Pride Outside Cities: How LGBTQ+ Candidates Are Running and Winning Everywhere

Pride Outside Cities: How LGBTQ+ Candidates Are Running and Winning Everywhere

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Friday, Aug. 14 4:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Friday, Aug. 14 4:50 PM (Eastern)

Conventional wisdom often leads us to believe that LGBTQ+ candidates can only run successfully for seats in certain areas. However, with the recent surge of candidates of all backgrounds stepping up to run, a trend has started to emerge. A growing number of LGBTQ+ candidates are running for and winning seats in rural and traditionally purple areas. Women like Delegate Danica Roem, who flipped a seat in rural Virginia that had previously been held by a man who referred to himself as the state’s ‘chief homophobe and became the first openly transgender state legislator in the country. This panel will examine what took place in these races and position them as a roadmap for what could be done nationwide.


Lisa Turner

Lisa Turner

In 2018 Lisa Turner (she/her) became LPAC’s national political director building its current electoral profile as the premier committee supporting LGBTQ+ women candidates running for political office. She has since created LPAC’s award-winning IE operation that has helped elect US Senator’s Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema as well as Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In 2019, Turner led the creation and launch of Project LPAC, as the senior director of research, which executed groundbreaking polling data documenting LGBTQ+ women’s civic engagement and participation in elections.

She is the President of The Turner Group, Ltd-a political consulting firm where her portfolio of work as a national strategist and media advisor has provided long-term social justice change for progressive campaigns. Throughout her 30 year political career she served many roles such as the DLCC’s first political director; strategic adviser to billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker; elected Senator Adam Ebbin as the first openly gay legislator in Virginia; served as a consultant to Victory Fund, Gill Action and HRC and most recently as an Obama presidential appointee at FDA -as Associate Commissioner for External Affairs and at USDA-as Chief Communications Officer for Food & Nutrition Service (FNS).

She has continuously supported her community since earning her degree in Political Science at Old Dominion University and learning American Sign Language at Tidewater Community College. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership, a member of her civic league and served as the Vice-Chair of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee.


Danica Roem

Danica Roem

Danica Roem represents the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates including the City of Manassas Park, Town of Haymarket, and Prince William County portions of Manassas and Gainesville. Danica is a 33 year old step-mom, lifelong resident of Prince William County, and the former lead reporter of the Gainesville Times. She ran for office to bring a reporter’s eye to Richmond and to speak truth to power.

Danica’s inspiring and transformative campaign gained national and international attention. Her victory was secured by sticking to the issues that matter most to her constituents, and never shying away from standing up for justice. As the first out transgender woman elected to a state legislature, Danica is blazing a new and unique trail.

During her first legislative session this year, she was proud to champion bills important to her constituents, and to help expand Medicaid to 400,000 people across the state of Virginia. She continues to fight every day for her constituents in the 13th District.

Brianna Titone


Brianna is a Geochemist and software developer who ran for office because of her long life history of service to her community. She finished serving her first term in the 72nd Colorado General Assembly and is running for re-election in 2020. She was a volunteer firefighter in high school and college, served as her HOA board president, and as a citizen scientist helping law enforcement with Necrosearch International. She also is a board member of TYES Colorado, an organization who works with families with trans kids to help find support and resources for them to thrive.

She is a strong advocate for marginalized people and for thinking about planning for the future. Brianna values the views and opinions of her constituents and works hard to be sure their voices are heard. She has advocated for LGBTQ equality, affordable housing, reproductive rights, and expanding mental health initiatives.

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Senator Claire Wilson


Claire Wilson’s legislative work has been built on her 25 years an administrator in early care and education and K12 education.
Elected in 2018, she currently sits as vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee using her extensive experience in education and her work with families to inform a wide range of legislation. She also serves on the Senate Transportation Committee, and the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee.
As the first lesbian in the WA State Senate she is also the Senate appointee to the WA State LGBTQ Commission, and the Washington State Leadership Board.