Michael Brooks-Jimenez, native of the south side of Oklahoma City, won the Oklahoma Senate District 44 seat in a special election Tuesday.
“I’m humbled by your support, and I’m ready to get to work,” he said to a cheering room full of eager supporters and a considerable number of Democratic Party officials who were watching the race closely.
He scored a decisive win against opponent Joe Griffin, beating the Republican Party insider by 10 percentage points.
The count listed on the Oklahoma Election Board website at 10 p.m. Tuesday showed Brooks-Jimenez at 54.57 percent and Griffin at 45.43 percent with all 27 precincts reporting.
The district has a heavy concentration of working class and middle-class residents.
It also has the largest concentration of Hispanics in the central part of the state, some recently arrived and some whose family roots go all the way back to statehood.
Some of his most heart-felt comments were reserved for his extended family, and the earnest, hard-working people of SD 44.
“These are people that work for a living, and they work hard, sometimes at two or three jobs because they believe in the American dream that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead,” said Brooks-Jimenez. “Those are the people that we ran for.”
Gloria Torres, Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education member, was present and wearing a campaign sticker.
She grew up in the Capitol Hill area and graduated from Capitol Hill High School. Later, she was principal of a middle school on the south side.
“It’s a matter of my home and neighborhood,” said Torres. “I grew up here just like Michael did.”
Robert Ruiz remembers the last campaign in 2014 when Brooks-Jimenez lost the race for the same seat.
“I could tell then that youth and young adults were starting to catch on, even in that loss. People seemed to realize they would have to get more involved and work hard to gain a voice at the Capitol,” he said sitting with three of his teenage children.
Chris Brewster, superintendent of Santa Fe South charter schools said that he is a Republican, but after the turn of events in recent years and knowing Brooks-Jimenez well, he got out and worked for the Democrat and encouraged his students to do the same.
“Michael is on our board, but he is also on the board of private schools and helps the public schools as well,” said Brewster. “He is a really good member of this community.”