Some of the Historic State-Level Victories from the 2020 Election

On the presidential level, the election has been tense. Sometimes it can be hard to see positives in the political system when the one designed to elect the most powerful office is so convoluted. However, there were plenty of victories worth celebrating on local and state levels.

Oregon voters passed Measure 109, making the state the first to legalize psilocybin.
This will allow therapeutic uses of the psychedelic in regulated settings with a built-in two-year period to iron out the details for qualifications. There is research to support that psilocybin is helpful for those struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, and more.

New Jersey voted in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis use.
The amendment allows New Jersey to set up a regulated market for it to be taxed, making it the 12th state to legalize it.

Nevada is the first state to protect same-sex marriage in its constitution.
The ballot question repealed a 2002 amendment that defined the only marriage recognized by the state as one between a male and a female.

Florida voters approved a $15/hour minimum wage.
The amendment raises the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $10 in September 2021 and go up by $1 every year until it reaches $15 by 2026. This makes Florida the eighth state to set the minimum wage at $15 in the upcoming future.

Missouri elected Cori Bush to Congress, the first Black woman to represent the state.
She got her start as an organizer, community leader, and activist after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Bush ran on a progressive platform in favor of the Green New Deal and Medicare-For-All.

“The Squad” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) —  was reelected to Congress.

These four progressive congresswomen made history in 2018 and will continue to energize the House of Representatives.

 

There were also a tremendous amount of victories for the LGBTQ+ community on both the state and national level.

• Florida elected Shevrin Jones, its first out LGBTQ+ state senator.

• Florida elected Michele Raynor, its first Black queer woman to the state House of Representatives.

• New York elected Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres to the 17th and 15th Congressional Districts, respectively, the first Black LGBTQ+ members of Congress.

• Delaware elected Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender state senator.

• Tennessee elected Torrey Harris to the state House of Representatives, the first out LGBTQ+ member of the state legislature.

• Kansas elected Stephanie Byers, the first transgender elected official to the state House of Representatives and first indigenous trans person elected to any state legislature.

• Vermont elected Taylor Small to the state House of Representatives, the state’s first transgender legislator.

• Oklahoma elected Mauree Turner to the House of Reprenstatives, the state’s first nonbinary and Muslim legislator.

 

The 2020 election saw so much progress in many different categories despite the presidential election taking up a lot of the spotlight. With Biden soon to be in office, one can hope to see even more change.