With thirty years of legislative experience, first as a Senate staff person and then as a state legislator, Sen. Constance N. Johnson is looking forward to a new challenge. She was named by her peers last month as Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. Sen. Johnson assumed the chair position at the close of the 10th Biennial A.C. Hamlin Awards Banquet, their crowning event that is sponsored by the Black Caucus Foundation.
“It is such an honor and I am very humbled to be named to this important position by my colleagues,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. “Even in the 21st century, people from diverse communities still face different treatment. It is the goal of this caucus to ensure the rights of those communities are protected and that they have a voice in the legislative process.”
Johnson worked for the Senate from 1981 to 2005 as committee staff for the Health and Human Resources Committee, along side Sen. Bernest Cain, long-time chairman. She was elected in 2005, and re-elected in 2006 and 2010, to represent Senate District 48, the state’s oldest majority-minority district. She will serve a two-year term, which will conclude with the 11th Biennial Banquet.
In the coming year, the Caucus will be tackling a number of issues which will first include setting an agenda that speaks to the vision and goals of the caucus. “It is my hope to enhance our work over the interim by sponsoring a retreat in which to learn how to best work together and to get educated about the real issues facing the state,” stated Johnson. The caucus will also consider additional fundraising initiatives to ensure a strong operating base from which to further its agenda. “Our caucus has functioned for some time now without the benefit of an operational set of by-laws; we can do better and will do better as we try to come to terms with language for the by-laws that is similar to the Black Caucus Foundation’s by-laws and that helps us accomplish the desired image and mission of the Caucus,” Johnson said.
Johnson noted one of the caucus’ top goals in 2012 will be working to educate citizens about the redistricting process and other issues related to civil rights.