State Sen. Angela Williams may be a rising political star in Colorado, but she’s the pride of a small town in Oklahoma.

Williams was elected to the Senate last November, after a stand-out career on justice and equality issues in the House. Her name tops most insiders’ lists of Democrats on the political rise in Colorado, including as a future candidate for U.S. representative or senator.

Her hometown paper, the Okmulgee Times, featured Williams on its front page last week. Williams mentions with pride in interviews that she comes from the town of about 12,000 people in eastern Oklahoma about 40 miles south of Tulsa. Her parents still live there.

Okmulgree’s population was 59 percent white, 21 African-American and 14 percent Native American in the 2010 census. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the town’s top employer with about 2,200 on its payroll, most of them at its local casino. Agriculture and coal mining are still the anchors of the economy, according to the last census.

Besides Williams, the town’s other claim to fame is the late country music star Mel McDaniel, who had hits with “Louisiana Saturday Night” and “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” in the 1980s. It’s a small town.

Williams was born and raised there. In a profile by Bill Husted of the Denver Business Journal in 2015, Williams said her best memory still grows in Muscogee.

“My grandfather planted a tree at our home when I was born,” she said. “And I watched that tree grow and when I got to be six, my mom let me start climbing that tree.”

She first left Muscogee to go an hour and a half east to Northeastern State University in Oklahoma to study criminal justice.

She came to Denver after college to be near extended family and work in human resources for the YMCA. She worked Rhode Island and Phoenix for US West and Cisco, before returning to Denver to start an insurance agency in Littleton. She moved her home and business, the Angela Williams Allstate Insurance Agency, to Stapleton in 2007.

Being connected to others in a small town has always kept Williams connected to her adopted hometown in Colorado.

Her entry into statehouse polices began working on former Colorado House Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll’s reelection campaign. Williams also was on the Colorado finance team for Barack Obama in 2008.

In 2010 she won a seat in the state House. She is the current chair of the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus

The Okmulgee Times reported:

“My experience growing up in Okmulgee informs the issues I prioritize and decisions I make every day,” Williams said in the Okmulgee Times article. “I am so proud to represent Okmulgee here in Colorado and work hard every single day to represent the town well, and make the people I grew up around very proud.”

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