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In Minnesota, Susan Allen becomes first American Indian lesbian elected to a state legislature

Minnesota Democrat Susan Allen made history Jan. 10 as the first Native American lesbian to be elected to a U.S. State legislature. During a special general election to the Minnesota State House, Allen defeated her opponent Nathan Blumenshine with 56% of the vote to fill the vacated seat of now Senator Jeff Hayden.

The morning after the election, Allen said she wanted to dive into legislative work and her early priorities were to bring jobs and job training to her district and work on a fair tax system for Minnesota. As an openly gay legislator, Allen also said she would begin her fight against the discriminatory constitutional marriage amendment.

On her website, Allen states, “I am a passionate supporter of marriage equality. As a lesbian, I feel this inequality every day. I will use my position as State Rep to speak loudly against the marriage amendment and in favor of equality for all Minnesota families. I will also use my 2012 reelection campaign as a vehicle to turn out voters against writing discrimination into our state constitution.”

When speaking to Indian Country Today Media Network, Allen said, “This is a big win as an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) candidate, for communities of color and especially for the American Indian community. I felt that this is important to be running as an out, lesbian, Native American. It is interesting that some publications for Native Americans they are reluctant to print that. I think that this is something that we’re struggling with in minority communities. I think it is really important to start talking about that and to have some sort of healing process.”

“This is also a big win for an American Indian candidate. It can be done,” she said. “It was a longshot and I think a lot of people are surprised that I won.

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