Following the abrupt resignation of ailing California assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, transgender journalist and civil rights activist Ashlee Marie Preston announced she's running for his District 54 seat.
Should she win in the spring special election, Preston — the former editor-in-chief of Wear Your Voice magazine and an activist who gained nationwide notoriety when she confronted Republican celebrity Caitlyn Jenner at an August fundraiser — would represent Los Angeles neighborhoods like Crenshaw and Baldwin Hills. The diverse area voted heavily for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election; Preston, a Democrat, also supported Clinton.
Preston hopes to address issues of police brutality, rape culture, trans discrimination, and immigration issues as a member of California's legislature.
"As someone directly impacted by the issues that often diminish the quality of life, I have an acute understanding of which policies must be put into play in order to move progress forward for the constituents of the 54th district and beyond. I believe in prioritizing people over politics," Preston says in a press release. "We are more than poll percentage points; we are real people with real stories. I fully intend to continue honoring those experiences, and advocating for those who don’t have a seat at the table."
Preston has served on the boards of the Stonewall Democratic Club, Transgender Service Provider Network, Los Angeles Pride, Human Rights Campaign, Trans Can Work, Mirror Memoirs, and Gender Odyssey Los Angeles. Preston was named one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African-Americans of 2017.