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22 April 2015

Rafer Johnson Hopes to Make History By Becoming First Openly Gay Man Elected to Georgia House

Fifteen years ago, this November, state Representative Karla Drenner (D - Avondale Estates) made history when she became the first openly gay member of the Georgia General Assembly.

Since then, voters have sent two other open lesbians to serve alongside Rep. Drenner in the state House -- Simone Bell and Keisha Waites.

All three women --Bell, Drenner, and Waites-- enjoy healthy support in their respective districts, either facing no opposition or earning more than 60% of the vote in primary elections. Still, for whatever reason, Georgia has never elected an openly gay male to the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Drenner says that's because the openly gay men who stood for election to the General Assembly either campaigned against unbeatable incumbents or ran terrible campaigns, not because of their sexuality [Saunders (16 September 2014). Three candidates vie to be first openly gay men elected to Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 22 April 2015.].

(Rafer Johnson, pictured left with his partner, is a candidate for state Representative from the 62nd district.)
Rafer Johnson (pictured left, with his partner), a Democrat, hopes to change that in 2016.

Johnson filed paperwork, 22 April 2015, to start raising money for state Representative from the 62nd district.

The seat is currently held by Rep. Ladawn Blackett Jones (D - Atlanta), who announced she won't be running for re-election.

Rafer Johnson is a program manager for Delta Air Lines in-flight services. He also serves on the Atlanta Beltline Tax Allocation District advisory committee. Johnson was a member of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2009.

Rafer's partner, Kelly Johnson, is a Navy veteran and a board member for Georgia Equality; the largest LGBT rights and advocacy organization in the state. Kelly is listed as Rafer's campaign treasurer, according to paperwork filed with the State Ethics Commission.