Erick Russell, a Black gay man, has been elected Connecticut treasurer, making him the first Black member of the LGBTQ+ community to win a statewide office anywhere in the U.S.
Russell, a Democrat, bested Republican Harry Arora as Dems swept Connecticut's statewide offices. The current treasurer, Shawn Wooden, also a Democrat, did not seek reelection.
Russell is a partner in the law firm of Pullman & Comley, working in the practice that deals with public and private finance. He is the past vice-chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee. He also cochairs Connecticut Cares, a fundraiser for Lambda Legal. He is the past chair of the LGBTQ Section of the Connecticut Bar Association and a former director of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association. His priorities for serving as treasurer include improving the state's debt management and strengthening public pension funds.
Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, issued the following statement: "For far too long, people of color and the LGBTQ community have lacked equitable representation in government. Erick shattered this lavender ceiling and made history ... because voters trust him to usher in a new chapter for Connecticut and our nation, one founded in inclusion and compassion. His deep policy experience and grassroots support will make him an exceptional state executive. Not only is his win a sharp rebuke of the current wave of homophobia and racism plaguing our country, it's a moment of inspiration for our community that our political future is brighter than ever."
There are currently just 115 Black out LGBTQ+ elected officials serving in the U.S., none of whom serve in statewide positions, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute, a sibling organization of Victory Fund.