Your 2020 LGBTQ Voting Guide has arrived!
The election of 2018 ushered an unprecedented number of LGBT candidates into office. Voters in Oregon re-elected openly bisexual governor, Kate Brown, while voters in Arizona and Wisconsin both sent queer women to the Senate. Out candidates like Angie Craig and Sharice Davids helped the Democrats reclaim the majority in the House. But that “rainbow wave” hid a difficult truth: LGBTQ representation among elected officials remains paltry. According to the Victory Institute, there are only 843 openly elected LGBTQ officials nationwide. But LGBTQ people are stepping up in 2020 to ensure that our representatives really represent us.
Below you’ll find a comprehensive voting guide that lists (what we think are) all the LGBTQ women and non-binary folks running for federal offices and seats in state legislatures. It also includes relevant statewide ballot measures — such as Nevada’s effort to remove its same-sex marriage ban from the state constitution. (If we’ve missed anyone, gently let us know in the comments and we’ll investigate. For example, we couldn’t find any trans men running for those offices this year, but we’d love to be wrong about that!)
This guide was written by Natalie Duggins, Heather Hogan and Carmen Phillips. In addition to the resources linked below, we consulted the Victory Institute’s Out for America database and Ballotopedia extensively in our research.
VOTING GUIDE INDEX: Jump to Your State
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An * indicates an incumbent in the race
Alaska State House, District 15
After narrowly losing this State House race in 2018, Lyn Franks is running again, still committed to making a difference in her community. At this pivotal time in Alaska’s history, Franks believes that she has the experience and integrity to deliver on behalf of the citizens of Muldoon.
If elected, Franks wants to ensure that state government is doing all it can to protect its citizens, their businesses and the Alaskan way of life, as we continue to grapple with the coronavirus. She notes that the pandemic has made abundantly clear the need for affordable health care for all, including free, widespread COVID-19 testing. In support of small business and enhanced unemployment benefits, Franks is prepared to put all options on the table to support the Alaskan recovery.
Also on Franks’ agenda is she gets to represent the 15th District in Juneau? Enshrining the Permanent Fund in the state constitution, fully funding all levels of public education and promoting community based public safety programs. If she wins, Franks will be the first openly LGBTQ state legislator in Alaska history.
United States House of Representatives, Arizona District 5
While states, businesses and communities all come together to try and navigate their way through a pandemic, Joan Greene’s opponent in the AZ-05 race wasn’t interested. He voted against the Paycheck Protection Program that was supposed to help Arizona businesses survive the pandemic. He voted against the stimulus bill because the legislation included paid sick leave benefits for domestic partnerships.
It’s proof that no matter what — even in the midst of a pandemic that’s killed nearly 6,000 Arizonans — Andy Briggs will not put Arizona first. If elected, Joan Greene will.
Green is committed to providing all Arizonas with access to affordable, quality healthcare. She’s pledged to protect the social safety net and fight for fare wages. She wants a historic investment in American infrastructure to provide economic opportunities to Arizona families and start solving tomorrow’s problems today.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Proposition 207 — Legalizes the recreational possession and use of marijuana.
Arkansas State House, District 33
Miraculously, Tippi McCullough is running for reelection after winning in 2018 without a website, which she is doing again! McCullough was the only openly gay woman in the Arkansas State House last term, and is set to hold that title again as she is running unopposed. She currently serves in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and the House Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative & Military Affairs Committee and her priorities include “raising the minimum wage; fighting for anti-discrimination policies; keeping after-school programs; ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare; fighting climate change and protecting our environment; closing loopholes in ethics laws; fighting bathroom bills and other anti-LGBT proposals; and repealing Arkansas’s overly harsh eviction laws.”
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Issue 3 — Changes initiative process and legislative referral requirements.
United States House of Representatives, California District 53
In times of crisis, voters often turn to the leaders with the most experience, hoping their expertise can resolve those difficult situations. For progressives, that’s meant begrudgingly embracing moderate candidates who don’t fully embrace our vision of America. But in the CA-53, voters can get both in Georgette Gómez: an experienced and proven leader and a candidate committed to creating a progressive future for San Diego residents.
After a career in community organizing, Gómez joined the San Diego City Council in 2016 and, just two years later, was chosen to be its president…the first queer Latina to serve in that role. During the pandemic, she’s shown steady leadership: stopping evictions, supporting small businesses, expanding access to testing and securing protective equipment for first responders. As a member of Congress, Gómez has pledged to support Medicare for All, equal pay, action on the climate crisis and to protect Social Security and Medicare from privatization.
California State Assembly, District 51
Toni Atkins has made history at every stage of her career: the first out lesbian Mayor of San Diego, the first out lesbian Speaker of the California Assembly and now the first out lesbian to serve as President pro tempore of the State Senate. As she’s climbed California’s political ladder, she’s lifted the LGBT community along with her: rewriting anti-discrimination laws to include “gender identity” and “gender expression,” ensuring trans Californians can make changes to official records, while maintaining their privacy, and collecting data to track the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT people.
As California grapples with the fallout from the ongoing pandemic and the effects of climate change, it’s paramount that Atkins’ steady leadership returns to Sacramento. She’s already hard at work to address the state’s budget shortfall while promising to avoid major service cuts and raising taxes on the middle class. She’s leading the Senate effort to produce robust climate legislation that addresses fires, floods and air quality.
California State Assembly, District 60
The pandemic has hit California hard: last month, the state’s unemployment rate was 11%, down slightly from August, but far above the 3.9% in September of last year. If the state is going to rebound from its current unemployment crisis, it needs leaders like Sabrina Cervantes to lead the way.
Since winning a seat in the State Assembly in 2016, Cervantes has been focused on small businesses and job creation. She led an effort to establish a new $100 million small businesses hiring tax credit program. She’s worked to ensure support for small businesses led by disabled veterans. If re-elected, Cervantes wants to secure investments in clean energy technology in order to create good-paying green jobs and expand access to college and job-training programs to prepare California’s workforce for the challenges of the new economy.
And if that wasn’t enough on Cervantes’ plate, she and her wife, Courtney, are new parents to triplets! Cervantes is the first out member of the legislature to give birth while in office.
Susan Talamantes Eggman
California State Senate, District 5
After graduating high school, Susan Talamantes Eggman followed the family tradition of military service by becoming a combat medic in the Army. While she’s years removed from her military service now, the lessons she learned as a medic inform the work she strives to do in the legislature. Since 2012, She’s worked to expand access to health care, to provide more resources for mental health care and to bring a new healthcare facility to the district to serve its veterans.
After eight years in the State Assembly, Eggman’s running for the State Senate to keep working on behalf of Central Valley families. She’ll continue her work on healthcare, ensuring that it’s accessible, even to those with pre-existing conditions, no matter what happens at the federal level. She’ll work to leverage the buying power of the 5th largest economy in the world to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Eggman will continue the work she started in the Assembly to protect the Central Valley’s environment through opposition to the Delta Tunnels.
California State Senate, District 11
After graduating from Stanford, Jackie Fielder went east, joining her Indigenous community and its allies in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The experience was an awakening for Fielder, one that forced her to wonder, “what kind of economic system turns against its own people?” She returned to San Francisco determined to reshape the system. Her efforts paid off: she was instrumental in passing the Public Banking Act and co-founded the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition, with aspirations to bring the country’s first municipal bank to the Bay Area.
Now Fielder wants to put that ability to reimagine systems to work on behalf of the residents of the 11th District. She has an expansive platform but her top priorities include a Green New Deal for California, addressing homelessness and promoting Economic & Racial Justice. She’s ready to fight against the entrenched interests that tried to stop public banking, as she works to bring single-payer healthcare to the state.
“It’s not just about making things accessible or legalizing them, it’s about making them deeply, deeply affordable,” Fielder said.
California State Senate, District 23
Abigail Medina’s story is unlike any you’ve ever heard from a politician. She is the eldest daughter of working-class Mexican immigrants. As a child, she spent time in the foster care system and was in and out of public schools. As a young mother, she worked in California tomato fields to help feed her family. And then, just as her life appeared settled — with a seat on the San Bernardino City Unified School District board, a husband of 23 years and five children — she got divorced and came out to her religiously conservative family.But as she ventures to become the first out woman of color in the State Senate, Medina’s hard-fought journey powers her vision for the 23rd District.
Medina wants to be a voice for underserved and underrepresented communities, prioritizing affordable housing, quality education and environmental protections. She wants to build on the work she’s done on the school board by establishing quality universal preschool, investing in public education and increasing access to higher education.
California State Assembly, District 6
Jackie Smith is one of the thousands of women spurned to action by the results of the 2016 election. Her efforts to unseat the incumbent in 2018 fell just short, despite the best showing by a Democrat in the district in almost a decade. She returns this year for a rematch, determined to put her private sector experience to work for the voters of the 6th District.
As a member of the Assembly, Smith would prioritize the needs of the district’s most vulnerable. She wants to ensure that children have access to fully funded quality public schools, including universal preschool, and that at home, they have universal access to broadband and the necessary technology. Smith wants to ensure that the district’s seniors — one of the fastest growing populations in the 6th District — have access to health care, support services and affordable prescription drugs.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Proposition 16 — Lifts ban on affirmative action.
+ Proposition 17 — Restores the right to vote to people convicted of felonies who are on parole.
+ Proposition 18 — Allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primaries and special elections.
+ Proposition 20 — Rolls back sentencing reform.
+ Proposition 21 — Expands rent control.
+ Proposition 22 — Ends a mandate that gig economy workers be employees, bars their unionization.
+ Proposition 25 — Overturns a 2018 law that replaces cash bail with risk assessments for suspects awaiting trial.
