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Yesterday’s elections brought stunning victories for the Kansas LGBT community.
Sharice Davids, the Native American kick-boxing lesbian, won her race against incumbent Kevin Yoder. Prior to being elected to Congress in 2010, Yoder was an ally to LGBT Kansas in the Kansas House of Representatives. Once he went to Washington, DC, however, Kevin turned his back on the LGBT community and voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and against the Mathew Sheppard Hate Crimes Act. Davids’ defeat of Yoder in yesterday’s election is a fitting end to his political career. LGBT Kansans now have a voice in Congress, and we could not be more thrilled. Congratulations to Sharice!
Meanwhile, Susan Ruiz of Shawnee and Brandon Woodard of Lenexa, both out members of the LGBT community, won election to the Kansas House of Representatives.
Susan defeated incumbent Representative Linda Gallagher, a long-time friend to Equality Kansas and our community. While we are sad to say goodbye to Rep. Gallagher, we are extremely pleased to have Susan Ruiz step up and represent our community.
Brandon won the seat fomerly held by staunch anti-LGBT Representative Lance Kinzer. Before Kinzer left the House of Representatives in early 2015, he authored, in collaboration with former Rep Jan Pauls, nearly every anti-LGBT bill from 2007 through 2014. Woodard’s victory here is a special one – he flipped a seat from being a hotbed of anti-equality activism to being one of two LGBT voices in the Kansas Legislature.
We’ll have more news about the outcomes around the state, and what they mean for LGBT Kansans, in the next few days.
For now, congratulations Sharice, Susan, and Brandon! Thank you for stepping up to run and represent us in Topeka and Washington DC.