The first weekend of February brought the LGBTQ Victory Institute to Houston, Texas, where a large and diverse class of LGBTQ leaders wanted to run for office or assist on campaigns gained skills required to run a campaign as an out person. 51 talented individuals attended the intensive four-day training, representing many states, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and genders—each with their unique reasons for participating.
Trainees were greeted at the opening reception by none other than former Mayor of Houston and current President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund & Institute, Annise Parker. Other featured speakers included: Lupe Valdez, Texas’ first openly gay and first Latina sheriff running for Governor of Texas, and Judge Steve Kirkland, who is running for Texas Supreme Court Justice. The participants then spent the weekend learning valuable skills such as campaign planning, budgeting, canvassing, and online campaigning, all the while being tested in numerous real-life simulations.
Over 51 percent of the participants are currently running for a political office within the next six months to a year. An additional 24 percent stated that they are seriously considering a run for office in the near future. The vast majority of participants had experience working on a campaign prior to the training, and four are currently sitting in office. Additionally, six of the participants were transgender, non-confirming leaders including Mayor Jess Herbst, the first openly transgender mayor in Texas as well as the first openly transgender elected official in Texas. The trainees traveled to Houston from over 20 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam. The Victory Institute is committed to building a diverse pipeline of out LGBTQ leaders and preparing them to run for elected office across all levels of government.
David Ermold is challenging Kim Davis for Rowan County Clerk