headshot_kGreat news tonight from Georgia.  Voters there have elected the first openly lesbian African-American state legislator in the United States, and Atlanta voters elected the first gay man and first Asian-American to the city council.

Simone Bell, a Victory Fund-endorsed candidate, won a runoff election to represent Georgia State House District 58.  She becomes the second openly LGBT member of the Georgia State House, joining Rep. Karla Drenner.  Both are from the Atlanta area.

“This is a tremendous victory for LGBT Georgians.  Simone is a longtime leader in her community, and she will be a huge asset in the Georgia State House,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

For more than 20 years, Simone has worked as an activist and advocate in Atlanta and across the south. She’s tackled a broad range of issues including workplace equality, access to affordable health care, fighting HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, safe schools for all children, youth empowerment and women’s issues.

Meanwhile Atlanta voters elected the city’s first gay man, and first Asian-American, to the city council.  Alex Wan, a Victory Fund-endorsed candidate, will represent District 6 after winning his runoff election tonight.  He currently works as the development director of Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent, supportive housing for homeless or low-income individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.

“Alex Wan’s victory will continue an important legacy of LGBT leadership on the Atlanta City Council.  He’ll be a strong voice for District 6 and for the LGBT citizens of Atlanta,” Wolfe said.