If anyone is up to filling the big shoes of former District 90 state Reps. Stacey Abrams and Bee Nguyen, it just might be Bentley Hudgins. The LGBTQ rights organizer and openly nonbinary Georgia native declared their candidacy for the office on Wednesday.
“Your vote matters. I’m running to make sure that it counts,” Hudgins said in a prepared statement for the campaign launch.
Voting rights, labor and working families, as well as social justice are among top priorities. The newly redistricted District 90 map includes Druid Hills, Lake Claire, Gresham Park and Cedar Grove among its constituencies.
Grassroots efforts are the cornerstone of Hudgins’s experience. They worked with progressive organizations including New Georgia Project Action Fund, spearheaded get-out-the-vote measures, and spoke passionately at rallies for LGBTQ visibility and against discrimination based on identity and race.
Hudgins also served on the election campaigns of state Reps. Nguyen and Sam Park.
Doing the work, Living the life
On Hudgins campaign site, Hudgins outlines their personal background in more detail, including some traumas that formed their political stances and determination.
As a queer Asian-American growing up deaf during the economic turmoil of the Great Recession, I have seen the impact and violence of poor leadership.
My own doctor’s neglect was the cause of my deafness. From this, I learned from an early age that the quality of health care is just as important as its access in regards to health outcomes.
Despite these setbacks, I worked hard for a bright future and enrolled in classes at Mercer University. I thought I had done everything right and was expecting to do the same during my time in college. I wasn’t ready.
While serving in Student Government and multiple student organizations to address housing justice and food insecurity, I juggled three jobs at times to pay the bills, tuition and books (but still needed to take out student loans.)
Just when I thought I had things under control, I became a survivor of violent sexual assaults and threats of being outed against my will and lost my job – all because of who I am.
In their entertainer persona Shi, Hudgins also runs the all-AAPI cast PersuASIANS and raises funds for various progressive causes. They also served as a contributing writer for Project Q Atlanta and its sister print publications Q Magazine and Q ATLus.
Read Hudgins’ full platform on Bentley4Georgia.com.