Election night 2012 was a happy occasion for the bisexual community in the United States as all five openly bisexual candidates on the national and state ballots swept to victory.
Leading the charge was Arizona Congresswoman-elect Kyrsten Sinema representing a new Phoenix-area Congressional District. When she takes her seat in January 2013 she will become just the second out woman and the first openly bisexual member of the US Congress. Sinema released the following statement following the AP’s calling of the AZ09 race in her favor:
“I am grateful for the honor and the opportunity to serve the people of Arizona again. My job is to represent all of the people in CD9 whether they voted for me or not. The voters have given us a clear ‘to do’ list – work to fix our economy, reduce our ballooning debt and better protect the middle class. I am eager to get to work and I intend to team up with anyone of any party who is willing to help change Congress and move our country forward.”
Sinema’s victory was achieved by buliding a diverse coalition of supporters including the Victory Fund who backed Sinema’s campaign. Said Chuck Wolfe, president, “We’re thrilled for Kyrsten. She’s a dynamic leader and she’ll be a strong voice for her community and for all LGBT Americans.”
The 113th Congress Sinema will be joining will have the largest class of openly LGBT lawmakers to-date on Capitol Hill including Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin the first openly lesbian US Senator; incumbent Congressmen David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jared Polis (D-CO.); as well as fellow freshmen Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Mark Takano (D-CA), who will also be the first openly-gay person of color in the US Congress.
Also re-elected were all four out Bisexual elected state officials including:
- State Senator Angie Buhl (D-SD) First elected in 2011, Buhl is not only bisexual, but she’s also the youngest woman to ever serve in the South Dakota Senate. Her efforts can be seen in a variety of arenas, including working as a small business consultant, advocating for women’s rights, protecting employment for seniors and veterans, and serving on Judiciary, Commerce and Energy, Retirement Laws, and Interim Rules Review Committees.
- Secretary of State Kate Brown (D-OR) After Sinema, Brown is the highest ranking out bisexual official in the U.S. (since Oregon has no lieutenant governor, Brown is second only to the governor). Brown has served Oregonians for more than 20 years, working in family and juvenile law, teaching at Oregon State University, and working with the Juvenile Rights Project. Her legislative achievements since 2009 include leading efforts to reduce health care costs, ensuring education dollars reach classrooms, and pushing to get legislative meetings held in communities to ensure political transparency.
- State Representative Micah Kellner (D-NY) First elected in 2007 Kellner, the winner of PFLAG Queens 2009 Brenda Howard Award, has pursued environmental and socially-conscious legislation, including affordable housing, mass transit, animal rights, marriage equality, and increased funding for New York City’s public schools. Kellner, who was born with cerebral palsy, is also a strong advocate for rights of persons with disabilities.
- State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-WI) First elected in 2010 as a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, from Milwaukee’s District 8, she made history by becoming the first Latina to be elected
to the Wisconsin Legislature. After being retuned to the legislature in 2012, her collegues signalled there respect for her work by electing her Vice Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus for the coming session. Before taking office, Zamarripa worked as a nonprofit professional as educator and community outreach coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
“It is important that there are so many openly bisexual persons in positions of leadership on this level,” said American Institute of Bisexuality‘s Denise Penn. “By being open, these elected officials provide positive role models for our youth and help educate the general public.”