First non-binary state legislator in Oklahoma among barrier-breaking newly elected Muslim officials

First non-binary state legislator in Oklahoma among barrier-breaking newly elected Muslim officials
A historic double first marks Mauree Turner out among a host of barrier-breaking Muslim officials elected this week.
3 min read
05 November, 2020
Mauree Turner was elected to Oklahoma's State House of Representatives [Twitter]
Mauree Turner was elected to Oklahoma's State House of Representatives on Tuesday, CNN reported, becoming the state's first Muslim lawmaker and the country's first non-binary state legislator.

The historic double first marks Turner out amongst a host of barrier-breaking Muslim officials elected this week. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Turner beat Republican candidate Kelly Barlean to represent District 88 in the Oklahoma State House. 

Turner took home 71 percent of the result, the Oklahoma State Election Board reported.

"I have a lot of feelings about tonight," Turner tweeted on Tuesday.

"But overall, I'm grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity," she tweeted with an image saying "The real work begins. The future is now".

Turner identifies as non-binary. This is "used to describe people who feel their gender cannot be defined within the margins of gender binary", according to LGBT Foundation.
In the United States, there are currently four known non-binary-identified elected officials, CNN reported. Turner is the first non-binary person elected to a state legislature.

Turner is a criminal justice reform activist and community organiser, a campaign news release reads.

"It has never been a more important time for the next generation to see themselves in our government. It has never been a more important time for those closest to our state's problems to be structuring the solutions," Turner said. 

A lifelong Oklahoma resident, Turner has also served as a board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma.
And Turner was not the only Muslim official elected to public office this election year. 

Newly-elected Muslim officials

Democratic Madinah Wilson-Anton was elected to represent the 26th District in the Delaware State House.

"We did it!! Thank you so much to every voter, supporter, grassroots donor and loved ones who made today possible. Alhamdulillah," Wilson-Anton tweeted on Wednesday.

She became the first Muslim elected to the Delaware state legislature, The Huffington Post reported. She told the news outlet: "Hopefully, we can stop with all the first and have a really diverse government at all levels across the country."

In Colorado, first generation Palestinian-American Iman Jodeh was elected to the Colorado State Legislature and will represent District 41.

"We did it! I ran to make the #AmericanDream a reality for Everyone," she tweeted. Jodeh will also be the first Muslim lawmaker in the state's history.

In New York, Indian-Ugandan Zohran Kwame Mamdani was among the first South Asians voted into the lower house of the state Legislature, NBC reported.

Mamdani, who will represent Astoria, was elected to the New York state assembly with 72 percent of the vote.

In Wisconsin, Samba Baldeh became the first Muslim elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly and the first Black man to represent Dane County.

"Being the first Muslim to ever be elected at the State Assembly is really exciting, but also an opportunity that I am thankful for," he told HuffPost.

And in Florida, Christopher Benjamin was elected to represent the 107th District in the House of Representatives, becoming the first Muslim American elected to any state office in the state. 

He told HuffPost that he intends to be an "outspoken voice" on Muslim issues at the state level.

These newly elected officials join re-elected Muslim trailblazers such as Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, Somali American Ilhan Omar and André D. Carson.

Tlaib and Omar were the first Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.

The woman are part of a quartet of like-minded congresswoman known as "The Squad" who are admired on the Left for challenging the status quo in Washington. 

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