Colorado State House, District 36
Two years ago in our candidate guide, we highlighted Daneya Esgar’s work on HB18-1046, a bill that’d make it easier for transgender Coloradoans to update and obtain their birth certificates. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate, but Esgar persisted. After winning re-election, she returned to the House and resubmitted the legislation for consideration. This time, she was able to work with her colleagues in the Senate and secure the bill’s passage and the governor’s signature. Life is a little easier for trans Coloradoans becase Daneya Esgar doesn’t give up.
“Solving some of these issues takes time, takes people working together and it doesn’t happen overnight. But in these last five years, we’ve proven that we can get things done,” Esgar said.
If re-elected, Esgar will continue to put Pueblo first and continue to fight for Southern Colorado in the COVID-19 recovery. Based on her track record, you’d be wise not to doubt her.
Colorado State Senate, District 14
Dr. Joann Ginal spent 25 years as a scientist specializing in reproductive endocrinology. She has eight years of experience representing Fort Collins and Larimer County in the Colorado Legislature. From 2012-218 she served as State Representative in District 52, and she’s spent the last two years as as a State Senator. In that role she serves as Chair of the Senate Local Government Committee and as a member of the Health and Human Services Committee. She boasts her professional history not only as a scientist, but also as a healthcare and pharmaceutical professional as bonafides that help her best serve the 14th District.
To that point, if re-elected to her office, Senator Ginal’s top priorities will be health care, public health, the environment, and the impact of COVID-19. She’s been a resident of Fort Collins for over 30 years.
Colorado State House, District 8
In the wake of the popular uprisings around the extrajudicial killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, lots of people lost faith in the ability of politicians and government to make the radical shifts necessary to ensure that black lives actually do matter. Let Leslie Herod restore your faith about what’s possible.
Herod, who also chairs the state’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, drafted SB 20-217, an act to “enhance law enforcement integrity.” Herod worked across the aisle to produce a bipartisan bill that restricts the use of force by police officers, bans chokeholds, repeals the “fleeing felon” law and ending qualified immunity. A local advocate called it, “the largest single advancement of individual civil rights and liberties for Coloradans in a generation.”
For Herod, the bill’s passage is the start, not the end of the work on criminal justice reform. If re-elected, her plans include addressing mass incarceration, sentencing reform and juvenile justice.
Sonya Jaquez Lewis
Colorado State Senate, District 17
Sonya Jaquez Lewis was spurned to activism by a threat to her own home: the establishment of a fracking zone for oil and gas production. She rallied friends and neighbors and they petitioned the state regulatory agency, hired a lawyer and won a temporary moratorium to protect our land. But the problem wasn’t hers alone, it was an issue all across Boulder County…and one to which a permanent solution could be found in the Colorado legislature.
Since becoming a member of the Colorado State House, Lewis has worked to address those issues. She’s developed new regulations to govern the oil and gas industry, as well as the gun, pharmaceutical and pesticide industries. Additionally, as a licensed pharmacist, Lewis has vested interest in improving Colorado’s health care system. Work that started when she was the Medicaid Pharmacy Director for Colorado Access, continued in the State House as she worked to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and insurance premiums and will continue if she’s elected to the Senate.
Colorado State House, District 27
Brianna Titone won her State House race in 2018 — the first political race of her career — by just 439 votes. But while the margin was small, the symbolism was big: Titone became the first transgender lawmaker in Colorado.
Having been a political outsider for so long, Titone joined the state legislature committed to bringing more people into the process. She’s devoted herself to listening to the residents of the 27th district — even those that don’t agree with her — and using those conversations to set her agenda in Denver. Her constituents told her that education funding was their top issue so she’s focused on that: sponsoring legislation to provide universal preschool, child college savings accounts, various grant programs and stipends for nationally certified school professionals.
Titone’s re-election campaign has already turned ugly, as Take Back Colorado, a Republican PAC, has targetted her with a transphobic attack ad. But her people-focused legislative strategy has paid off, as supporters have answered Titone’s call to help her fight back, raising $11,000 for her campaign.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Amendment 76 — Amends state constitution to say “only a citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in federal, state, and local elections.
+ Proposition 113 — Keeps Colorado in the Popular Vote Compact.
+ Proposition 115 — Prohibits abortion after 22 weeks.
+ Proposition 118 — Creates a Paid Family Medical Leave program.
Connecticut State Senate, Senate District 36
Alex Kasser is a Yale graduate and former corporate attorney running for re-election to the Connecticut State Senate. She is currently the vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee, vice-chair of the Transportation Committee, and co-chair of the Baking Committee. Kasser has fought to end voter suppression, ensure access to affordable healthcare and housing, and fully fund public education. She has been a staunch and vocal opponent of the Trump/McConnell agenda, calling them out by name for their destructive governance at every opportunity.
Delaware State Senate, District 6
Sarah McBride is currently the National Press Secretary at the Human Rights Campaign. In her past, before running for office,Sarah McBride worked for leading Democrats including former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden, and the Obama White House. In 2013, McBride joined the Board of Directors of Equality Delaware, the statewide organization working to ensure equality for all LGBT Delawareans, and became a advocate and organizer for the Delaware’s landmark legislation, The Gender Identity Non-discrimination Bill, which was signed into law in June 2013.
Since that time, McBride has worked with state leaders to expand health care covered by Medicaid in Delaware and helped secure passage of legislation protecting vulnerable youth from child abuse (which passed in 2017). She has been active in community and LGBT advocacy for most of her life, and former Governor Markell awarded McBride with the Order of the First State, making her one of the youngest Delawareans to receive the state’s highest civilian honor.
United States House of Representatives, Florida District 12
Kimberly Walker is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in one of Florida’s four “pivot counties” — her district went for Obama twice and then voted for Trump in 2016. What’s particularly interesting about the 12th is that it’s full of veterans — like Walker herself, who served in the Army and Air Force and is currently a contractor with the Department of Defense — who are sharply divided on their support for Trump, especially after the Atlantic article this fall, which was corroborated by various other reputable newspapers, that claimed that Trump called Americans who die in wars are “losers” and “suckers.” Walker’s opponent, Michael Bilirakis, is a Trump man through and through. Walker and Bilirakis are divided along party lines pretty clearly. If she wins, she’ll be the first Black woman and first gay woman elected from her district.
Florida State House, District 70
Michelle Rayner has a COVID pop-up on her website, the only state legislature candidate I saw making the pandemic such a strong priority; she has even added a COVID Resources tab to the navigation bar. Rayner has worked as an activist and aide in the Florida legislature for years, and is ready to step into a leadership role in the government. Her legislative priorities include equitable access to housing, clean air and water, education, employment and other basic essentials required for healthy, stable, thriving lives. If she wins, she will be the first Black queer woman elected to the Florida legislature.
Florida State House, District 69
After losing to incumbent Republican Kathleen Peters in 2016 by 14 points, Jennifer Webb turned around and ran against her again in 2018 and won. Florida’s District 69 is a big time swing district, and Webb’s victory was viewed as the beginning of the Trump repudiation in areas without major Republican strongholds. Webb serves on Florida’s Commerce Committee and lists her priorities as: preserving Florida’s drinking water and waterways, funding public schools and steering money away from charter schools and high stakes testing, funding healthcare (including mental healthcare) and protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Amendment 2 — Increases the state minimum wage to $15 by 2026.
Georgia State House, District 58
Park Cannon is, once again, running unopposed for re-election to the Georgia House of Representatives in District 58. Among Cannon’s platforms are increasing affordable housing, fully funding public schools, accessible healthcare, and LGBTQ equality. She is one of only three LGBTQ Representatives in Georgia’s House and a founding member of the Equality Caucus. When she spoke at the Democratic National Convention, her message was simply, powerfully: “We need to trust black women.”
Georgia State House, District 85
When Karla Drenner was elected to the Georgia State House in 2000, she became the first openly gay member of the legislative body. After 20 years on the job, she ran unopposed in this year’s Democratic primary and is also running unopposed in the General Election. Her legislative priorities have always been education reform, environmental concerns, and access to resources, healthcare, and education particularly for the impoverished citizens of Dekalb County.
Georgia State Senate, District 41
If Kim Jackson is elected, she’ll be the first openly LGBT member of the Georgia Senate. She is an Episcopal priest who was born and raised in South Carolina and has been living in Georgia for a decade. The Georgia House commended her in 2018 for her “tireless efforts on behalf of the disenfranchised, disenchanted, and dispossessed.” Her priorities are ending voter suppression, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, access to healthcare, expanding mass transit, and raising the minimum wage.
Georgia State House, District 179
Julie Jordan ran for office for the first time in 2018 and is running again against Republican incumbent Don Hogan. After teaching public school for 30 years, Jordan now serves as Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Glynn County. She also founded Women’s Voices of Glynn County after Trump was elected in 2016, and the majority of her campaign contributions come from women. Julie’s top three goals for her time in office are to: ensure that Glynn County is safe and vibrant, provide access to quality and affordable healthcare, protect and preserve the environment.
Georgia State House, District 84
Renitta Shannon won her seat in Georgia’s 84th State House District in a 2016 upset, then won again with no problem in 2018. Shannon came out as bisexual in 2017; that same year she was named one of the Most Valuable Legislators in The Nation’s 2017 Progressive Honor Roll. She’s a member of 9 to 5 Working Women Atlanta, the Fight for $15 campaign, and the National Organization for Women. She has also written for TIME Magazine and Cosmo since being elected.
United States House of Representatives, Illinois District 16
Dani Brozozowski is a first generation college graduate and self-described “Army brat” who moved with her family to LaSalle County in the late 1990s, when she was a teenager. She went to Purdue and lived in Chicago for nearly a decade before moving back to her home community roughly five years ago. She’s the current Chair of the LaSalle County Democratic Party.
