Run with PRIDE! Meet our 2022 LGBTQIA+ candidates
Happy Pride! Since getting started in 2017, Run for Something has been committed to endorsing young, diverse prgressive candidates from every community. We’re proud that over 21% of all of our endorsed candidates are LGBTQIA+. Learn about some of our all-stars running in 2022 below.
Alex Lee: California State Assembly, District 25
Alex Lee was born with public service on his heart. From serving as student body president at UC Davis to serving as a legislative policy advisor, Alex has dedicated his life to serving the people of California. When elected in 2020, Alex made history as the youngest Asian American and first openly bisexual legislator ever elected in California history.
In his first year in office, he was named “Legislator of the Year’’ by the Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL) as well as the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), and named ACLU California Action’s Civil Liberties Champion, Courage California All-Star, and NARAL Reproductive Freedom Champion. Alex is running for re-election in 2022 to put an end to the structural inequity that has led to California’s most pressing challenges and has stalled solutions. By putting people and policy first California can be a place that is equitable and prosperous for all.
Eunic Ortiz: Florida State Senate, District 24
For the last fifteen years, Eunic Ortiz has dedicated her career to fighting for a better Florida. Working in government, as an adjunct professor, and a union organizer, Eunic knows what it means to bring people of different backgrounds, party lines, and differences together to find common understanding and a shared path forward to make our communities a better place.
Eunic has led and won campaigns across Florida that center the critical needs of all Floridians. During the 2020 elections, Eunic led a team to help pass Amendment 2 — the ballot initiative in Florida that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As an openly gay woman, Eunic has spent much of her career fighting for LGBTQ+ rights; she founded the Gay Straight Alliance as a student at Tarpon Springs High School and established a scholarship program that helped low-income LGBTQ+ youth better afford the cost of a college education.
Eunic is running for State Senate to represent that community she grew up in, knows, and loves. As state senator, Eunic will bring home solutions for all of us, not special interests. She is committed to using her voice to advocate for affordable health care, housing, LGBTQ+ equality, funding public education fully, environmental protections, criminal justice reform, and protecting every Floridians’ right to vote. When elected, she will be the second Hispanic elected official in Pinellas County and the first openly lesbian state senator in Florida’s history.
Janelle Perez: Florida State Senate, District 38
Born and raised in Miami, Janelle knows what the South Florida community needs. She has seen the growth of our community over the years. From spending hours in traffic, to navigating neighborhoods that consistently flood, and watching our beautiful beaches erode due to rising sea levels, Janelle has lived it.
At the age of 28, Janelle was diagnosed with Stage IV Follicular Lymphoma, an aggressive, incurable cancer. After her diagnosis, Janelle moved to Miami in order to prioritize her health and start a family with her wife, Monica. Today, she is one of the owners of a Hispanic-owned and family-owned Medicare company in Miami-Dade County. It is one of Florida’s fastest growing Medicare companies, providing affordable, high-quality medical services to Medicare beneficiaries in the county.
As a mother, first-generation American, and businesswoman, Janelle is running for State Senate to fight for opportunities for every child and family. Her personal experience battling illness and professional experience as an advocate and business owner has deepened her commitment to ensuring every Floridian has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. In Florida’s State Senate, she will be a champion for improving access to healthcare, protecting our environment, and supporting our small businesses.
Adrian Tam: Hawaii House of Representatives, District 20
Adrian was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a proud graduate of Kalani High School and received his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. After graduating, he returned to Hawaii and became a licensed real estate agent. In 2016, he worked as a temporary hire at the Hawaii State House of Representatives before moving to the Hawaii State Senate to work for Senator Stanley Chang from 2017- 2020. In 2020, he was elected to serve as Representative for District 22, Ala Moana — Waikiki. He is currently the only gay, Asian- American member of the Hawaii House.
Adrian serves as Vice-Chair for the Committee on Health, Human Services, and Homelessness and of the House Committee on Culture and the Arts and a member on the House Committee on Finance.
Precious Brady Davis: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commission, IL
Precious is an award-winning social justice advocate, communications professional, and public speaker. She is currently the Associate Regional Communications Director at Sierra Club.
