The LGBTQ Victory Institute Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award is given annually to an up-and-coming state or local LGBTQ elected official whose promising political career will move equality forward.
Voting closes Tuesday, November 24th at 11:59pm ET. Make sure you vote before Tuesday night!
This year’s nominees were selected by Victory Institute supporters from all over the world. Learn more about each nominee below then GO VOTE!
1. Arizona state Representative César Chávez
Born in Moroleon, Guanajuato, César and his family moved from Mexico to the United States when he was just three. As a young man, he experienced the lack of resources found in many immigrant communities, and has fought to level the playfield his entire career. Under the mentorship of former Arizona state Representative Ben Miranda, César helped organized some of the nation’s largest protests against racist immigration policies, including Arizona’s notorious SB-1070, the broadest and strictest anti–illegal immigration measure passed in that time. Since his election in 2016, he has fought for immigration reform, education funding and much more.
2. Colorado state Representative Leslie Herod
As the first openly LGBTQ African American to be elected to Colorado’s state legislature, Leslie focused her legislative efforts on access to reproductive health care, criminal justice reform, homeless youth and immigration rights. Leslie is the co-founder of New Era Colorado, the state’s leading organization focused on the engagement of young people in the community and also served as President of Colorado Black Women for Political Action. Since her historic election in 2016, Leslie has passed pro-equality legislation, legally prohibited housing discrimination and fought for police reform.
3. Pennsylvania state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta
First elected in 2018, Malcolm was the first openly LGBTQ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Since starting his political career at age 11, he has held numerous positions in LGBTQ and allied organizations. In the legislature, he champions proposals to address generational poverty, raise the minimum wage and protect workers’ rights, increase access to mental health care and enact common sense measures to address gun violence.
4. Mexican Congresswoman Ana Lucía Riojas Martínez
Ana currently serves as Federal Deputy of the Congress of the Union in the Chamber of Deputies in the 64th Legislature of the Mexican Congress. A longtime LGBTQ activist, Ana participated in the Yo Soy 132 student movement, which protested police brutality, governmental overreach, and supported better working conditions and the freedom to protest. The movement, which has been dubbed Mexico’s Spring and Mexico’s Occupy Movement, inspired partner protests in over 50 countries. Though Ana and her partner have been targeted for her work, she still encourages the LGBTQ community to “go out into the streets, proud of who you are.”
5. Delaware state Senator-elect Sarah McBride
One of America’s leading LGBTQ advocates, McBride has been active in local politics and issue campaigns from a young age. She also co-founded a statewide high school young Democrats organization and worked for the campaigns of former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the late Attorney General Beau Biden. Sarah has achieved numerous historic firsts, including becoming the first openly transgender woman to work in the White House in any capacity, the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention in 2016 and was just elected as the first openly trans state senator in American history this year.
6. Oklahoma state Representative-elect Mauree Turner
A longtime community activist, Mauree just made history as the first nonbinary state legislator and first Muslim person elected in Oklahoma. They are currently the Regional Field Director for the Campaign for Smart Justice, an ACLU campaign focusing on criminal justice reform, and spent much of their youth attending HIV/AIDS Awareness or LGBTQ advocacy conferences with their mother. Their campaign highlighted meaningful justice reform, LGBTQ and immigrant equality, improved access to public education, expanding healthcare access, increasing the living wage and much more. Mauree won their race with over 70% of the vote.