Brozozowski’s platform includes eliminating private prisons and the for-profit prison industry, along with ending often-racist mandatory minimum sentencing laws. She also believes in legalizing marijuana and using it as a source of tax revenue. She supports not only restoring the Voting Rights Act, but also strengthening it. A fighter against climate change, Brozozowski would like to implement a corporate carbon tax, place a moratorium on offshore drilling as well as drilling on public lands, and invest in efficient public transportation.
Illinois State House, District 14
Kelly Cassidy’s first job in Chicago was as legislative director for the Chicago office of the National Organization of Women, which not only provided Cassidy with an introduction to government — part of her role was helping women feel empowered to advocate with legislators — it set her down a 20 year path of fighting for women’s and LGBTQ communities (Cassidy is a lesbian, who live with her spouse Candace and their three sons on Chicago’s North Side). In 2011 she was elected to represent Illinois’ 14th District in the State House, a position for which she’s currently seeking re-election to her now 7th term in office.
In 2019, Cassidy was an advocate for the Reproductive Health Act, which repealed many restrictions on abortion, including the previous pan on partial-birth abortions. She also co-sponsored Illinois’ Fair Tax Amendment, which would create a graduated rate income tax in the state. She’s also been vocal in the call for the end of district gerrymandering as a means of voter suppression.
Illinois State House, District 54
Democrat Maggie Trevor is a proud graduate of the Rolling Meadows public school system and has family roots in the area dating back to the 1930s. She attend the University of Chicago, earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a master’s and PhD in Political Science. She remained in academia until 1999. After that time, she has worked as a research and operations executive in the healthcare field, eventually moving back to Rolling Meadows to start her own firm.
Trevor, who was also the Democratic candidate for this same seat in 2018 before ultimately losing in the general election, prioritizes affordable health care and quality public education as most important in her platform — no doubt drawing from her own personal experience. She’s also in favor of reproductive rights protection, gun safety, LGBTQ rights, and a graduated income tax. A decades long bicycle commuter, she would also prioritize improving Illinois public transportation options and building infrastructure that is friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.
United States House of Representatives, Indiana District 02
Pat Hackett is an attorney, small business owner (she’s a partner in her own law firm), and adjunct professor who lives with her wife Rita in South Bend. She supports the Affordable Care Act, including its removal of lifetime caps and the removal of exclusions for pre-existing conditions. She also supports universal healthcare coverage and eventual movement towards a Medicare for All system. As the country navigates the financial destruction associated with the COVID pandemic, Hackett believes that congress should compel the Treasury secretary to prevent manipulation, abuse, or otherwise conflict of interest that benefits large corporations with federal bailout money that should go towards small business and individuals.
Hackett is pro-labor and pro-unions, and would seek out legislation that protects workers’ ability to organize and negotiate for fair pay and safe work conditions. She also supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. Hackett strongly agrees that the federal government must rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and agrees with the principles of the Green New Deal. Hackett supports the complete restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Iowa State House, District 65
Liz Bennett was first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2014, becoming the first out LGBT woman to serve in Iowa’s State Legislature. She’s now seeking out her third term. In the Iowa State House, Liz is a member of the Administration & Rules, Economic Growth, Judiciary and Ways & Means committees.
Bennett currently works in tech while simultaneously serving in office, which she believes gives her a unique perspective that focuses not only on the needs of the workforce, but also the necessity of supporting public education, creating green jobs, and fighting for increased minimum wage. In 2018, Bennett was honored as Capital City Pride’s Pride Woman of the Year. She’s also using her relative popularity to fundraise for other Democrats running for the State House, recognizing the importance of flipping a Republican majority in the Iowa State House.
United States House of Representatives, Kansas District 3
When Sharice Davids launched her campaign for a seat on the United States House of Representatives in 2018, the Republican Party came at her with every bit of dogwhistling and outright racism we’ve come to expect from them, with local GOP official Michael Kalny saying on Facebook that she was “a radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation.” Kalny was forced to resign and Davids, who is a former MMA fighter, won her Congressional race. VCreek/AMG polling shows her as a 20-point favorite in this year’s race. Not only is she one of the only openly gay Congresswomen; she’s one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress. Davids serves on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Small Business, and she spent much of her first term focusing on education policy, environmental policy, healthcare, and securing resources for veterans.
Kansas State House, District 86
If she’s elected, Stephanie Byers will be the first trans member of the Kansas State Legislature. Byers taught for 29 years in the Wichita Public School System and received the GLSEN-Kansas Educator of the Year and the GLSEN National Educator of the Year award during her tenure. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Byers’ focus during her campaign has been on LGBTQ equality and ending discrimination, expanding Medicaid, and fully funding public education.
Kansas State House, District 23
Susan Ruiz, a second generation immigrant and first generation college graduate, was elected to office for the first time in 2018; like so many other women, she decided to run after Trump was elected. She became one of the first two LGBT state representatives in Kansas’ history. In her first term, Ruiz served on the Veterans & Military Committee, Social Services Budget Committee, and Children & Senior Services Committee. She’ll be facing off against Republican Jeff Shull and Libertarian Matthew Clark in the General Election.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Constitutional Amendment 1 — Adds Marsy’s Law to the state constitution.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Amendment 1 — States that there’s no right to abortion/abortion funding in the Louisiana Constitution.
Lois Galgay Reckitt*
Maine State House, District 31
Lois Reckitt was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2016. She currently serves on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Prior to running for office, Reckitt spent 37 years as Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center in Cumberland County, Maine and was ultimately inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame for her work with victims of domestic violence. Her legislative focus has been on affordable health care, criminal justice reform and gender equality.
Maine State House, District 123
Laurie Osher spent 20 years as a soil/land use/carbon sequestration specialist and feels that her expertise has prepared her for the challenges facing Maine in the climate crisis. She is now a consultant for small businesses to become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint. Osher is running against Republican Cameron Bowie, about whom I can find no information except that he graduated from college in 2019.
Maine State House, District 133
Sarah Pebworth was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2018 and is seeking reelection in her district, where she also works as the Public Library Board President. After soundly defeating her Republican opponent during her first campaign, she is running unopposed in this year’s General Election.
Maine State House, District 84
Charlotte Warren currently serves as the House Chairperson for the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety in the Maine House of Representatives, where she’s served since 2014. She’s also an adjunct professor for University of New England Graduate School of Social Work. During her time as a public servent she’s fought for fully funded public schools, access to health care, a higher minimum wage, a sustainable environment, and a small business-friendly economy. She’s running against Republican Scott Taylor, whose main complaint at the moment is that Maine should have ignored the science on COVID and opened up sooner and allowed “people to use their own judgment.”
United States House of Representatives, Maryland District 1
Mia Mason had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, serving two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, until a routine medical screening revealed that she was trans. She was subsequently discharged but, when President Obama announced that trans people could serve in the military, she fought to find a way back into service. About a year later, though, a new president enacted a ban on transgender service. Knowing first-hand about politics’ ability to upend lives — sometimes for better, other times for worst — Mason charted a new course: advocating for the families of Maryland’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
To ensure that no one else goes through what she did, Mason is unwavering of her support of the Equality Act. But her platform extends beyond LGBT issues: she wants to protect Maryland’s air and water — particularly Chesapeake Bay — and invest in a green economy. She also wants to protect the livelihoods of the district’s agriculture community by creating a “Farmers’ Bill of Rights,” extending broadband internet access, battling the growth of agribusiness and ensuring a living wage.
If elected, Mason would be the first transgender person ever elected to Congress.
Massachusetts State Senate, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District
In Jo Comerford’s first term as State Senator, she got busy! Serving as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health, the Vice Chair on the Joint Committee on Higher Education, and a member on the Joint Committees on: Cannabis Policy, Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery. She also served on the Senate Committees on Global Warming and Climatee Change. In March 2020, Comerford, already recognized for her leadership skills, was tapped to lead the Senate COVID-19 Working Group and in June 2020 she was also asked to serve on the Senate Working Group on Racial Justice. Her platform includes: quality public education and free public higher education, affordable health care (including single payer health care), paid family medical leave, and the creation of renewable energy polices that address the climate crisis. Jo’s wife, Ann, is a public school teacher. The couple has two children, both of whom are in the Northampton Public Schools.
Michigan State House, District 46
Jody LaMacchia grew up in a small town just outside of Lansing, and then attended Central Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago. LaMacchia decided to run for the Michigan State House after growing tired of the toxicity and ineffectiveness of the legislature. If elected, she sees herself as a person who will be able to bridge divides across political parties as she works towards quality healthcare, fair wage jobs, paid family leave, and schools safe from gun violence. LaMacchia has a wife, Samantha, a teenage son, two dogs, Alfredo and Lolli, and a cat, Boo Boo.
Michigan State House, District 19
Laurie Pohutsky grew up in Redford, where her mother is a nurse and her father was a Teamster who later worked for the city of Dearborn Heights in several positions. Pohutsky graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 and like many college graduates in the last 15 years, struggled to find any meaningful employment after graduation. Feeling frustrated about the economy, student debt and obtaining a living wage — Pohutsky decided to run for the Michigan State House. She’s currently seeking her second term in office, during her first term she served on the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation and Health Policy committees. Pohutsky resides in Livonia with her rescue pets.
Michigan State House, District 108
In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Renee Richer’s family has farmed in Gladstone for five generations. Renee went on to work her way through graduate school, earning a PhD in biology from Harvard before returning back to the UP. Today, Richer lives across from her parents on the family farm with her daughter and partner, in an 1888 farmhouse that she operates as a bed and breakfast.
Richer is another Michigan candidate who is running for office based on their ability as a Democrat to work with Republicans in the legislature. Richer will focus on protecting Michigan’s clean waters from corporate waste, especially important to the way of life in UP. She’ll also work to repeal the Senior Pension Tax laws, ensure access to quality (and affordable) medical care in rural communities, make public education a priority — with an eye towards fairness in rural districts. Richer pledged to take no corporate campaign money from PACs during her campaign.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Proposal 2 — Requires a search warrant to access personal electronic data.
