Kim Jackson takes office as Georgia’s first LGBTQ state senator

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Rev. Kim Jackson made it official on Monday as she was sworn into office and became the first LGBTQ state senator in Georgia history.

Jackson took office as the Georgia Legislature opened its 2021 session. With Jackson joining the state Senate and Rep. Marvin Lim’s arrival in the state House, the number of LGBTQ lawmakers in the state grew to seven – also a historic first.

Jackson was sworn in as Rep. Karla Drenner celebrated her 20th anniversary of becoming the first LGBTQ lawmaker in Georgia. Drenner took office on Jan. 8, 2001.

“I am honored to be afforded the opportunity to represent the people of Senate District 41 in the state Capitol and I am humbled by the trust displayed in me,” Jackson said in a prepared statement. 

“As the hardworking legislatures before me have demonstrated, we must always continue to promote legislation that supports the needs and concerns of every Georgian. I am eager to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both Chambers, to ensure all voices are heard and represented,” she added.

Jackson took the oath of office with a Bible that belonged to her maternal grandparents. She wore a stole passed down from Rev. Pauli Murray, the first Black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. Jackson is the Vicar at the Episcopal Church of the Common Ground.

Jackson was among 10 new senators – and 56 overall – who were administered the oath of office by Georgia Supreme Court Justice Charlie Bethel. Jackson was assigned to four Senate committees – Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Government Oversight, Natural Resources & the Environment and Public Safety.

Jackson, a Democrat, easily dispatched Republican opponent William Park Freeman to win the District 41 race in November. Her district includes portions of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

In recent Q Conversations, Jackson discussed her path to the state Senate and working in a legislative chamber that’s often at the center of anti-LGBTQ legislation. In August, she talked about why she launched her first run for public office and how honored she and her wife were to be named grand marshals of the Atlanta Pride parade.

Jackson joins a growing LGBTQ Caucus at the Gold Dome. Lim took office on Monday after winning the Democratic primary for the House District 99 seat in Norcross in June. He didn’t face a Republican opponent in November. 

Jackson and Lim join returning LGBTQ lawmakers Drenner and Reps. Park Cannon, Sam Park, Renitta Shannon and Matthew Wilson.

Cannon, Park and Wilson discussed the new legislative session during a Q Conversations on Friday. They said lawmakers face several LGBTQ priorities for the session, including comprehensive civil rights legislation, HIV decriminalization and banning conversion therapy.

This story is made possible by a grant from the Election SOS Rapid Response Fund.

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