We are proud to announce LGBTQ Victory Institute’s 2022 class of David Bohnett Leaders Fellows. These seven inspiring LGBTQ political leaders were selected to attend a three-week, Executive Education program at the Harvard Kennedy School thanks to a scholarship provided by the David Bohnett Foundation.
This opportunity will provide these leaders with the tools necessary to take their activism and passion to the next level. Alumni of this program go on to serve in all levels of government across the country. Other alumni include California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins.
Below are the 2022 fellows. You can read more here about the David Bohnett Leaders Fellowship here!
Tom Beckius, Lincoln City Council, At-Large
Tom Beckius was elected to the Lincoln City Council in 2021, defeating an eight-year incumbent and beating the previous fundraising record for a city council campaign. As an At-Large councilmember, Tom represents almost 300,000 constituents.
Tom, born and raised in Lincoln, served as Vice-Chair of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission immediately prior to his election. Prior city governance service includes board service of the Lincoln City Libraries, Community Health Endowment of Lincoln and Lincoln Commission on Human Rights. Tom has also served in leadership roles in various community organizations including the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Realtors Association of Lincoln, Lincoln’s Young Professionals Group, NextGen at the Lincoln Community Foundation and OutNebraska. Tom currently serves on the Board of Counselors for University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Community Advisory Council for Lincoln Public Schools.
Tom owns and operates Nebraska Brokerage, a real estate brokerage firm, in addition to several small businesses focused on real estate and construction. Tom and his husband, John Pearson, enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.
Tara Flanagan, Alameda County Superior Court
Judge Tara M. Flanagan [she/her] is a Superior Court Judge in Alameda County, California. A former civil litigation attorney, award-winning L.A. County prosecutor and respected domestic violence legal aid attorney with a specialization in representing survivors of LGBTQ domestic violence, Judge Flanagan was first-elected to her state’s Superior Court in June of 2012, re-elected in 2018, and has served as judge in California since then.
In addition to her current judicial duties in juvenile dependency court, Judge Flanagan has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges since 2014 and is currently in her final year as LGBTQ+ Judges President. She was appointed to the state of California’s Traffic Advisory Committee by California’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, serves on the Elections and Political Action Committees of the California Judges Association, and graduated from a faculty development program at the National Judicial College in 2021. Tara also participates in many other governance roles within her own court and volunteers in her community.
From her time as a collegiate and international athlete, to her service as her law school class president and later as an elected Judge, Tara has remained steadfast in living and leading as her authentic self: an out lesbian. Though this has not been without consequence, it has been essential to her success and her goal of forging a path for, and helping others achieve their dreams.
Shay Franco-Clausen, Santa Clara County Commission, Chair
Shay Franco-Clausen is a fierce and dynamic powerhouse who advocates tirelessly to empower, educate and prepare black women and women of color, to take their rightful seat at the decision-making table.
Overcoming many adversaries and barriers growing up in the Bay Area, Shay engages her community with empathy and diligence. Shay brings her lived experience in creating stronger, comprehensive legislation benefiting marginalized communities that she has proudly risen from.
Just in the last few years, Shay has been instrumental in many legislative wins like extending the statue limitations on felony domestic violence charges, protecting environmental landmarks in California and the passage of Proposition 17 which restores voting rights to felons on parole.
In her spare time, Shay serves as Co-Chair for the National Black Justice Coalition “Good Trouble Network,” on the Victory Fund Campaign Board, as an Adult Advisor for California High School Democrats and a Board Member with Courage California. She is a supportive mother to five children with her wife.
Reggie Harris, Cincinnati City Council
Reggie Harris is a Cincinnati City Councilmember who chairs the Equitable Growth & Housing Committee and vice-chairs the Budget and Finance Committee. Reginald received his undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University and Master of Social Work from Boston University. Reginald is a social worker, leader within his community and former professional ballet dancer.
From issues concerning affordable housing, LGBTQ homelessness, housing case management and behavioral health therapy, Reginald knows how to advocate for important issues in his community. As a consultant, Reginald trains educators, administrators and frontline staff on trauma-informed care practices. He also works with municipal and state governments on expanding equitable opportunities for youth and children through strategic public financing.
Ian Mackey, Missouri State Representative, District 87
State Representative Ian Mackey was first elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives in 2018 to serve the 87th district in St. Louis County – including the communities of Clayton, Ladue, University City, Richmond Heights and Brentwood.
Rep. Mackey serves on the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and is Ranking Minority Member of the House Rules Committee on Administrative Oversight. A floor speech delivered by Rep. Mackey on April 13, 2022 regarding LGBTQ equality created a viral moment and has been viewed millions of times on social media.
In addition to his legislative duties, Ian is a practicing attorney and former teacher. He graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education, and taught at a Reggio Emilia early childhood center at Harvard University while earning a JD from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. He and his husband, Stephen, live in Richmond Heights with their rescue dog, Torque. Stephen and Ian are both alums of the Victory Institute national candidate training held in Minneapolis in 2010.
Sam Park, Georgia State Representative, District 101
State Representative Sam Park is the first out gay man and first Asian American Democrat elected to the Georgia State Legislature. He is the grandson of refugees from the Korean War and son of Korean immigrants.
Sam is a native Georgian, born and raised by a single mother. He became the first lawyer in his family and obtained his Masters in Law, Politics, and Legislation. Inspired by his mother’s battle against terminal cancer, which taught him that access to healthcare is a matter of life or death, Sam ran for office in 2016 to ensure every Georgian has access to healthcare.
Sam serves in leadership as a Deputy Whip in the Georgia House Democratic Caucus and as Chair of the Gwinnett State House Delegation. In his professional capacity, Sam serves as General Counsel for Positive Impact Health Centers and is working to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia.
Brianna Titone, Colorado State Representative, District 27
Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone represents House District 27 in Arvada and Jefferson County. She serves as the Chair of the House Dems LGBTQ Caucus. She is serving her second term and is 1 of only 8 openly transgender elected officials in state government nationwide. She started off as an activist fighting hard for bills like the ban on conversion therapy and for Jude’s Law which give trans people an easier path to change their identity documents. In 2020, she passed the law banning the trans and gay panic defense in Colorado, joining only 10 other states to do so.
In addition to her fierce advocacy for LGBTQ rights, she is a geochemist and software developer and brings a scientific approach to legislating. She serves as the Chair of the Joint Technology Committee, and serves on the Health & Insurance Committee and Energy & Environment Committee. Representative Titone works tirelessly to represent the people of her district and also to inspire the LGBTQ community, especially trans people, in Colorado and on a national scale.