United States House of Representatives, Minnesota District 02
Angie Craig was first elected to the House of Representatives as a part of 2018’s Blue Wave that took back the House from Republicans. In the last two years, Craig has introduced over 25 pieces of legislation, two of which — including the Payment Integrity Information Act and a bill that extends the Payment Protection Program (PPP) by five weeks — have been signed into law. She also co-sponsored more than 500 bills, hosted 21 town halls across all six counties of her district, and personally met with over 10,000 Minnesotans!
Perhaps most interesting about Craig is that she believes that time in politics shouldn’t be a lifetime career and that politicians shouldn’t get richer on the backs of their constituents. Her bill, the HUMBLE Act, would permanently ban members of Congress from serving as lobbyists or owning individual stock. Craig lives in Minnesota with her wife, Cheryl. The couple has raised four sons.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Ballot Measure 1 (Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A) — Legalizes medical marijuana.
+ Ballot Measure 3 — Asks voters to approve or reject a new state flag design that does not include the confederate battle flag but that must include the words “In God We Trust.”
United States House of Representatives, Missouri District 8
Kathy Ellis lost to incumbent Republican Congressman Jason Smith in a landslide in 2018, unsurprising considering her district is in the dark red deep south part of Missouri. But she’s back at it in 2020! Since her 2018 defeat, she’s done dozens of town halls in 30 counties to discuss the topic that matters most to the people in District 8 — income inequality. Trump won District 8 with 76% of the vote in 2016, but polling has him pretty even with Biden there at this point. Only time will tell if that will make any difference for Ellis. In the meantime, she’s running on a platform of accessible healthcare, a New Deal for rural Americans, strong unions, and reproductive justice.
Ashley Bland Manlove*
Missouri State House, District 26
Ashley Manlove is currently the only openly gay member of the Missouri General Assembly, where she is running for reelection in District 26. She’s been an activist and active participant in democracy since her childhood when she began participating in door-to-door voter drives. After being elected in 2018, she served on the Budget Committee and the Financial Institutions Committee. Her priorities have included working to “reform the criminal justice system, expand voter rights, improve education in the district’s urban core with an eye on trauma-informed supportive services, and promote job development.”
Montana State House, District 83
Kim Abbott, the co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, is seeking reelection running on the platform that garnered her victory in her previous two campaigns: economic justice, gender equity, public education, and environmental stewardship. She’s a strong supporter of the Healthy Montana Kids program and Medicaid expansion. Abbott is running against Republican Darin Gaub, whose top Google search result is a letter he wrote to the editor of the Independent Record calling climate change “propaganda.”
Montana State House, District 100
This is Andrea Olsen’s fourth time running for the Montana State House; she’s been serving since she first won election in 2014. Olsen has been endorsed by the Montana Federation of Public Employees, AFL-CIO, Montana Conservation Voters, and Carol’s List. Olsen’s current platform includes investing in education, affordable housing, and preserving Montana’s public lands.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ LR-130 — Removes local government authority to regulate firearms, including concealed carry.
+ CI-118 — Authorizes the legislature or a citizen initiative to create a legal age for purchasing and possessing marijuana.
+ I-190 — Legalizes marijuana for people over 21.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Amendment 1 — Repeals language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as a criminal punishment.
Nevada State Assembly, District 16
Cecelia González is a Thai-Mexican American, daughter of immigrants, and native Nevadan who was raised by her single mother. González was directly impacted by the criminal justice system at an early age, when her biological father became incarcerated when Cecelia was two years old. As a result, the inhumanity of the prison industrial complex has been a core part of González’s lifelong activism. She has been an active member of the Mass Liberation Project housed under the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). This fall, González began a doctoral program in Multicultural Education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas . Her research focuses on the school-to-prison-pipeline, women in prisons, and violence against women.
As a member of the Nevada Assembly, González will organize around protections against interpersonal and domestic violence, women’s health, criminal justice reform, education, and raising the minimum wage.
Nevada State Senate, District 9
Melanie Scheible is a graduate of Nevada public schools before recieving her B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University and a JD from Columbia Law School. Scheible is a former prosecutor for the Clark County District Attorney and also once on the Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign. Her priorities include funding public education, increasing access to affordable healthcare, gun control and job creation. In particular, Scheible fights to enforce universal background checks and supports banning bump-stocks, the gun attachment that was used in the tragic Las Vegas mass shooting that took place on October 1, 2017.
Nevada State Senate, District 1
Dr. Patricia Spearman was the first out LGBTQ+ member (and first out lesbian) of the Nevada State Senate. An Army veteran, in the state Senate, has worked to make sure the Nevada Department of Veterans Services has the resources they need to provide vets with support. Dr. Spearman earned her doctorate in Business Administration with an emphasis on Renewable Energy, serves on Nevada’s New Energy Industry Task Force. In the state Senate, she has worked to cut back energy costs, expand the solar energy economy, establish annual goals for clean energy savings, and bring cost-effective efficiency programs to Nevada. As Chair of the Senate Health Committee, she co-sponsored a bill that expanded reproductive health freedom in Nevada for the first time in 17 years. During her time in office, she also helped convince the state Assembly to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment — making Nevada the first state in four decades to adopt the amendment, which has still not been enacted on a national level.
Nevada State Assembly, District 24
Sarah Peters is an environmental engineer originally ran for office in 2018 (and won) because she believes that climate change and environmental issues rare defining challenge of our time. More specifically, she believes that we need more scientists in elected office to make a lasting progressive difference. As a project manager at McGinnis and Associates Environmental, Peters worked with the Yerington Paiute Tribe, fighting to hold BP accountable for the cleanup of poisoned groundwater and soil from the Anaconda mine Superfund site.
Peters also believes in raising the minimum wage, strengthening small business, and using marijuana funding to directly increase education funding. She is supportive of public charter schools, but strongly opposed to public tax dollars funding private and religious schools. She believes in the implementation of universal background checks, banning civilian ownership of military-style weapons, and banning bump stocks. Peters would like to create an Affordable Housing Infrastructure Bank that would pay incentives for building affordable housing by a taxing luxury home construction.
Peters came out as bisexual at 16, and lives with her husband (a Marine vet) and their three children.
Nevada State Senate, District 11
Dallas Harris was first appointed to the Nevada Senate in 2018, and in that time she has served as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and member of the Education Committee and Natural Resources Committee. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Harris received two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nevada, Last Vegas (computer science and psychology). She received her master’s in public policy from Claremont University in California and her law degree from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. Harris supports raising Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), using marijuana tax revenue towards education, and wants to better support those Nevadans who are unhoused or homeless. In her free time, Harris plays Tennis and has a 2nd degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Question 2 — Recognizes marriages of couples regardless of gender.
+ Question 4 — Adds Nevada’s 2002 declaration of voters’ rights to the state constitution.
+ Question 6 — Requires utility companies to acquire 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources.
New Hampshire State House, Rockingham 18
Add Lisa Bunker to the list of women who never thought of running for office until Trump was elected, and who won a seat in her state legislature in 2018. Her platform this time around is almost identical to the one she ran on in the midterms — defeating voter suppression; equal protections for all minorities; closing the opportunity gap with job growth, affordable housing, and better public education; and sustainable stewardship for the environment and public safety net.
New Hampshire State House, District Strafford 18
Gerri Cannon is a former truck driver and independent lobbyist who became the first openly trans person elected to the New Hampshire State House. During her first term, she focused on education, healthcare accessibility, and the protection of minority rights. She also served on the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. She is also a member of the New Hampshire Conference of UCC Churches, Open and Affirming Concerns Committee.
Rebecca Perkins Kwoka
New Hampshire State Senate, District 21
Rebecca Kwoka is running for office for the first time this year. Her focus has been on protection against discrimination for minorities, a sustainable economy for small businesses, affordable housing, and addressing the climate crisis. She’s been endorsed by over a dozen progressive organizations including Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, LPac and the Sierra Club.
New Hampshire State House, District 7
Sue Mullen was elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature in 2018, becoming the first Democrat to be elected in her district since 1934. Slate ran a profile on her called Red State, Blue Wave. She currently serves on the Education Committee. Mullen worked as a public school teacher and counselor for 39 years, prior to running for office. In addition to her work on public education, Mullen has continued her advocacy for LGBTQ equality. In a post-victory interview in the Midterms, she said, “I think it’s ironic that I’ve just been elected to the same body that I was fearful might in fact renege on my civil union, which is now a marriage.”
New Hampshire State House, District 9
Linda Tanner was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2016. She currently serves on the Education Committee. During her first two terms she has worked to advance all the Democratic Caucus priorities, including trying to raise minimum wage, fund public education, protect waterways and wetlands, provide better family medical leave, and ending incarceration for the mentally ill.
New Hampshire State House, District 8
Joyce Weston was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2018 and currently serves on the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee. In her first term, the NRA rated her 0%, which is always a good sign, and one of her most talked about sponsored bills was one that repealed a state law that allowed public schools to force children to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Weston was an activist and champion of progressive values for decades before running for office.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Public Question 1 — Legalizes the recreational possession and use of marijuana.
New Mexico State Senate, District 38
Originally from El Paso, Texas, Carrie Hamblen has lived in Las Cruses since 1992. Hamblen is the CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization which focuses on creating support for local businesses and creating more awareness about sustainable communities. She believes those same skills will transfer well to the New Mexico State Senate, where the state is already moving in a direction to be less dependent on coal, but also must be sensitive to those jobs that are being displaced by providing free job training and placement in our new renewable economy. If elected, she would also work with the South Central Regional Transit District to increase routes and ridership that will benefit the region. Hamblen also believes that as Roe V. Wade continues to have renewed national attention, it is crucial that New Mexico redo local laws to stop penalizing women who choose to terminate a pregnancy.
