By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 13 2014 10:35 AM ET
Last week, Paula Sophia, a 22-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department and veteran of Operation Desert Storm, announced her intention to run for the Oklahoma State House.
"I've been passionate throughout my entire career in law enforcement about helping people in their day to day lives," Sophia said in a statement. "Being a beat cop has allowed me to really get to know the citizens of our great city on a personal level."
Sophia retired from the police force on Monday in preparation for her run for the state house. State and local laws prohibit active duty police officers from running for political office.
Throughout her law enforcement tenure, Sophia earned a number of accolades, including OKC Exchange Club's Police Officer of the Year award and an FBI Community Leadership Award. Sophia made history as the first openly transgender officer in Oklahoma City Police Department history.
Sophia will be running to replace 88th District Representative, Democrat Kay Floyd. Floyd made history of her own in 2012, becoming the first openly lesbian representative in Oklahoma history. (And before her, Al McAffrey was elected in the district as the state's first openly gay legislator.) Floyd announced in February an intention to run for Senate District 46 in November's election.
Sophia's first challenge will come during the June 24 Democratic primary. Should she win, she'll move on to the general election on November 4.