Brought up in both the foster care system Precious is a passionate advocate for marginalized LGBTQ youth. For three years she served as the Youth Outreach Coordinator at the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ community resource center, the Center on Halsted, where she coordinated youth programming surrounding HIV prevention, transgender advocacy, and LGBT leadership development. Under Precious’s tenure she launched a $1.6 million CDC grant which provided outreach, education, and testing services to over 3,000 young African American and Latino gay, bi, and trans youth across Chicagoland between the ages of 13 and 29.
A Nebraska native of multiracial background, Precious graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Liberal Arts and now resides in Chicago, IL, with her husband Myles.
Zooey Zephyr: Montana House of Representatives, District 100
Zooey is a progressive, bisexual trans woman who has spent her personal and professional life advocating for queer rights. Zooey was born in Billings, Montana, where she spent the first decade of her life. After graduating from the University of Washington, she returned to Montana to attend graduate school at the University of Montana. Over the last seven years, she has also worked as full-time staff at UM, first in the Biology department, and more recently in the Office of the Provost.
In her work with the university, Zooey has helped programs on campus integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion practices into their faculty requirements. As an activist, Zooey has helped people who have faced discrimination navigate the bureaucratic processes required to access justice, and she has also worked with the city of Missoula, Montana to draft human rights legislation tailored towards making justice more accessible to people who have been discriminated against.
Zooey is running for office because she has seen firsthand the way the rights of marginalized communities are under attack in Montana, and she understands that if you want the legislature to create equitable laws for our communities, you need to have diverse voices in the room where the laws are being written.
Kaegan Mays-Williams: New York Senate, District 21, NY
Kaegan, is the daughter of Grace Williams, who immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and raised Kaegan on her own. She babysat, worked in fast food restaurants and did whatever necessary to put Kaegan through school and put food on the table. And it was too hard. 40 years later it is still too hard for many of the people in Kaegan’s District to provide for their families, particularly those who were born in another country.
Kaegan is running for New York State Senate because our community deserves more. More resources for small businesses, more protections for tenants and home owners, and better health care for those who actually survived this pandemic. Kaegan has been fighting for people her entire professional career and has no intentions of stopping now. If elected, Kaegan will be the first black LGBTQ+ woman to represent New York in the State Senate.
Mauree Turner: Oklahoma House, District 88, OK
Mauree (They / Them/ Theirs / Representative) is a State Representative for Oklahoma’s 88th House District thanks to the people. They are the first non-bianary Muslim elected to office in the country.
They was formerly the Regional Field Director for the Campaign for Smart Justice, an ACLU campaign focusing on criminal justice reform, and its many intersections. Their life’s works are geared towards fighting for and maintaining the civil rights and liberties of all who enter America.
They have also worked with the NAACP of Oklahoma, Freedom Oklahoma, CAIR OK, and a number of community-based and student lead groups working in and researching the intersections of racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, religious freedom, reproductive rights — just to name a few. Working with these organizations, they have researched the history of the criminal justice system and what it does to communities of color, and Black Women especially, and they are just getting started.
Izzy Smith-Wade-El: Pennsylvania House, District 50, PA
Izzy is the President of the council of the City of Lancaster, having just won reelection to his second term. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Izzy returned to his hometown of Lancaster and began working in Lancaster’s nonprofit sector to deliver relief to vulnerable people. Today, he serves as a program specialist at LanCoMyHome, where he coordinates services and support for Lancaster county’s housing insecure community. Most recently, Izzy launched “Refresh Lancaster,” a mobile hygiene unit which delivers showers, social services, and medical attention to homeless Lancastrians.
During his four years on Council, Izzy has helped secure the largest investments in affordable housing and lead removal that the City of Lancaster has ever seen. He championed the decriminalization of cannabis, a completely revamped use-of-force policy for police officers, and unprecedented police accountability in response to community requests. As the vice chair of the Lancaster County Democratic Party and an organizer at heart, Izzy has knocked doors with candidates up and down the ballot every year, from school board to Congress. He’s stood on picket lines with striking Kelloggs workers and stood with PA’s educators to demand fair funding for public schools. He’s raised his voice to protect abortion access, defend Black Lives, welcome immigrants and refugees, and denounce antisemitism.