Hamblen was Chair of the Southern New Mexico PRIDE organization for 6 years. She enjoys working on the 1948 home she shares with her wife (and has recently remodeled their kitchen, both bathrooms, and pantry!).
New Mexico State Senate, District 39
Liz Stefanics is currently serving her second term in New Mexico’s State Senate. She originally held the position from 1993-96. Voters returned her to the State Senate in 2016. She now seeks a third term in office.
As State Senator, Stefanics lists her priorities as: bringing affordable and accessible healthcare to rural New Mexico (including more primary care physicians and preemptive care opportunities); creating new and sustainable jobs that can put New Mexicans back to work while diversifying the economy; creating quality education and training in public schools; protecting the water and land of New Mexico, including increasing renewable energy for the state.
United States House of Representatives, New York District 23
Tracy Mitrano is facing off, again, against Republican incumbent Tom Reed in the general election for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Reed has one of the highest “Trump Scores” in the United States — he sides with Trump 90% of the time. Public Policy Polling has Reed with a 7-point lead with two weeks left until the election, but Mitrano’s messaging, especially around healthcare, has some people thinking she might pull off the upset. She’s been endorsed by Chuck Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand, New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Mitrano is ready to tackle climate change and face off against the NRA.
New York State Assembly, District 66
Glick was the first openly gay member of the New York State legislature and has worked tirelessly in her career for reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights. While Glick is responsible for legislation requiring the MTA to make 100 key stations fully accessible (something that has not yet been accomplished), she drew criticism from disability advocates in 2014 for not fully supporting their work to amend legislation that would allow some disabled New Yorkers to live in their own homes instead of nursing facilities through a program known as the Community First Choice Option. The legislation ultimately did pass. Glick has served as the chair of the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance, and the chair of the Task Force on People with Disabilities. Glick has also been a strong supporter and advocate for tenants’ rights.
New York State Assembly, District 120
Gail Tosh is, once again, challenging Republican incumbent Will Barclay for the 120th Assembly District seat in New York. She was the first person to challenge him in a decade when she ran against him in 2018, and now she’s back at it. Tosh is a public educator and chicken farmer who is using her campaign to speak out for criminal justice reform; access to healthcare, education, and essential services; and closing the wealth gap.
State Commissioner of Agriculture
Jenna Wadsworth was still a college student when she won her first political race. At just 21, she became the youngest woman to ever hold elected office in North Carolina. Now, a decade late, she’s striving to make history again: Wadsworth wants to become the first out LGBTQ person to hold statewide office and the youngest out statewide elected official in the country.
Wadsworth has built her career combining the lessons she learned on her grandparents’ Johnston County farm — which she still tends today with her father — and the innovations she learned as a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Math and NC State University and you see that reflected in her platform. She wants to expand our definitions of farming, agricultural innovation, in tandem with our land grant institutions, and expand rural broadband so that farmers can compete in the global marketplaces. Also, she’s committed to supporting immigrant farmworkers — many of whom have bore the brunt of COVID — and legalizing hemp and cannabis.
After a TikTok video of hers went viral, Wadsworth has been the subject of a host of rape and death threats. But to Wadsworth, the backlash is an acknowledgement that her opponent is vulnerable and that her candidacy represents a threat to the monied interests controlling state agriculture.
North Carolina State House, District 29
For years, Vernetta Alston has been fighting the tough fights on behalf of people who are often forgotten by our political system. Straight out of law school, she began work as a staff attorney to support the implementation of the Racial Justice Act. Her work on the Innocence Inquiry Commission secured Henry McCollum — then the longest serving inmate on death row — his release.
Following his release, Alston shifted her focus from fighting the system from outside to remaking the system from within. She joined the Durham City Council in 2017 and continued her advocacy for those usually overlooked. She’s secured living wages to all City employees and supported diversion programs for our justice-involved and those facing eviction. And, in the wake of a crisis at McDougald Terrace, Alston supported the largest bond for affordable housing in North Carolina history.
Appointed to the House earlier this year, Alston hopes to bring the same empathetic leadership that she showcased in Durham to Raleigh. Among her legislative priorities: pursuing clean energy reform, fully funding public schoosl, investing in our state’s workers and rebuilding our unemployment insurance benefit system.
North Carolina State House, District 18
When Deb Butler came to work at the State House on September 11, 2019 she knew something was awry: Democrats had been told that the morning session would be a pro-forma, with no votes being taken, but nearly every member of the House Republican caucus was seated. In short order, the Republican House Speaker moved to override the governor’s veto of the state’s budget — which had been held up over a disagreement on Medicaid expansion and increased teacher pay — and Butler jumped to her feet, incensed.
“You shall not do this to democracy in North Carolina, Mr. Speaker,” she yelled. The Speaker instructed her to yield the floor but Butler stood firm, “I will not yield! I will not yield, Mr. Speaker! You shall not usurp the process, Mr. Speaker. How dare you subject this body to trickery, deceptive practices, hijacking the process?”
While the viral video of the incident gave Butler a national profile, her work in the legislature has been focused on returning North Carolina to its roots as a progressive beacon in the South. She’s committed to fully funding public education, rebuilding North Carolina’s infrastructure and cultivating a culture that welcomes new business to the state.
North Carolina State House, District 11
This year, as North Carolinians vie to participate in the electoral process, they’ll have some new tools at their disposal. They’ll be able to request an absentee ballot online. They’ll be able to track their absentee ballot from the time that the ballot leaves their county elections’ office to the time it’s accepted. They can walk into their local polling place knowing that they’re fully staffed by trained (and paid!) poll workers who are wearing personal protective equipment. Credit for the state’s quick adaptation to the new reality created by COVID-19 goes to Allison Dahle.
Dahle’s work on the Bipartisan Elections Act is just another example of her looking out for North Carolinians. In her first term in the House, she worked with advocates to create a missing person alert system focused on veterans dealing with PTSD and pushed for the state to require paid breaks for workers. As she looks toward her second term, Dahle hopes to overcome Republican opposition and finally expand Medicaid. She wants to end gerrymandering and create an Independent Redistricting Commission to do the work of drawing district maps.
Marcia Morey *
North Carolina State House, District 30
In the 18 years before joining the state legislature, Marcia Morey was a district court judge. She witnessed “many incidents of injustice and misuse of police power” but was limited, in her role as a judge, to enact any real systemic change.
But since leaving the bench, that has been the focus of Morey’s career. As a member of the House, Morey has advocated for an end to cash bail, pushed require that any person in jail for misdemeanor charges have a right to a first appearance and supported the Second Chance Act to help restart lives of those who have been incarcerated. If re-elected, Morey would like to bring some of the reform solutions proposed by Campaign Zero to North Carolina. She’ll have greater influence on criminal justice reform this year, as part of the governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.
North Carolina State House, District 19
In 2018, Marcia Morgan engaged in a hard fought campaign against an incumbent Republican legislator and lost narrowly. But in the years since, the General Assembly has redrawn her southeastern North Carolina district and the aforementioned incumbent has been forced to compete in a neighboring district. With an open seat available, Marcia Morgan returns to finish the fight she started two years ago.
Morgan’s resolve to address the challenges facing the 19th district has only intensified. The retired Army colonel has identified four areas of focus: environment, education, economy and equality. She wants to see North Carolina step up its protection of the state’s waterways — especially demanding accountability from industrial and agricultural polluters — and ensure that the coastline remains free of offshore drilling rigs. As a legislator, she would support the Medicaid expansion and increases in teacher pay. Above all, though, she’s fervent about being a people-centered public servant, prioritizing their health and safety above all else.
Oklahoma State House, District 83
Chelsey Branham is a Native Chickasaw and, before being elected in 2018, was the Director of the Social and Economic Justice at the Oklahoma City YWCA. She became the first and only LGBTQ member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives when she was elected in the Midterms in 2018. Her legislative priorities are education, criminal justice reform, accessible healthcare, and rebuilding Oklahoma’s economy.
Oklahoma State Senate, District 37
Allison Ikley-Freeman’s rise to the Oklahoma State Senate was improbable; after all, Democrats make up just 28 percent of the registered voters in the district. But Ikley-Freeman found a way: winning a special election in 2017. Confident that her work on behalf of the 37th district would appeal to people of all political persuasions, Ikley-Freeman noted, “It is about the community, not the party.”
If re-elected to the Senate, Ikley-Freeman pledges to continue to work to achieve greater access to mental health care for Oklahomans and improve the quality of the state’s public schools. She’s focused two issues that are especially important in the wake of the pandemic: restoring the state’s Daycare Assistance Program and improving the efficacy of state and local housing authorities.
But the path back to the State Senate will be a difficult. Ikley-Freeman is working to help her district through the pandemic and campaigning for re-election while convalescing from a serious automobile accident.
Oklahoma State House, District 88
Next month, Mauree Turner looks poised to make history — becoming the state’s first Muslim and the first black queer lawmaker — but this was never the plan; as she told Huffington Post, “I’m Black, Muslim, femme, queer, born and raised in Oklahoma — politics was the last thing in my crosshairs.” But sometimes you pick the moment and other times, the moment picks you.
Growing up, Turner was estranged from her father who was incarcerated. Reconnecting with him while they were in college compelled her to change her plans and focus on a new career path. They committed themselves to criminal justice reform, working on behalf of the CAIR Oklahoma and the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice. If elected, Turner would focus on reducing incarceration rates and dismantling a prison systems more interested in retribution than rehabilitation. Additionally, Turner advocates for boosting teacher pay and school funding, raising the minimum wage, expanding access to health care and increasing inclusivity.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ State Question 805 — Prohibits using a person’s past non-violent felony convictions to impose a greater sentence for other non-violent felony convictions.
