Simone Bell was first elected to the house in 2009 in a special election following the resignation of Robbin Shipp. She outlasted her opponents in a five way primary and won the runoff handily. She became the first African-American lesbian to serve in a state legislature – not just Georgia, the entire United States. As part of redistricting, she was drawn in with a fellow Democrat Ralph Long and defeated him in 2012.
She had a leadership role in the Democratic House Caucus and was highly respected by her peers.
From the AJC:
State Rep. Simone Bell, D-Atlanta, is headed to Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office as a Southern regional director. Bell had previously worked as a community educator for the gay rights group.
Said Bell in a statement:
“I am so proud of what Lambda Legal has accomplished, but my experience in the General Assembly tells me the work cannot stop. This is a particularly exciting time to be a part of Lambda Legal’s work in the South, challenging laws and public policies that discriminate across lines of sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, income and race and to achieve full equality for all.”