Nelson ran on a three-pronged platform that included economic development, better funding for education, and affordable healthcare, according to his official website. Mississippi currently ranks 49th among the 50 states in both health care and education, according to U.S. News and World Report. Earlier this year, it became one of 10 states, all led by Republicans, to reject federal dollars to help make sure that people experiencing poverty have access to health insurance.
“Voters in Mississippi should be proud of the history they’ve made but also proud to know they’ll be well-represented by Fabian,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing him take his seat in the legislature and champion a better Mississippi for all.”
As the year began, Mississippi legislators introduced 31 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, with the governor signing and enacting a ban on gender-affirming care in February. At the time, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said that giving trans youth access to gender-affirming care “threatens our children’s innocence, and it threatens their health,” according to NBC.
Advocates for Nelson see his election during this anti-LGBTQ+ political climate as a powerful symbol. “It sends a real message in a time when we are seeing attacks legislatively and through violence against the LGBTQ+ community that the majority of people reject that kind of animus,” Rob Hill, state director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Mississippi chapter, told the AP. “I think a lot of youth around the state who have felt like their leaders are rejecting them or targeting them won’t feel as lonely today.”
Emphasizing his community ties, Nelson himself said that he understands the issues people like him face and that he wants to be a voice for marginalized Mississippians. “At the end of the day, I put my suit on the same way every other person who walks in that statehouse does,” Nelson told the AP. “I’m going to walk in there, and I’m going to be a sound voice as to why things like this can’t continue to go on in the state of Mississippi.”
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