As a state representative for the state of Oklahoma, Arturo Alonso-Sandoval is the dream of every young person with hopes of one day holding political office. He may be a member of a super-minority Democratic block in the Sooner State, but Alsonso-Sandoval is representing his community and constituents, and that includes the young Spanish-speaking people who now see someone like them in a high office.
Learn more about the youngest member of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives, his already extensive board work, and his willingness to do something extraordinary in politics: to be himself.
What do you do today?
As a state representative, I serve as a voice for my constituents, representing their interests, concerns, and needs in the Oklahoma state legislature. I propose new laws, amend existing legislation, and vote on bills that affect various aspects of public policy within the state while always keeping the best interest of my community in mind. Being the youngest and one of the few bilingual-speaking legislators in my state, I also work hard to uplift the young and Spanish-speaking communities to ensure they are well represented.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
As a member of the democratic super-minority in Oklahoma, the political climate can be uniquely challenging. That is why I have focused on being a bridge-builder to pass meaningful policy. Not only have I been able to pass legislation to increase access to licensed emergency medical personnel throughout the state, but in doing so, foster relationships with members of both parties. Additionally, since taking office, I have made an effort to ensure we increase the number of bilingual staff at the capitol to ensure all Oklahomans have access to services in their language.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
My greatest personal achievement has been to step out of my own way and embrace being the unorthodox person in the room. I mention this because it is not common for someone like myself to hold an elected position in Oklahoma: young, Latino, and having grown up on the Southside of Oklahoma City as a first-generation citizen, high school graduate, and eventually college graduate. This goes into what leadership means to me. Leadership in my life means undoing generational cycles and breaking once-unreachable barriers. It means paving a path that has never been paved before. It also means showing other people that they too can achieve more than what they initially believe. Although I am just getting started, I have made an effort to show young people and members within historically marginalized communities that their voices matter.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
Transcending above what we think is attainable is no easy feat. It takes resilience in undoing both internal and external obstacles. To tackle problems and overcome challenges, I do what I can to adapt myself to the situation at hand. Doing so requires understanding both my mental processes while building empathy to better understand someone else’s perspective. The world of politics is highly people-oriented, and I understand that I have not lived as much life as most of my counterparts. That is why I approach situations with an open mind, always trying to learn from other people’s life experiences to uplift myself and my community as challenges arise.
What do you do today to impact your community?
Board Member | Stephenson Cancer Research Latino Board
Provide perspectives regarding community engagement, culturally appropriate research, and coordination of clinical care for patients to help improve cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and survivorship care, placing a special emphasis on eliminating large and persistent cancer health disparities affecting the Latino community.
Development and Recognition Vice-Chair | OKC Latino Young Professionals
Support young professionals in reaching their full potential by creating opportunities for their professional growth and development. Work with OKCLYP committees to identify outstanding individuals and develop meaningful recognition opportunities.
Youth Mentor | Y-Achievers
Facilitate workshops and activities on topics such as college and career readiness, financial literacy, and social-emotional learning for students coming from low-income backgrounds.
Describe yourself in five words.
Human, resilient, learner, ambitious, friend.
What are your future goals?
In the future, I hope to continue finding ways to empower people to make meaningful change in their own communities.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
I love to be in nature, hike, bike, and camp. These are ways taht I reconnect with myself.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
For fun, I like to tap into my engineering side and work on small robotics projects. I also like hanging out with friends and family.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
To me, making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 will serve as a reminder to continue doing the work to uplift people.
What is your personal theme song?
“Safaera” by Bad Bunny
What is your Latino background?
I am a Mexican American. I was born in Boise, Idaho. Shortly after my birth, my parents decided to move us to the small pueblito in Guanajuato they had grown up in. At around the age of four, we moved to Oklahoma, where we ended up settling down.
Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.