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Randall's trailblazing bid for congress: Aims to become first LGBTQ+ Latina congresswoman

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Emily Randall — Courtesy photo
Emily Randall — Courtesy photo

When Emily Randall first ran for the state Senate in 2018, she flipped the 26th Legislative District from red to blue. If elected in this year's race for the 6th Congressional District against three Republicans, Sen. Randall would become the first LGBTQ+ Latina woman in Congress.

"I think people are seeing these attacks on the LGBTQ community and are excited when they hear that Washington state has the opportunity to elect our first LGBTQ member of Congress," Randall told the SGN. "It's an exciting opportunity to make history, and it's not just in Washington — it's nationwide. I would be the first-ever LGBTQ Latina congresswoman from anywhere in the country."

When speaking with other Queer leaders across the nation, Randall noticed how they generally have a track record of being bridge builders, particularly for those who were raised in more rural areas.

"We're being attacked in every red state legislature around the country, and even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced anti-LGBTQ [bills], but we also are living in this world right next door to neighbors of all gender identities and sexualities, and we need to be able to afford to live," Randall said.

Courtesy photo  

When speaking with members of the Queer community, Randall has come to find that housing affordability, childcare, and climate protections are top-of-mind concerns.

"Over and over I hear from neighbors about the need to protect abortion rights and reproductive healthcare. I think the Queer community knows particularly well what it means to be marginalized in our reproductive healthcare spaces," Randall said. "It's not just women who need abortion care services or uterine cancer treatment."

Randall was encouraged to run for the state Senate, in part due to Trump's election and seeing a need to make her community safer and healthier. With Trump and Biden back on the presidential ballot this year, Randall knew she could not sit back. She acknowledged that Washington is progressive but that it needs strong leaders at the federal level.

What motivates Randall is the ability to build on her experiences fighting for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ healthcare and winning tough races, as well as her 25-year-old ties to the community. She's been a leader in expanding access to healthcare career pathways through affordable college, residency program support, and passing a bill that ensures that the healthcare education system — like medical schools and continuing medical education requirements — are antiracist and LGBTQ+ affirming.

Randall said she hopes to continue to work hard to ensure that all voices are reflected in legislative agencies and policies. She noted how Queer leaders in Olympia have worked to invite more LGBTQ+ community members into policy making conversations, so a broader set of experiences helps to pass strong legislation.

"That's the kind of work I'd be so honored and excited to be doing in DC — to make sure Washingtonians from across the 6th District and across the state know they have an advocate and an ally and an accomplice in the work to ensure our policies reflect their lived experiences, too." Randall said.

If elected, Randall said she would focus on passing the Equality Act, which includes crucial protections for the LGBTQ+ community, and getting it signed into law. The Equality Act was introduced in the Senate last June and would prohibit discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation in businesses, places of employment, housing, and federally funded programs, among others.

"We have a lot of work to do to make sure that it's not just states like Washington, but that our neighbors are protected in states like Florida and Idaho and Missouri," Randall said.