ACLU of Oklahoma Selects Former Lawmaker as Executive Director

ACLU of Oklahoma Selects Former Lawmaker as Executive Director

August 30, 2011


Contact:  Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director

Phone:  405.524.8511



OKLAHOMA CITY— Following a nationwide search, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma announced today that Ryan Kiesel will serve as the organization’s next Executive Director.

As Executive Director, Kiesel will serve as the chief executive officer of the ACLU of Oklahoma, with primary responsibility for managing the day-to-day activities and operations of the organization, leading the fundraising, directing and coordinating the work of a professional staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson.

“It is an honor to be a part of an organization that relentlessly defends the rights of Oklahomans at the legislature, in communities large and small, and when necessary at the courthouse,” said Kiesel.

Prior to coming to the ACLU of Oklahoma, Kiesel, an attorney, served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004-10 where he was a strong voice in the defense of civil liberties and regularly debated against measures that limited reproductive rights, free speech, religious freedom, and the rights of the accused.

Kiesel said he applied for the position because the mission of the ACLU of Oklahoma reflects his attitude towards public service.

“You don’t have to look hard to find those who disagreed with many of the positions I took in the legislature, but I took those positions, however unpopular they may have been, because it was the right thing to do. The same can be said of the ACLU of Oklahoma; its course is not set by the prevailing political winds of the day, rather it is guided by a steadfast commitment to defending the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Kiesel.

Juanita Vasquez, ACLU of Oklahoma Board Member and Chair of the Search Committee, was pleased with the number and quality of applicants for the positions, “Many well qualified candidates were reviewed and interviewed. The Search Committee and voting board membership selected Mr. Kiesel as the best qualified for Executive Director and under his leadership we will continue to defend and protect the civil liberties of all Oklahomans.”

ACLU of Oklahoma Board President Randy Coyne said,”We are delighted that Mr. Kiesel has agreed to lead the preeminent civil liberties organization in the state. Although we received many outstanding applications for this position, I am convinced that Ryan’s professional experience, keen intellect, and commitment to justice for all make him uniquely qualified to spearhead the effort to insure that civil liberties in Oklahoma are not sacrificed on the altar of political expediency or diluted by misguided, fear-mongering government officials.”

The ACLU of Oklahoma is one of 53 affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national not-for-profit, non-partisan, voluntary organization founded in 1920. Its purpose is to protect those rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances, freedom of association, the right to privacy, the right to due process of law and the right to equal protection under the law.

The Oklahoma affiliate was established in 1964 and opened its first headquarters in 1973.

For more information about the ACLU of Oklahoma, please visit