Post submitted by Ashley Jackson, HRC Alabama organizer
HRC-endorsed lesbian state legislator, Patricia Todd beat Democratic challengers in her Birmingham district on Tuesday in the state’s Democratic Primary. If elected, Todd, Alabama’s first and only out LGBT state legislator, would serve a third term.
I have had the pleasure of working on Representative Patricia Todd’s re-election campaign as an HRC staffer. Her reputation as the “Fearless Progressive” is true in so many ways. From the very beginning, Patricia welcomed me into her campaign with open arms to a team that consists of family, friends, neighbors and community members.
Last week, as we sat on her patio sipping water, she told me about her journey to the state legislature and hilarious stories of her pushing the envelope on the State House floor. Patricia is fair, honest, and someone everyone should know.
The journey to and through the State House has not been easy for Rep. Todd. She has put everything on the line to support her community and the voters. Through it all, she’s held her head high and with a smile on her face said, “I’m not quitting and I won’t let anyone intimidate me.”
While Rep. Todd is the only openly LGBT elected official in Alabama, the more people get to know her, the less they focus on who she loves. She knows how to tap into people’s hearts and minds so that they see the real beauty of her soul. They realize she has a deep love for Alabama like so many others. Her colleagues in the House respect her because she cares about all Alabamans and not just a select few. And most importantly for our LGBT community, since Patricia has been in office, there hasn’t been any anti-gay legislation even introduced in the House because her friends, and even political opponents, in Montgomery have gotten to know her as a human being.
During a volunteer meeting recently, she addressed the crowd by saying in her southern drawl, “You may hear some negative things about me from my opponents but I want you to let me handle that. I want you to know that we run a clean and positive campaign! We don’t speak badly about our opponents. We smile and move on. Thank you for your time and commitment to the campaign and your support will help us win this.” I’ve heard her say many times that is not about her, it’s about the voters.
On Tuesday, after a full day of checking in with all of the volunteers, making sure they were fed and hydrated, and when the polls closed, we went to the campaign party. Through the evening, many friends, volunteers and community members stopped by to hug Patricia and congratulate and wish her well. As we waited for result updates, Patricia worked the room and you could hear her booming laugh throughout the restaurant. As I watched her greeting everyone, I felt a wave of appreciation for her. She reminded me that our elected officials are regular people looking for the opportunity to serve their constituents and help make their lives better.
At 9:30pm, the election was called and Rep. Todd won her race with more than 60% of the vote. She beamed at the crowd as she delivered her victory speech. While thanking many people involved in the campaign, she said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m still the same person I was when I got elected 8 years ago. 8 years ago, people told me we couldn’t win and we showed them.” As she pointed out and thanked familiar faces in the audience, she looked over at me and said “We’ve got Action Jackson over there (I’ve always wanted a nickname and Patricia has finally given me one) that’s going to help Alabama move forward.” I was humbled and felt even more energized to get to work. The time is now to continue the work that so many before us started.
So, when Rep. Todd asked everyone at the campaign party to write their answer to one question, “What does fearless look like?” I had no problem answering. When I received the spiral bound notebook with tea stained pages, I wrote four words: “My friend Patricia Todd.”
|Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign PAC|