After the loss of Maxine Horner, former state senator from Tulsa, legislators praise her legacy and her life

The legacy of Maxine Horner has many notable features – and several were noted soon after her passing early this week. 

State Senator Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, called her “a trailblazer in many ways,” in a statement sent to The City Sentinel, CapitolBeatOK and other state news organizations. 

Matthews, who holds the District 11 seat occupied by Horner from 1986 until 2004, commented:
“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.

“Senator Horner was also the architect of a program to help ensure any Oklahoma high school student who wanted to further their education after graduation could have that opportunity — OHLAP, now known as Oklahoma’s Promise, continues to provide hope, encouragement and resources to countless Oklahoma young people seeking a better future.

“Without a doubt, the citizens of Tulsa and our entire state are better for Maxine Horner’s life and service. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family as we join in mourning her loss.”

Speaking on behalf of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus, state Representative Regina Goodwin of Tulsa declared, “Generations of Oklahomans have a better life today because of the service of Senator Maxine Horner. 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.”

Rep. Goodwin, a member of one of Oklahoma’s leading families of renowned journalists, declared “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.” 

Goodwin continued, in comments circulated by House communications staff, saying that “Senator Horner, with the help of former State Rep. Don Ross, also began what is now called the Greenwood Cultural Center. Her vision for Oklahomans to have a place to see and understand our history and culture will continue for many years to come.”

Rep. Goodwin concluded, “The House Democratic Caucus lifts up Senator Horner’s family during this difficult time, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in a way that honors Senator Horner’s dedication to the people she served.”