A cozy crowd gathered Tuesday to mix and mingle with out lesbian Ann Johnson, the Democratic candidate for Houston’s House District 134, at Stoneleigh P restaurant in Dallas.
New Leaders Texas hosted the fundraiser for Johnson that drew about 40 people. New Leaders Executive Director Kathleen Thompson said the event raised $2,645. Johnson faces one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November. If Johnson wins, she and El Paso’s Mary Gonzalez would become the first two openly LGBT women in the Texas Legislature.
Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs introduced Johnson, noting their similarities in age, attending law school in Houston, working with their fathers, and both taking on incumbents, as Griggs did last year.
He said that Texas has Republican 2-1 majority in the state Legislature, but electing Johnson is a step toward changing that imbalance.
“In Texas, we can decide what we want to be and we can go be it,” Griggs said. “This is a moment to start to make that change, to start to make a difference.”
Johnson’s father, Jake Johnson, was a state representative in the 60s and worked on Barbara Jordan’s campaign. Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and was the first black female from the South elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson’s mother is former Civil District Judge Carolyn Marks Johnson.
“I am fortunate that both of my parents taught me the honor of public service,” Johnson told the crowd Tuesday. “Houston has this incredible history of making a difference and being diverse.”
While she did not touch on her sexuality, focusing on her two major campaign issues of education and healthcare, Johnson had her partner Sonya at her side Tuesday proudly talking about the campaign trail.
As a cancer survivor, Johnson expressed her desire to back healthcare funding for all Texans, saying affordable healthcare and education are areas where Texas can go from one of the worst states to one of the best.
Texas ranks 43rd in the U.S. for graduation rates, 45th for SAT scores, a fact that Johnson said she’s focusing on changing if elected by providing better funding to public education.
“I have vision to take us from worst to first,” she said. “If we go from worst to first, we can create a public education system that we can be proud of.”
More photos and video below.