Davante Lewis, a Black gay man, has become the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to a state governmental body in Louisiana and the first Black LGBTQ+ person elected to any public office there.Lewis, an advocate for renewable energy, won a runoff election Saturday to become a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the state’s utilities, pipelines, telecommunications, and more, while also helping to determine the state’s energy policies.
It has the power to approve or deny rate increases by utility companies and influence whether utilities are powered by gas or renewables such as solar and wind.The races for the commission are usually low-profile, and runoffs are rare, but the election drew substantial attention this year due to the effect of natural disasters and scrutiny on utilities’ role in climate change.Lewis ran on a platform of “holding monopoly utility companies accountable, reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and a Ratepayers’ Bill of Rights,” says a press release from his campaign.Lewis beat a three-term incumbent, Lambert Boissiere III, to represent District 3 on the commission, reports NOLA.com, a website for several Louisiana newspapers.
Both are Democrats. They advanced to the runoff after being the top two finishers among five candidates in November. Two of the three candidates who were eliminated endorsed Lewis.