Early Professional Life
Chelsey Branham is a proud Chickasaw citizen, community leader, nonprofit professional, and lifelong Oklahoman. Chelsey worked her way through college at the University of Oklahoma. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Religious Studies and Psychology. She went on to earn her Master’s in International Economics and Development. Her area focus was Sub-Saharan Africa and she conducted primary research in Zambia, and was a two-time Boren Travel Fellow.
Throughout her college career, Chelsey worked in social service focused fields. She spent several years working with children from vulnerable families to increase their behavioral and mental health skills. She worked in Zambia to help improve outcomes for orphaned children and overall community health. After returning to Oklahoma, Chelsey spent four years as Director of the Social and Economic Justice Department at the YWCA of Oklahoma City, working closely with employers and community groups to create opportunities for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. She also delivered training related to job readiness and financial literacy, and led additional trainings for groups and organizations focused on ending racism and empowering women.
Current Policy Work
Chelsey was elected into public office on November 6th, 2018, after winning over 52% of the vote in Oklahoma House District 83. She is the first Democrat, woman, and person of color to hold a seat in the district. She was officially sworn into office on November 15th, 2018 with the proud support of her parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, and a tribal delegation of Chickasaw matriarchs.
Since being in office, Chelsey has made continuous strides in improving the life of Oklahomans. Her first bill, HB 1885, created more job opportunities for Oklahomans and more contracts for local businesses. She continues to work on legislation that will improve the lives of foster children in the state, modernize funding for public services, support mental health access, improve education funding, and expand access to healthcare.
Chelsey led the OK House of Representatives in declaring April 24th as Denim Day and the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the state of Oklahoma with Resolution HR 1021. She is a founding member and a co-chair of the bi-partisan and bi-cameral OK Women's Caucus, and an active member of the Native American Caucus.
A committed leader, Chelsey works to promote inclusion, diversity, and economic development. Chelsey is an Executive Stakeholder in the Police and Community Trust, a group that works to improve relations between law enforcement and minority communities, and participates in the local Diversity and Inclusion Consortium alongside other business and community leaders. She is a NextGen 30 Under 30 honoree, a founder of the Suited For Success young professionals board, VP of CommUNITY Alliance, the executive director of the Global Enrichment Solutions Foundation, and is actively involved with small chambers of commerce. She enjoys being an active part of her community and shining light on the amazing work being done in OKC.
Chelsey is a Native Chickasaw who grew up in a close-knit family of four on a farm in Wellston, OK. As a product of rural Oklahoma, she participated in 4H initiatives and showed livestock while in elementary school. Her parents and grandparents taught her the value of hard-work and service with their regular volunteerism at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and on mission trips. She lost her mother to leukemia just before she turned twelve, which sparked her passion for healthcare access and affordability. Traditional and non-traditional education has always been very important to her, and she has contributed to providing community education since she was in high school.
Chelsey has lived around the world, but Oklahoma has always been home. Her experiences have given her a great deal of insight into global perspectives and the need for inclusion, diversity, and collaboration. She continues to serve her community, while living in Oklahoma City. and enjoys spending time with her niece and nephew, Symphony and Rhys, and playing with her boxers Ginsburg, Rylee, and Jaxyn.