Atlanta area voters elect lesbian to Georgia House of Representatives
Atlanta area voters have elected the country's first openly lesbian state legislator of color.
The Associated Press reported Simone Bell received 53 percent of the vote in a runoff election against lawyer Asha Jackson to represent the 58th House District, which includes East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Woodland Hills and other areas of the city and adjacent DeKalb County.
"As a longtime activist and advocate for social justice, fairness and equality, I am looking forward to listening to the voters and providing a voice for the people of the 58th District in the Georgia General Assembly," Bell said in a statement posted to her Web site earlier today.
Born in Detroit, Bell has been an activist and community organizer in Atlanta for more than 20 years. She has worked on a broad range of issues that includes reducing HIV/AIDS stigma, LGBT and women's rights.
Chuck Wolfe, president and chief executive officer of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, applauded Bell's election.
"This is a tremendous victory for LGBT Georgians," he said. "Simone is a longtime leader in her community, and she will be a huge asset in the Georgia State House."
Bell is the second LGBT person elected to the House. State Rep. Karla Drenner [D-Avondale Estates] has represented the 86th House District since voters first elected her in 2000.