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Maxine Horner, Former Tulsa State Senator And 'Trailblazer', Dead At 88

Oklahoma State Senate

Former Oklahoma State Senator Maxine Horner of Tulsa died this week at 88, according to her family and current lawmakers.

“Generations of Oklahomans have a better life today because of the service of Senator Maxine Horner,” said Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) in a statement. “It is impossible to count the number of lives Senator Horner impacted during her time on Earth. Her loss will be felt by her friends and family and a community of people who were able to find hope and education due to her efforts.

“Senator Horner’s legacy is long. Not only does it include being one of the first Black women to serve in the Oklahoma Senate, Senator Horner also began ‘Oklahoma’s Promise,’ which is a scholarship program that has allowed generations of Oklahomans attain a college education."

“Maxine Horner was a trailblazer in many ways," said Sen. Kevin Matthews (D-Tulsa), the current occupant of Horner's old Senate seat, in a statement.  "Although she grew up in the era of segregation, she was one of the first two Black women to serve in the Oklahoma Senate, and she was the Senate author of the groundbreaking commission created in 1997 to study the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.  Now, in the centennial year of that event, her work has been essential to our ongoing efforts to educate people here in Oklahoma, throughout the country and around the world as we seek equality and economic opportunity for all."

Addressing the House on Monday, Goodwin said Horner set an example for the legislature.

"I just wanted the body to know that I hope that you will lift the family up in prayer, and if we could be half of the diplomat, half of the statesman that she was, we would be a lot better off in this body," Goodwin said.

The Tulsa World reports that service arrangements have not yet been announced.


Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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