Maxine Horner was born in 1933 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1951 she earned an associate’s degree from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in personnel management from Langston University.
Horner worked for Congressman James Jones in his district office in Tulsa. She was also Director of Minority Women’s Employment Program, personnel administrator of the Tulsa Job Corp and was involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1987 Horner was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. She served from 1987-2005 when she retired due to term limits. Along with Vicki Miles-LaGrange she was the first African-American woman to serve in the Oklahoma State Senate. During her term in the Senate she sponsored legislation creating the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and helped secure $1.5 million in bonds to improve it. In 1992 OHLAP, the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, was passed, which funds scholarships to Oklahoma colleges for students from $50,000 or less income families who make good grades and stay out of trouble.
Horner served as chairperson of the Democratic caucus, the business and labor committee and government operations committee. She served a vice-chair of the adult literacy committee and served on the appropriations, congressional redistricting, education judiciary, rules, tourism, and wildlife committees.
In 2007 Horner was inducted to the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame. She has received numerous other awards, including the Student Financial Aid Partner Award, Children First Award, Tulsa Press Headliners Award, and the Pinnacle Award from the Tulsa Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1993, as well as a number of outstanding community service awards.
Horner married Donald Horner, Sr. They have two children, Shari Tisdale and Donald Horner Junior as well as five grandchildren.
See also the Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project collection.
(Bio current as of 2008)