Today LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed eight openly LGBTQ candidates for the Georgia state legislature – the most in history. If all are elected, Georgia would increase its representation in the state legislature from five members to eight and elect its first openly LGBTQ state senator, Kimberly Jackson. Currently just 16 openly LGBTQ elected officials are serving in the entire state.
In addition to Jackson, two non-incumbents received an endorsement: Marvin Lim for state House District 99 and Mac Sims for state House District 163. All five openly LGBTQ incumbents also received endorsements: state Representatives Park Cannon, Karla Drenner, Sam Park, Renitta Shannon and Matthew Wilson.
Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization, also announced today its endorsement of seven of the openly LGBTQ state legislative candidates: Jackson, Lim and the five incumbents.
“We have an enormous opportunity to build LGBTQ political power in the Georgia state legislature – and it will be a focus for our community in 2020,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Georgia lags behind nearly every state in the nation in protecting LGBTQ people, but growing LGBTQ representation in the state legislature could be transformative. The impact of three additional LGBTQ state legislators will extend well-beyond three more votes on key legislation. These leaders will help colleagues better understand LGBTQ people, influence debates on equality, and ensure policies and legislation are thoughtful and inclusive.”
“Karla, Park, Renita, Sam, Matt, Kim, and Marvin will work tirelessly to advance pro-equality legislation under the Gold Dome, and we’re excited to announce our support for them today,” said Georgia Equality Executive Director, Jeff Graham. “Georgia voters will have the chance to elect more openly LGBTQ incumbents and candidates than ever before when they go to the polls in next year’s elections. LGBTQ voices in the legislature are critical to our efforts to pass protections from discrimination and hate crimes, to decriminalize HIV, and to ban conversion therapy.”
Beyond state legislative candidates, two openly LGBTQ Georgia candidates endorsed by Victory Fund won their run-off elections last night. Kurtis Purtee is now the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Savannah City Council and Joseph Geierman the first openly LGBTQ mayor of Doraville.
Georgia’s 16 current serving out elected officials (not including Purtee and Geierman) include the five state legislators, one mayor, eight local officials and two judges. According to the Movement Advancement Project, Georgia’s policies for LGBTQ equality are the fourth worst in the nation.
Victory Fund has endorsed 74 openly LGBTQ candidates for 2020 races so far. More information about the candidates is available at victoryfund.org/ourcandidates. Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.