Oregon State House, District 44
Representing North Portland, Tina Kotek is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Kotek began her public service career as a policy advocate for Oregon Food Bank, working to eliminate hunger for every Oregonian. She went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon before being elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006.
During her time in the house, Kotek has championed a redesign of the state’s welfare program, led the fight to establish statewide nutrition standards for food sold in schools, and helped to pass legislation that ended discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2013, Kotek became the first out lesbian Speaker of any state House in the nation.
In recent years, Kotek has lead the Portland House in passing earned sick leave, strengthening retirement security and making racial profiling illegal. She has also fought to pass Oregon’s landmark Clean Fuels legislation.
Today, Tina and her wife, Aimee, have a Yorkie, Rudy.
Portland State Senate, District 14
Kate Lieber has lived in Oregon for 24 years, now in Portland, with her wife (Lieber identifies as a lesbian) and her two children. As a breast cancer survivor, she believes that access to affordable, quality health care is critical and is fiercely protective of a woman’s right to reproductive rights and justice. Lieber currently works as a Portland Community College instructor, and is a strong believer in high-quality public school education. As a former Deputy District Attorney, she believes in the need to focus on practical ways of addressing the underlying causes of high incarceration rates — such as untreated mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness institutionalized racism.
Oregon State House, District 41
Having now served for four years and two terms, Karin Power also goes by Oregon’s youngest mom-legislator. Power was first elected to Milwaukie City Council in 2014 and to the Oregon Legislature in 2016. She now seeks her third term in office.
As the youngest parent in the Oregon legislature, Power led efforts to modernize laws for working families, including championing new pregnancy protections in 2019, and expanding breastfeeding laws so all new parents have the right to feed their babies. She also voted yes to pass the nation’s most inclusive statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program. Power and her wife have a preschool age child and two dogs.
In 2019, Power led the passage of legislation to phase out old diesel truck engines in the Portland Metro area. That same year, also pushed for more than six hours for climate action legislation to make our Oregon communities more resilient to wildfire and safeguard the state’s drinking water.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Measure 109 — Legalizes psilocybin mushrooms for Oregon Psilocybin Services Program under the Oregon Health Authority.
Pennsylvania State House, District 36
Everything about Jessica Benham’s run for State House has been unexpected. When she announced her run last year, Bensham expected to run against the incumbent conservative Democrat. But then, the incumbent announced he wouldn’t seek re-election; instead, his handpicked successor would run against Benham in the Democratic primary. The campaign was messy — the would-be successor’s campaign was derailed by a series of offensive Facebook posts — but, in the end, Benham was victorious.
Now facing a Republican challenger, Benham is focused in getting her message out to HD-36 voters. If elected, she’s pledged to bring immediate relief to Pennsylvanians struggling through the pandemic while also working on a plan to ensure long term recovery. She wants to ensure continued affordable access to healthcare and treatment programs for those suffering from addiction. And as longtime disability advocate, Benham wants to work to get rid of the barriers to accessibility that exist in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania State House, District 199
Before she retired from the industry, Janelle Crossley spent 25 years working in health care facility management. As COVID stretches the resources of hospitals and nursing homes, Crossley’s experience could prove vital in creating a state government more responsive to the needs of those on the pandemic’s frontlines. Where the federal government has faltered, Crossley is ready to do the hard work to rebuilding Pennsylvania’s economy. To that end, Crossley wants to prioritize investments in in education — Pennsylvania covers just 38% of school costs — and training, transportation infrastructure, and health care.
Crossley wants to give the 199th district a representative that is committed to leadership, equity and justice. Her platform prioritizes an end to political gerrymandering and open primaries for Pennsylvania elections. She wants her past advocacy work — with TransAdvocacy PA and advocating for the passage of criminal justice reform — to guide her work in the legislature. She wants to work to institute bans on employment discrimination and “conversion therapy.”
Crossley is the first trans woman to run for state office in Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island House, District 4
Just a few months into Rhode Island’s experience with the pandemic, Rebecca Kislak starting noticing some troubling trends: despite only making up 15% of the state’s residents, Latinx folks made up 45% of early COVID-19 cases. She issued an early call to do something. She pushed for tracking case data by by race and ethnicity and ensuring that testing was widely available and accessible to those communities. She advocated for hazard pay for frontline workers and pushed to ensure low-wage employees were prioritized in doling out federal support.
But Kislak also saw a role for herself and her colleagues in the legislature: they needed to fully fund community-led Health Equity Zones and codify the Affordable Care Act into state law. In short, Kislak set her re-election agenda: increasing access to affordable healthcare and also funding access to safe, affordable housing and nutritional foods for all communities.
Rhode Island State Senate, District 6
It’s not clear that Tiara Mack wanted to be an elected official…throughout and after her college career at Brown, Mack existed and thrived in the activist space. But while lobbying on behalf of the Reproductive Privacy Act — a bill that codified the right to choose into Rhode Island law — Mack realized that her own senator was anti-choice (and anti-gay). She realized that she didn’t want to be represented by someone who didn’t share her ideals and, at the moment, Mack’s interest in running for the State Senate was born.
She ran against that senator back in September and to contrast with the bible quoting, 15-year veteran legislator, Mack came to the race as her fully authentic self: a proud, Black, queer woman with a black and queer liberation at the center of her campaign. While he stood with the health insurance companies, Mack vowed to fight for affordable healthcare. While he protected his corrupt political allies, Mack advocated for more more sunlight and elections policies that promote increased participation.
Mack won the contest by nearly 20 points and, in November, will likely be minted as Rhode Island’s first Black, LGBTQ state senator.
Rhode Island House, District 74
Deb Ruggiero was first elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 2008…and she remains one of the most popular incumbents in the legislature because of her independent streak and her commitment to transparency. Ruggiero’s been a leader in advocating on issues like Climate Change and broadband internet access.
Ruggiero’s running for re-election to ensure that Rhode Island has steady leadership as it navigates through this recovery. Her roles as the Chair of the House Committee on Small Business and the House Finance Subcommittee on the Environment and Transportation will be crucial moving forward.
“It won’t be easy,” Ruggiero told constituents when she annouced her re-election campaign. “But we will find innovative ways to get through this together. I am committed to representing our communities.”
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Rhode Island Question 1 — Removes “Providence Plantations” from the official state name.
South Dakota State House, District 7
Earlier this year, the South Dakota legislature advanced a series of bills that drew Louise Snodgrass’ ire. They include one bill that restricted health care for transgender youth, another that forced school counselors and social workers to disclose a student’s gender dysphoria and another that recriminalized same-sex marriage. Snodgrass and her community in Brookings rallied again against the legislation but their representatives weren’t being responsive. Hoping to be the person who could amplify the voices of her community in the House, Snodgrass decided to run for office.
In the wake of a pandemic that’s hit farmers and small businesses especially hard, Snodgrass’ experience — which includes managing Good Roots Farm and Gardens and the Brookings Farmers Market — seems particularly suited for advancing South Dakota’s recovery. If elected, Snodgass wants to utilize their relationship building skills to find common ground on issues like conservation, higher education and agriculture. But, above all, they want to create an accessible, inclusive and transparent government.
If elected, Snodgrass would become the first first openly genderqueer member of the South Dakota legislature.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Initiated Measure 26 — Legalizes medical marijuana.
+ Constitutional Amendment A — Legalizes recreational marijuana.
Gina Ortiz Jones
United States House of Representatives, Texas District 23
Less that half a percentage point — 0.41% to be exact — was the difference between Gina Ortiz Jones and her incumbent opponent when she ran for Congress in 2018. She fell just short of being elected to represent her hometown; the result was one of the closest House races in the country. Determined to make sure that the TX-23 has the representation it deserves, Jones is back, this time without an incumbent to fight, determined to turn the district blue.
Like so many Congressional races, the TX-23 might hinge on the issue of health care. Jones is committed to protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act, in hopes that the program might become more accessible for the 5 million Texans who lack health insurance.
While Jones was, no doubt, subject to some homophobia during her run in 2018, the subtly of it is gone in 2020. Her opponent’s Republican allies have launched a series of anti-gay attacks and are encouraging other outside groups to do the same. Stooping to homophobic attacks only reveals how formidable Jones is as a candidate and how impotent the Republican campaign against her is.
Texas State House, District 17
Madeline “Made” Eden’s never needed a political office to make change in her community. From the time she started learning how to code at age 6, Eden has used her expertise to help countless open-source software initiatives and non-profit organizations maximize their potential. She currently works full-time developing information management systems for progressive political candidates and social impact organizations and somehow finds time to run a non-profit, Register2Vote, that helped register more than 150,000 Texans in 2018. But there’s only so much change that one can make from outside the system so now Eden’s set her sights on a seat in the Texas legislature.
If elected, Eden’s legislative priorities would include: increasing access to quality healthcare, eliminating “school choice” vouchers and investing in public education at all levels and providing universal broadband internet access. She’s especially passionate about creating a more representative democracy in Texas, through ending gerrymandering and voter suppression.
If elected, Eden would be the first openly transgender member of the Texas legislature.
Texas State House, District 104
After pulling off a decisive upset of an incumbent Democrat in her 2018 primary, Jessica González runs this year without opposition. In her first two years in the legislature, González has been active, penning legislation related to criminal justice reform, voting and health care. She’s advocated for the Medicaid expansion, school finance reform, fought against discrimination and protected Texans from human trafficking.
Since the pandemic hit, González has been out on the frontlines, ensuring that her community has access to COVID testing and PPE. If she’s re-elected, González will, no doubt, continue to serve the interests of her constituents in the 104th District as best she can, but the real opportunity will come if Texas voters restore Democrats to the majority in the House.
Texas State House, District 75
Last year, when the five queer women in the Texas House banded together to form the legislature’s first LGBTQ caucus, the founders chose Mary González — the only openly pansexual elected official in the country — as their chair. It made sense…not just because she’s the longest serving LGBT member of the House but because the El Paso native has a proven track record of getting stuff done.