If elected Izzy would become the first out non-binary member of the Pennsylvania state legislature.
Tiara Mack: Rhode Island Senate, District 6
Tiara is a formerly low-income Black, queer, educator and activist. She is running to bring stories and experiences like hers to the state house. As an activist she will continue to fight and connect her policies to the real issues that create and maintain injustice. As a former math and sex educator, quality and inclusive education are at the core of her campaign and is the source of her passion for self-advocacy and activism.
She understands that we need bold, visionary leaders that will think beyond what has been done and look to do and create innovative change in how society works for all, but in particular, the most oppressed currently through policy.
Venton Jones: Texas House of Representatives, District 100
Venton is a native of House District 100 representing a new generation of leaders committed to advancing equity and justice through two decades of experience leading organizations, impacting public policy, and organizing diverse communities. Since the beginning of his career, Venton has been a tireless advocate working to improve healthcare access, fighting for marginalized communities and middle-class families, and protecting voting rights.
Josh Tutt: Texas Senate, District 18
Josh is an openly gay, progressive activist fighting for change in Texas. He currently serves as Vice President of Pride Community Center and as Secretary for the Texas Young Democrats Rural Caucus. He is running for Texas State Senate in District 18 to deliver increased access to healthcare, public education, and robust rural infrastructure.
Josh is a seventh-generation Texan living with his husband, Rick and their dog, Trinity, in rural Burleson County where they tend to a vineyard together. He was moved to run for office when he saw his neighbors being harmed by the devastating onslaught of toxic, partisan policy that was being pushed through the Texas Legislature. When he woke up in a cold, dark house during the Texas Blackout in February 2021, he said to himself, “Somebody needs to fix this.” And he realized, “I am somebody.”
Emily Randall: Washington Senate, District 26
Emily is a third generation Washingtonian and the daughter and granddaughter of union workers and veterans who taught her the importance of service. The older sibling of a sister born with complex disabilities, a queer Chicana, and a first generation college graduate, Emily understands the barriers so many families face. For over a decade she worked as a fundraiser and advocate for healthcare and education nonprofits — building community support and life-changing solutions for women, children and LGBTQ folks across the country. In 2018, with a democratic majority at stake, Emily stepped up to flip a red seat blue. She won by 104 votes. Now it’s time to defend this hard-won seat.
In her first term as State Senator, Emily helped pass some of the most transformative financial aid policy in the country, invested in FAFSA completion programs, and worked with faculty and administrators to require anti-racism and equity training on our public college campuses. She has worked tirelessly to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months, establish the Universal Health Care Commission — the strongest universal healthcare policy any state has passed in the last decade, and require equity curriculum in med schools and continuing medical education. Emily was a key vote in passing a capital gains tax, the Working Families Tax Credit, and the landmark Climate Commitment Act. As Majority Whip, Emily is well-positioned to continue putting the needs of everyday people before corporations and special interests, but only if she’s re-elected.
Dr. Sydnee Smirl McElroy: West Virginia House, District 26
As a family physician and a lifelong West Virginian, Sydnee is running for the House of Delegates 26th district to serve her neighbors in the state she loves. After completing her undergraduate and medical training as a daughter of Marshall, she made the decision alongside her husband to stay and raise their children in their hometown.
Sydnee is proud to have a job that allows her to care for the people of her district and also provide volunteer medical services through the Cabell Huntington Coalition for the Homeless. As a West Virginia delegate, she will work hard to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens, improve healthcare access and affordability, invest in public education and teachers and support working families. Named a 2021 PRIDE Champion because of her renowned podcast, Sydnee hopes to ensure that her two children and all West Virginia children have the same amazing opportunities she had growing up in the Mountain State.
To directly support all of Run for Something’s 2022 LGBTQIA+ candidates, check out our PRIDE 2022 fundraiser.