Keisha Waites capped an 11-year pursuit of elected office on Monday by taking the oath of office and becoming Georgia’s fourth openly gay state representative.
Waites received the oath from Fulton Superior Court Judge Doris Downs, who delivered it in the House chamber where Waites will now represent District 60, an area that includes portions of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.
Surrounded by family – her mother, Christine Harden, and nephew Elias Muhammad held the Bible for Waites during the oath – friends and several elected officials, Waites (photo) delivered an emotional speech (video) thanking supporters who have backed her eight previous runs for officer that started with a 2001 campaign for the Atlanta City Council.
“Many people believed that this was a 30-day election cycle, but for all of you who are here today you know that wasn’t true. And so I share this victory with all of you. This has been a long journey,” Waites said.
Waites now joins three other openly gay state lawmakers: Reps. Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Rashad Taylor. All but Taylor came out before they were elected. She also becomes one of just four African-American lesbians holding office in Georgia, joining Bell, Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner and Decatur City Commissioner Keisha Cunningham.