non-white members. 

According to my crack research, the paper forgot to include freshman State Rep. Annie Menz of Norman in its list of non-white “exceptions.” Not only is she not white, but she’s the first Latina ever elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives!

For what it’s worth, I guess you can’t blame The Oklahoman and William Wertz – once again, the paper’s political editor – for the oversight. I don’t think the paper has copy editors or fact checkers anymore, and it’s not like Annie being elected as the first Latina Oklahoma state rep was widely known or covered in the local media or anything.

Well, at least outside of these news stories about her:

• Rep. Annie Menz makes history on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives (OKC FOX)

Menz honored as first Latina to serve in Oklahoma House (Norman Transcript)

• The importance of representation: The first Latina elected to Oklahoma’s House of Representatives. (The O’Colly)

Those are just three of many articles that highlighted Annie’s accomplishment. Hell, even The Oklahoman’s old editorial director – anti-woke conservative quack Patrick McGuigan – covered the news in the City Sentinal.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the oversight by The Oklahoman – the state’s most trusted news – was intentional. It’s probably just another embarrassing error for a paper with a long long history of printing embarrassing errors. 

If anything, we should probably be happy they even tried. In the old days, not only would the paper have failed to mention Annie, but they probably would have ignored the other two non-white “exceptions,” as well. In fact, the only times their non-white names would have been mentioned in the paper would have been a front-page editorial by Patrick McGuigan calling for their removal from office. 

Anyway, from what I hear, Annie is an awesome person, and although I’m skeptical of any person that Charles McCall is impressed with, Oklahoma is lucky to have her.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised. 

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