Satya Rhodes-Conway, who is queer, won the Madison, Wisconsin, mayoral race in a landslide victory April 2, capturing some 62 percent of the vote against incumbent opponent Mayor Paul Soglin, who won 38 percent.
In her acceptance speech that night, Rhodes-Conway said that she felt "hope for young people everywhere, but especially here in Madison who have felt left out, or talked down to or bullied because of who they are," according to Wisconsin State Journal.
Rhodes-Conway's victory is significant not just because she is Madison's first mayor who is an open member of the LGBTQ communityshe also unseated Soglin, who'd been dubbed by many Madisonians to be "mayor for life." He'd been active in city politics since the late '60s, and became, at age 27, the city's youngest mayor when he was first elected in 1973. He served several of his terms non-consecutively, but has been in his present stint in office since 2011.
Shortly before the election, Rhodes-Conway, who has served on the Madison City Council and heads up the progressive Mayors Innovation Project, told Windy City Times that she respected Soglin and was running because she differed with him in terms of leadership style, particularly in how the city engages with county government. She also said that her being a lesbian was a non-issue with most voters.
"It's not that we've gotten any negative comments, but some ask, 'Why are you putting this in my face?' She said. "But for the most part, it's been a very positive reaction. Certainly, the queer community is very excited. … Wisconsin has a long and proud history of openly LGBT officials."
Wisconsin State Journal's article is at bit.ly/2FR6hsT .