Connecticut’s next state treasurer makes history for LGBTQ community
As Erick Russell becomes Connecticut’s next state treasurer, he’ll make history.
Russell will be the first Black out LGBTQ person elected to statewide office in U.S. history, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Russell is an attorney who specializes in municipal finances.
Russell on Wednesday alluded to that milestone in a news conference.
“I understand that me standing here as the treasurer-elect, in many ways, is an unlikely story,” Russell said. “That’s not lost on me, and I plan to bring that perspective every day to this job. So I’m excited to get to work ... to continue to move our state forward as we invest in our future."
Russell’s opponent was GOP candidate Harry Arora, a state representative and ranking member of the Labor and Public Employees Committee.
The Associated Press called the race for Russell Wednesday afternoon. He won with 52% of the vote.
Advocacy groups celebrated.
“For far too long, people of color and the LGBTQ community have lacked equitable representation in government. Erick shattered this lavender ceiling and made history because voters trust him to usher in a new chapter for Connecticut and our nation, one founded in inclusion and compassion,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Not only is his win a sharp rebuke of the current wave of homophobia and racism plaguing our country, it’s a moment of inspiration for our community that our political future is brighter than ever.”
Tuesday’s midterm elections saw a record number of LGBTQ candidates running for office. In Massachusetts, Democrat Maura Healey won a historic and decisive victory, becoming the state's first elected female and first openly gay governor as well as the nation's first openly lesbian governor, according to WBUR.
In Vermont, Democrat Becca Balint will be the first woman to represent the state in Congress in the state’s 231-year history, according to VPR. She’s also Vermont’s first openly gay person to serve in Congress.
Yet these potential milestones coincide with aggressive efforts by some Republican politicians to target LGBTQ people and especially transgender Americans with a wave of hostile rhetoric and legislation.
This story contains information from the Associated Press. Connecticut Public's Eric Aasen contributed to this report.