WASHINGTON — As Republicans continue to attack our fundamental freedom to vote, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is highlighting the incredible work of leading Black Democratic state legislators as they fight to defend our democracy and build a brighter future for all Americans. These leaders are at the forefront of every issue that affects our everyday lives, from voting rights to Medicaid expansion to passing common sense gun laws. Black women, in particular, have exemplified outstanding leadership in fighting for reproductive justice, childcare affordability, and economic mobility for women.
“Progress is being made in this country because of the tireless work of Black state legislators who are fighting every day for a brighter future,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “While Republicans want to legislate us back into the Jim Crow era, Black Democrats at the state level are fighting for our freedom to vote, access to affordable health care, and expanding economic opportunity for the communities they serve. History has shown that our government works best when it reflects the community it represents. That is why the DLCC is proud to support our Black state legislators who are not only working for progress today but are building power for generations to come.”
State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy. While state legislatures have a long way to go before they reach parity, across the country Black lawmakers are leading their states towards better policies and equity for all. Below is a roundup of several compelling Black legislators in leadership.
- Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (SD-24): Leader Singleton has been a fearless advocate for the needs of working families in Alabama and has led Alabama Democrats in the fight against extreme abortion bills proposed by the GOP.
- Alabama House Democratic Leader Anthony Daniels (HD-53): As the youngest and first Black minority leader, Leader Daniels led prison reform efforts in Alabama. He has championed long-term solutions that reduce recidivism and keep communities safe.
- Arizona House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding (HD-27): Leader Bolding has been a fierce advocate for the freedom to vote in Arizona as his GOP counterparts double down on their anti-voter extremism. Bolding is using his position to fight for justice this legislative session, especially when it comes to the right of marginalized groups to participate in free and fair elections.
- Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (SD-4): Leader Lightford has fought for equity in higher education, creating a commission that evaluates whether public institutions of education receive fair funding to serve underrepresented students.
- Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones (HD-10): Speaker Jones became the first Black person and first woman to serve as Maryland’s speaker of the house. Last year, she successfully led the passage of a landmark police accountability law in the state, repealing the law enforcement bill of rights and giving civilians more oversight into police accountability.
- Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (AD-8): Last year Leader Frierson sponsored and successfully passed a bill that permanently established mail-in voting in Nevada. All active registered voters can now receive a mail-in ballot thanks to this historic expansion of voting rights.
- New York Speaker Carl Heastie (AD-83): Throughout his time in New York, Speaker Heastie has adamantly supported workers’ rights, leading efforts to raise the minimum wage and secure paid family leave. He is the first Black person to lead the chamber.
- New York Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (SD-35): As the first woman to lead the New York State Senate, Leader Stewart-Cousins has overseen history-making progress in New York. She has advocated for contraceptive and abortion access, pay equity, and the improvement of New York’s sexual harassment laws. She serves a vital role in defending Democratic majorities across the country as Chair of the DLCC.
- North Carolina Democratic Leader Dan Blue (SD-14): Leader Blue has been a fierce advocate for expanding Medicaid in North Carolina and finally delivering affordable care to more than half a million North Carolinians
- Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (HD-191): Leader McClinton became the first woman elected House democratic leader in 2020 and is using her position to fight for Pennsylvanians’ freedom to vote in the face of Republican attempts to create deliberate barriers to voting.
- South Carolina House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford (HD-74): Leader Rutherford advocated for the removal of the statehouse’s confederate flag in 2007, eight years before the racist symbol was finally removed.
- Tennessee House Democratic Leader Karen Camper (HD-87): Leader Camper is dedicated to highlighting the contributions of Black women. She proudly collaborated with other women legislators of color to officially recognize Rosa Parks Day in Tennessee.
- Virginia President pro tempore Louise Lucas (SD-18): Senator Lucas’ latest step in her trailblazing career was becoming the first woman and first Black president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate. Sen. Lucas is currently working as a staunch defender of democracy as she beats back Republican voter suppression laws in Old Dominion.