'Republicans Embrace Diversity' Says Dallas CEO Ronke Okpa | KERA News

'Republicans Embrace Diversity' Says Dallas CEO Ronke Okpa

Oct 27, 2014

Early voting for next week’s election continues through this Friday. Ronke Okpa isn’t on the ballot, but the Nigerian-American is actively involved with a group called Red State Women, and hosting fund-raisers for Governor Rick Perry and the Republican who hopes to replace him.

Interview Highlights: Ronke Okpa…

…On why she’s no longer a Democrat:

“I came to the US in 1989 to go to college. (Xaykaothao) But actually you were born in the US. (Okpa) Correct, I was born here. And at the age of four I moved to Nigeria with my family and came back here to go to college. And so once I got immersed into the society, I just assumed if you were of a certain ethnicity you had to be a Democrat. It is what it is. And then I met my husband, and he is of course a Republican, and we got talking about the differences in the parties, and I got to the realization that my views were more Republican than Democratic. You have to show up to participate, so if you don’t show up, how do you know that they don’t embrace you. Sometimes it’s just a mis-perception.”

…On being a black female CEO in Dallas:  

“I can’t sit here and pretend as if, oh it’s all glamorous and all you have to do is believe because our childhoods forge our future, our community, our beliefs, our exposure help to frame who we are. And sometimes, a lot of times, based on your background, you don’t necessarily believe in yourself. And so you can’t go out and do more. I’m not going to pretend as if that is not there. For the most part, if one wants to apply themselves, there are tools available to help.”

…On what she’s been saying to voters:   

“Do your own research. Don’t base it on casual conversations that you have with other people. Find out more about, not just what the party stands for, but the elected officials in that party, what they stand for, the individuals, what they plan to do… which is why it makes sense to attend fund-raisers because you get to meet the candidates. You get to talk to them one on one. You get to ask them pointed questions that they can answer there and then. And then you can then make a decision based on that about who to vote for. I won’t say lean towards a party because your family’s always been Democratic or your family’s always been Republican. You have to do the research yourself. It takes a level of effort to do so.”

…On if she’ll ever run for any political office:    

“Never say never. I’ll just have to wait and see…what opportunities present themselves. And if I feel that I’m up to par, or if time allows for it, yes I would love to run.”

Watch Ronke Okpa explain why she's a Red State Woman: