A former Dallas County Sheriff made history on Tuesday night after becoming the first openly queer and first Latina gubernatorial nominee ever in the state of Texas.
Lupe Valdez found herself the winner against Andrew White, the son of a previous Texas governor, in a race that continues to gain national attention. She will now face off against the popular Republican Gov. Greg Abbott later this year in a November election.
If elected, her history-making run would extend beyond her LGBTQ identity. Valdez would become the first Democratic governor in the Lone Star state in almost 30 years.
Thank you, Texas! Tonight is for you! pic.twitter.com/onGtnEU53s
— Lupe Valdez (@LupeValdez) May 23, 2018
While Valdez’s road to a potential win will not be easy against a governor who continues to have high approval ratings, if successful she’s bring much needed hope to a state that has seen on-going legislative attacks against their community.
Just in the past year, Gov. Abbott has endorsed a number of bills attacking the LGBTQ community.
He called a special session on July 18 to force through a bill which would force transgender people to use the restroom corresponding with the gender listed on their birth certificate. That legislation stalled numerous times during general session and again failed to become law following further debate by lawmakers.
However, Abbott did sign into law last January new legislation that will allow adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples if doing so would conflict with their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Last year Valdez gained national attention when she was invited to speak at the 2016 National Democratic Convention before announcing her bid for Governor. In her address, she attached the increasing political division under President Donald Trump.
“Violence is not the answer,” Valdez told the audience in an acclaimed speech. “Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not going to do it. Talking within your own group in your language only your group understands leads nowhere.”
“We have to start listening to each other,” she continued.
As her supporters in Texas and across the US celebrate her win alongside many others today (including that 11 LGBTQ politicians who won their primaries today just in Ohio), many are viewing today as one of many examples of a Democratic party gaining more traction under a Republican controlled US government.