“It’s been an honor to represent our community and our home for the last seven years. And in this time period, we’ve been able to work on things that have mattered to us the most: public education, agriculture, infrastructure,” González reminded voters when she announced her re-election.
But there’s still more work to do. In the wake of the pandemic, González is focused on the rural communities in her district that are most susceptible to coronavirus. She’s urged state officials to establish mobile testing centers and to develop communication strategies for hard to reach communities. And when she returns back to Austin in January — she’s running unopposed in the 75th district — González is determined to make the Medicaid expansion the legislature’s top issue.
Celia Israel *
Texas State House, District 50
How good is Celia Israel’s record as a representative for District 50? So good that, according to the Austin-Statesman, even her Republican opponent couldn’t object to it. Her work on to improve voter access and election security and working to establish whistleblower protections earn universal approval.
But Israel’s most impressive accomplishment may be her stewardship of the House Democratic Campaign Committee. The gains from the 2018 election have Texas Democrats hopeful that they can retake the House…which would be a gamechanger in advance of the 2021 redistricting process. Israel and House leaders are using a promise of “Affordable Health Care for Every Texan” to drive Democratic messaging. To help candidates in pursuit of a Blue Majority, Israel and the HDCC have delivered record-breaking fundraising hauls.
Texas State House, District 34
In 2010, Ann Johnson appeared before the Texas Supreme Court, challenging a law that condemned child prostitutes as criminals, not as victims. She won that fight and, in the process, rewrote laws on human trafficking in Texas and across the nation. She continued her work in the Harris County DA’s office, establishing a section focused exclusively on human trafficking. Now a lawyer in the private sector, she continues to work on these issues, urging leaders not to target sex workers. But now Johnson’s prepared to get off the sidelines and into the House, where she can affect change from within.
Johnson is running against a self-described “moderate,” who district residents describe as the “Susan Collins of Texas.” But while her opponent waffles about which side of the fence to be on, Johnson is firm in her convictions: she wants to expand Medicaid and ensure that all residents have unfettered access to the COVID-19 vaccine. She wants to invest in public education, restoring the $5.3 billion lost to cuts over the last decade. And so she never has to see another El Paso or Sutherland Springs, Johnson is a staunch advocate for common sense gun reform.
If Texas Democrats are to have any chance at winning the House, Ann Johnson’s race is a must win.
Texas State House, District 115
Julie Johnson is part of the new class of female legislators who took our collective outrage after the 2016 election and turned it into action. After building a career in Dallas as an attorney, she decided to challenge a vulnerable Republican in 2018. She won decisively and has spent the last two years working hard on behalf of the resides of the 115th District. She’s championed responsible spending, criminal justice reform and women’s health during her first term.
Johnson was voted freshman legislator of the year by both the LGBTQ Caucus and Texas Monthly for her work on killing an anti-gay House bill. Johnson used legislative procedure to stop consideration of HB-3172 — known as the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill to Republicans and “Bathroom Bill 2.0” to LGBTQ advocates — and ultimately doom it to failure. It was a big win for LGBTQ Texans and, though Johnson is quick to give the credit to the entire caucus, it was her savy politicking that led the way.
Texas State House, District 28
Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz’s November race is a rematch. After the 28th district’s representative resigned, a special election was called that, ultimately, pitted Markowitz against a Republican who loaned himself $1.5M for his campaign. Markowitz didn’t win that race but she has another shot to turn HD-28 blue in a couple of weeks.
As an educator herself, Markowitz is committed to creating a public education system that provides high-quality education to all Texans, regardless of race or zip code. She wants to restore the $5M+ cut from the education budget by the Republican legislature and revamp the school financing system that’s failed too many Texas children. She wants charter schools to be held to the same standards as public schools while ensuring those standards don’t include ineffective standardized tests. Markowitz also wants to invest in Texas teachers and student support staff, providing them with higher salaries and better benefits.
Texas State House, District 73
Stephanie Phillips is a teacher by trade and like so many of the educators who decide to run for public office, ensuring a quality education for her constituents is a top priority. She wants to move away from standarized testing and, instead, trust teachers and administrators to assess the progress of their students. Philips wants an increase in per pupil spending and a pledges to fight against proposals that divert public funds to charter or private school. She supports legislation to restore the state’s support for public education to 50% of the total cost, rather that relying heavily on local property taxpayers.
Philips is especially passionate about replacing her Republican opponent due to his unwillingness to take a stand to preserve the Hill Country’s environment. She wants to pen legislation that would allow county governments to implement common sense land use rules. Phillips favors creating a set of standards to govern the aggregate mining that is threatening the Hill Country’s natural beauty or infecting the air and water with pollution.
Texas State House, District 45
When Erin Zwiener questioned her then-representative on Facebook about his stance on a controversial immigration measure, things got tense and, ultimately, he called her a troll and blocked her. His response was enough to draw her into the HD-45 race — though not against her then-representative, who opted to run for Congress — and, despite the district’s conservative leanings, Zwiener pulled off the unlikely victory.
After just her first term in the House, Zwiener is already being described as “the most savvy freshman and potential future leader of the House Democrats. The conservationist, by trade, Zwiener’s focused on environmental issues, passing legislation to protect groundwater, reduce night-sky light pollution and mitigate flooding. She wants to continue that work if she’s re-elected, establishing a public routing process for oil and gas pipelines. Zwiener also worked last session to pass a historic $11.6 billion public school finance bill that increased teacher pay while cutting property taxes, but wants to do more to increase state support of public education in a second term.
To win re-election, Zwiener will face a familiar foe: the then-representative that called her a troll? His wife is Zwiener’s Republican opponent this fall.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Constitutional Amendment A — Makes language in the state constitution gender-neutral.
+ Constitutional Amendment C — Repeals language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as a criminal punishment.
US Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands Senate, St. Thomas/St. John
Tourism is the economic engine for the US Virgin Islands but between the impact from tropical storms in the Carribean, which have damaged the islands’ infrastructure, and the pandemic, which has kept tourists away, the island’s financial situation is bleak. That’s why the territory’s budget is the top priority on Janelle Sarauw’s list, should she be re-elected to a third term in the Senate. She wants to ensure that progress is made on previously funded disaster-related projects. That progress will create jobs, generate tax and, ultimately, tourism revenue to help USVI recover.
“The pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate, re-organize, re-calibrate, re-think how we operate. Without warning, our economy has shifted from a fickle tourism market to an industrial one – and so preparing a skilled labor force is also vital to a strong and stable economy,” Sarauw said.
Whatever moves Sarauw makes in a potential third term, they’ll be done with the utmost transparency. Once a month, she conducts an online town hall with her constituents, listening to their concerns and helping them with their problems. She also issues detailed quarterly reports and is the only Senator who publishes a financial report.
Vermont State House, District 4
First elected in November 2018, Kathleen James is a Democrat who serves on the Vermont House Education Committee. On that committee over the last two years, James has been a part of decision making on a variety of important education topics — including literacy, universal pre-K, and the aging infrastructure of school buildings. In March 2019, James was also appointed to serve as legislative advisory to the New England Board of Higher Education.
James also serves on the leadership of the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus and in 2019 won the Vermont Conservation Voter’s Rising Star Award.
When not serving in the legislature, James is the editor of Skiing History, a bimonthly magazine about the history of the sport. She lives with her wife, Alexandra. The couple has two daughters.
Vermont State Senate, District 17
Vermont Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint believes in pragmatic optimism and direct action. A former public school teacher, community college instructor, and camp director — Balint revived her BA from Smith College, her MA in Education from Harvard and her MA in History from UMASS Amherst. In her second term in office, Balint was made Vice Chair of the Education Committee, along with becoming Senate Majority Leader. In her third term was re-elected Majority Leader. She now seeks her fourth term in office.
During her recent time in the Vermont Senate, Balint shepherded earned sick time legislation (paid leave legislation), new first time homeboy down payment assistance programs, and also increased accessibility to voting with same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration at the DMV. Most recently, she also believes in the necessity of criminal justice reform and serves on the Fair and Impartial Policing Committee.
She lives with her wife and their two children.
Vermont State House, Chittenden 6-7 District
Taylor Small is looking to become Vermont’s first out trans lawmaker. She currently serves as the Director of the Health & Wellness program at Pride Center of Vermont, where she works closely with the Vermont Department of Health to navigate health disparities specific to the LGBTQ+ community. Small describes one of her greatest passions as is increasing access to care for marginalized community members through educational outreach and evidence-based interventions. If elected, she’ll advocate for affordable health care, setting a livable minimum wage, and increasing access to housing and home ownership. She would like to create a statewide plan to divest from and ban fossil fuels. She is also supporting a plan to Defund the Vermont State Police by 30% and removing police from schools.
Previously, Small served on the Board of Directors for Outright Vermont, a statewide non-profit for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. She lives with her partner and their dog, and performs as a drag persona, Nikki Champagne.
United States House of Representatives, Washington District 10
Beth Doglio is a State Representative, community organizer, climate leader, and candidate for the House of Representatives in Washington’s 10th District. Serving in the legislature since 2017, Beth is one of Washington’s foremost leaders on the environment, housing, gun safety, and issues facing working families. She’s also a member of the state legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus.
After graduating from Indiana University, Beth moved to Washington state in 1987, serving as a community organizer. She served as the founding Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters (WCV), one of the state’s most prominent environmental organizations. She also spent time working at NARAL (the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League).
In addition to her role in the state legislature, Beth has worked at Climate Solutions since 2007 working to pass federal, state and local climate policy and serving as the director of the Power Past Coal campaign since its inception – making her an sorely needed expert in developing a clean energy economy.
