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Herron to become first openly LGBTQ House member in Kentucky

February 23, 2022 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Keturah Herron won a special election to fill an open Kentucky House seat, making history as she becomes the first openly LGBTQ state representative in the state.

Herron overwhelmingly defeated Republican Judy Martin Stallard on Tuesday in the Louisville district. She succeeds former longtime Democratic Rep. Reginald Meeks, who retired in December.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make history in Kentucky tonight,” Herron said.

Herron is a Black activist and a former policy strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. She advocated for the ban on no-knock search warrants in Louisville after the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed by Louisville police in 2020. Herron also successfully pushed for a state law enacted last year to limit the use of no-knock warrants.

Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman said Herron will be the state’s first openly-LGBTQ state representative.

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“Representative-Elect Herron will fill a nearly 15-year gap in LGBTQ representation in the Kentucky General Assembly, and we need her now more than ever before,” Hartman said.

In 2003, then-state Sen. Ernesto Scorsone made history as the first openly LGBTQ member of Kentucky’s legislature when he came out in a speech. He later was appointed to a judgeship.

Republicans hold a supermajority status in the House.