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Rep-Elect on historic victory: 'We should be at the table'

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Feb 23, 2022

(LEX 18) — Speaking to LEX 18 a day after winning a special election for House District 42, Keturah Herron said she was eager to get started in Frankfort.

"I was just filled with so much emotion," Herron said of the victory. "Very humbled and honored."

Running on the Democratic ticket, Herron beat her Republican opponent in a landslide victory, replacing former longtime Democratic Rep. Reginald Meeks, who retired in December.

Herron will become the first openly LGBTQ state representative in the state.

"We have a voice," Herron said of the historic nature of her election. "We can make an impact and we should be at the table."

LGBTQ advocates hope Herron's victory will open the door for other people in marginalized communities.

Chris Hartman, the executive director of the Fairness Campaign, said Herron will "fight fiercely for transgender kids and all LGBTQ Kentuckians in this critical time," citing two state bills that would ban transgender girls from participating in girls' sports.

"If they would just wait to hear from her and hear from others about the impact that this is going to have on real peoples' lives," he said. "I think it would give a number of members of the House some pause."

Herron, who is an activist and former ACLU policy strategist, said she wants to pursue an expansive bill that would restore voting rights to people with past felony convictions. She also wants to start a larger conversation about gun violence prevention and intervention.

"It's going to take community to organize," she said. "We have to build coalitions and we have to get out of our comfort zone and start talking to people who we normally do not talk to."

Herron is the first openly LGBTQ state lawmaker to serve in the Kentucky General Assembly since former state senator Ernesto Scorsone, who came out as gay in 2003.

"Last night was fantastic with Keturah getting elected," Scorsone said. "And we'll see more of it."