One of the people that I got to meet in 2017 was the mayor of New Hope, TX in Jess Herbst.
The first meeting for us happened during one of my trips to Austin to help kill SB 6, and at a barbecue hosted by our mutual friend Danielle Skidmore, we spent nearly two hours chatting with each other about a wide range of subjects, including politics.
We bumped into each other again during the House hearing for another anti-trans bill, and connected once again while I was in Dallas for the Black Trans Advocacy Conference.
Even though Jess had an increasing state, national and international profile in our TBLGQ community. her first loyalty was to the people she served back in New Hope.
As their mayor, it was on her and the elected leadership to tackle the issues of a Collin County town experiencing the residual effects of being near the fast growing larger communities in the county of Plano, McKinney and Allen and handling the issues that spring from that like increased traffic.
Now she’s not only running for reelection as New Hope’s mayor, she’s running for office in the town for the first time as the amazing woman she is.
Her opponent is Angel Hamm, the widow of former mayor Johnny Hamm. He had served for 22 years before suffering a fatal heart attack on the filing deadline but still beat his opponent by 30 votes in May 2016. . As an elected New Hope alderman serving as the mayor pro tem she succeeded Hamm to become the first out transgender mayor in Texas.
With the election set for May 5, she has a few busy but interesting months of campaigning ahead of her. It will ultimately be up to those New Hope voters to decide whether to make Texas election history by keeping Herbst as their mayor or going in a new direction and electing a new one..
I’m hoping they keep her.