By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Democratic Party (ODP) has announced that Tulsa resident Kalyn Free has been elected to serve as the Democratic National Committeewoman (DNC) for the ODP Central Committee. Free will fill the seat of former Committeewoman, Betty McElderry, who passed away suddenly in July.
McElderry served many years as ODP chair and as a credentialed committee member for the Democratic National Conventions.
“Betty is and always will be an icon within our state party, a woman who championed Democratic values of community, responsibility, and equality as chair and later as national committee representative,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party chairwoman Alicia Andrews.
“Today, we are proud that mantle will be picked up by Kalyn, who will continue Betty’s charge to increase economic opportunities and health care access for working families in Oklahoma.”
Free, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and attorney with expertise in environmental and tribal issues, said the work is just getting started for the DNC and ODP.
“The state party is strong, and we must continue to advocate and educate our voting base both nationally and locally,” Free said.
“The moral balance of our country is at stake in the next Presidential election,” Free added. “We must unify and coalesce around the values that will move our country forward in a healthy way. That means protecting the civil liberties of all people in America and protecting our environment.”
DNC members assist in the governing of the national party through respective state party elections. Oklahoma is represented by one man and one woman on the national committee in addition to the state party officials.
At age 23, Kalyn was the youngest attorney to be hired by the U.S. Department of Justice where she served as Senior Counsel in the Indian Resources Section.
After her service in Washington, D.C., Free was the first woman in history elected as District Attorney for Pittsburg and Haskell counties in southeastern Oklahoma.
Free was a candidate for Congress in 2004 and in 2005 she founded INDN’s List (Indigenous Democratic Network), a political organization that successfully recruited and built support for Native American candidates.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Kalyn is a graduate of Red Oak High School, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Former Gov. David Walters, also a DNC member, said he is looking forward to working closely with Free at the national level including the upcoming DNC national meeting in San Francisco on August 22-24.
“Kalyn is already a respected and recognized leader within our national party,” Walters said. “Her presence on the DNC will simply make Oklahoma stronger on all national caucuses, councils and committee meetings, including platform, rules, and bylaws.”
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.