Washington State House, District 37 (Position 2)
For 51 days, Kirsten Harris-Talley served as a member of the Seattle City Council, appointed to fill a vacancy left by the newly appointed mayor. The activist used her short time as a public official to focus the priorities that had guided her work for years. She secured a $436,470 budget line to fund four new positions in the City’s Human Services Department, which handles homelessness programs. As she approached the end of her tenure, Harris-Talley was urged to run for public office again but the moment was never right…until now.
As the representative for the 37th District, Harris-Talley pledges to pursue an ambitious and positive agenda. Harris-Talley plans to guide Washington towards a full economic recovery and away from the state’s current regressive model of taxation. In addition, she supports fully funded public education, a Green New Deal, universal childcare, Housing for All and a total reimagining of criminal justice reform.
Washington State House, District 27a
First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2010, Laurie Jinkins is Washington state’s first woman and first lesbian Speaker of the House.
Jinkins started her career in the state Attorney General’s Office litigating child abuse and neglect cases and went on to serve as an Assistant Secretary of Health at the State Department of Health. She has spent the last 25 years of her career working in public health. As such, leading in the time of COVID has become of the utmost importance to her, recognizing that the physical health of Washington’s citizens is fundamentally tied to the economic bounce back of the state. As protests against police brutality gained groundswell over the summer, Jinkins, in her capacity as Speaker, also made making sure that the voices of our Black Members Caucus were (and are) leading the way on police accountability measures.
Laurie lives with Laura (married for 31 or 6 years depending on how you count!) and their son.
Washington State House, District 43 (Position 2)
When Sherae Lascelles’ opponent in the State House race first took over the seat, Lascelles was just seven years old. Around the same time, Lascelles began to learn the power of activism: the third grader gave her Red Vines to a hungry student who had been sent out of class for “[acting] out of turn.” The simple act of kindness was met by condemnation from a teacher.
“I didn’t even know why I felt like I had to do that, but I just didn’t understand the punishment and I didn’t understand how she was being treated and it didn’t make any sense so I put it upon myself to do something about it,” Lascelles said.
Standing up for those who have been cast aside and doing something about the injustices she’s witnessed have been the hallmark of Lascelles’ career. She founded two non-profits, People of Color Sex Worker Outreach Program and Green Light Project, and now looks to continue her advocacy as a member of the House. Her campaign promises to put people over profit, emphasize equity and accessibility and focus on mutual aid and community care.
Washington State House, District 43
Nicole Macri, who represents parts of Seattle, was first elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 2016. She serves as Vice Chair of the Healthcare and Wellness Committee and is a member of the Finance and Appropriations Committees. She’s also a member of the LGBTQ Caucus.
Marci has more than 20 years of experience championing progressive causes such as affordable housing, homelessness, human services, and mental health. She has been at the forefront of the Housing First movement — based on the idea of offering people a place to live and surround them with the support they need to keep that home rather than believing only some people are “deserving” of housing based on capitalist means — and is a nationally recognized leader in practical and effective strategies that end the homelessness of people living with serious disabilities.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Referendum 90 — Enacts Senate Bill 5395 requiring public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education for all students.
West Virginia State House, District 36
Amanda Estep-Burton was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2018; she is currently the minority chair for the Banking and Insurance Committee. She began her own banking career as a teller and is currently the Vice Chair of Merchant Services. Her main priority is funding public schools. She’s been endorsed by the local Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia Nurse’s Association, and the West Virginia Education Association.
Wisconsin State Assembly, District 9
Born and raised in Milwaukee’s Southside, Democrat Marisabel Cabrera first won this race in 2018 and is now seeking a second term of office in Wisconsin’s State Assembly.
In the last two years, Cabrera has served on 6 committees, authored 10 bills, and co-sponsored over a 100 more. She prioritized ensuring affordable and high-quality healthcare, strengthening Wisconsin public schools, environmental protections, and supporting small business. Cabrera also prioritizes immigration reform and was recently appointed Vice Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators 2020 Immigration Task Force. She believes that Wisconsin needs a better, more efficient immigration system and demands stronger resources from the federal government. She also wants to protect Milwaukee’s public water, air, and land from privatization efforts.
Wisconsin State Assembly, District 15
Jessica Katzenmeyer is an activist and ride share driver, with years of experience as a labor leader (including three years as secretary of Teamsters Local 344 Political and Legislative Committee). Focusing her platform on healthcare, Katzenmeyer is running for Wisconsin State Assembly because she believes that workers and families should not have to risk a lifetime of debt for life-saving hospital visits and medicine.
Last year, Katzenmeyer spent a week in the hospital after her home burned down. The experience left her facing an $80K bill, and she decided to run for office to help change the broken system so that it can become about people over profits.
Within the last year Katzenmeyer completed trainings with both Emily’s List, focused on women candidates and the Victory Fund, focused on LGBT candidates. She is the second transgender person to ever run for Wisconsin State Assembly and the first to run in her district.
Bonus Ballot Information
+ Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment — Adds Marsy’s Law to the state constitution.
Wyoming State House, District 44
Sara Burlingame was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 2018; she currently serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Joint Judiciary Committee. Burlingame is also the Executive Director at Wyoming Equality. The Casper Star Tribune said, after her first term, that she’d built a reputation as “an effective coalition-builder and has already developed strong relationships on both sides of the aisle.” However, she has also been a relentless and outspoken critic of the Trump administration, criticizing his policies from the perspective of a “feminist Mormon housewife.”
Wyoming State House, District 13
Cathy Connolly has been District 13’s representative since 2009, when she was elected the first openly gay member of the Wyoming State Legislature. In addition to her legislative work, Connolly is a professor at University of Wyoming where she teaches Women’s Studies. During her time in office, she’s been an advocate for LGBTQ equality, seeking especially to protect gay and trans youth. She’s also focused on economic and environmental stewardship, accessible healthcare, and increasing the minimum wage. She’s one of the few state legislators to introduce a COVID plan on her website.
I had to look it up as you have both Toni Atkins & Sabrina Cervantes for the 60th district. Toni is representing the 51st district, while Sabrina is in the 60th district.
Thank you! This has been updated!
Re: ballot propositions and initiatives, the design of this page makes it look like these are all initiatives that AS endorses (with plus signs used as bullet points). Is that the case? Given the list of CA propositions highlighted, I would be quite surprised if AS endorsed a “yes” vote an all of them, particularly Prop 20.
Thank you for asking! That is not the case, no.
We use “+” as bullet points to get around a piece of coding, because the actual bullet points can mess up our formatting (which is particularly difficult on a lengthy piece like this).
It’s definitely on purpose that nowhere on this post do we use the specific language/word endorse, for ballots or candidates. But we do hope to give you a comprehensive-sh view on what’s going on as you make your own voting decisions.
On a similar note, the way you’ve described Prop. 25 might lead people to think that their vote means the reverse of what it actually does. Here “yes” would *uphold* a bill that replaces cash bail with risk assessments and “no” would repeal it. This might not be worth updating in such a long post (thanks for all of the research!!), but I thought I’d add a clarification in case it helps someone.
Jill Rose Quinn is trans and on the ballot in suburban Cook County, IL. She’s running to fill a vacancy on the Circuit Court and would be Illinois’ first elected trans official if she wins the seat!
I know y’all couldn’t possibly cover every down-ballot person up for election so I wanted to mention it.
Thank you so much for this guide!
I cannot imagine how long putting this together took. Thank you for your heroic efforts all!
To add on to your list, Jackie Fielder is running for State Senate in San Francisco. She’s queer, indigenous, and Latinx, and has some great ideas re: making a public bank and creating an indigenous-run task force for wildfire management. I already voted for her! 💜
Haha +1 for Jackie Fielder! One time she tweeted that her favorite bar in SF is El Rio, which is a gay dive bar and also MY favorite bar, and if I ever ran into her there I would swoon.
Thanks for the update, @rivergirl1. Jackie’s profile has been added.
A few corrections for Oklahoma. Rep. Branham wasn’t the first openly LGBTQ2S+ person to serve in the House. Rep McCaffrey and Rep Floyd were before her. Additionally will note now Senator Kay Floyd is not on the ballot this year, but is the queer minority leader in the Senate, and her caucus member Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman is a queer candidate on the ballot this cycle.
I think that Kirsten Harris-Talley who is running for WA 37th is queer. https://www.autostraddle.com/q-a-with-kirsten-harris-talley-a-queer-black-scorpio-femme-and-state-rep/
Added. Thanks, Jean.
Sherae Lascelles (running for WA State Rep in the 43rd LD) and Kirsten Harris-Talley (running for WA State Rep in the 43rd LD) are both queer Black femmes in Seattle.
Whoops, Kirsten Harris-Talley is running in the 37th LD, not the 43rd.
Mia Mason is a trans woman running for Congress in Maryland’s 1st District.
Thanks for the heads up, Alex. We’ve added Mia to our guide.
Janelle Crossley is running for State Representative in Pennsylvania HD-199 she is an open transgender woman.
Added! Thank you Juli!
This is fantastic! Thank you! Why no Ohio, though? Also do you partner with state LGBTQ organizations on these?
Thanks Gwen. Ohio isn’t included because they don’t have an out queer woman or GNC running in statewide, legislative or federal races this year…or at least that we can find.
That said, if you’re looking for Ohioans: Sandra Kurt and Charmaine McGuffey are two lesbian candidates from Ohio, running for Summit County Clerk of Courts and Hamilton County Sheriff respectively.
We don’t partner with State groups explicitly but I try to crossmatch lists with state equality orgs.
I have developed a list of LBTQ women who ran for a seat in their respective state legislatures. I have about 90 names which I believe is a little longer than yours. Your list had a couple of names I didn’t have (thanks). Anyway, I’d like to send the article authors a copy of the excel spreadsheet that I developed. It might be of use to you and I’m happy to share. I can be contacted at email@example.com