Democratic Massachusetts state senator Cheryl Jacques will be leaving her seat to lead the nation's largest lesbian and gay political organization. Jacques, who has been in the statehouse since 1992, will become president and executive director of the Human Rights Campaign after the current leader steps down at the end of the year. The organization selected Jacques after a 10-month search.
"It was a difficult decision, but we firmly believe that Cheryl has the right mix of experience and vision to write this next chapter in our civil rights history," HRC board cochairman Tim Boggs said in a statement.
A former prosecutor, Jacques, 41, has been one of the most high-profile members of the 40-member senate, filing numerous bills each year on hot-button issues. Jacques ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2001 in the race to replace the late Democratic U.S. representative Joseph Moakley. Jacques, who is the mother of twin boys with her partner, will replace current executive director Elizabeth Birch.