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It’s Official: Fran Watson Files to Run for Texas Senate

Former Caucus president would be first openly LGBTQ member of state’s upper legislative chamber. 

From staff reports

Fran Watson, former president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, filed paperwork on Tuesday to run as a Democrat in Texas Senate District 17 next year.

The district, which covers parts of Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria counties, is currently represented by anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbent Joan Huffman. If Watson wins the seat, she would become the first openly LGBTQ member of the Texas Senate—and just the third black woman elected to the body. (Texas first black female state senator was the late Barbara Jordan, who was also LGBTQ but was not publicly out during her tenure).

Watson traveled to Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin on Tuesday to file her application for the primary ballot, which was accepted by party officials, according to a news release.

“The Fran Watson for Texas campaign is officially underway,” Watson said. “I would like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me following my announcement to run for State Senate. The excitement and momentum are there, and we are ready to work on building a state government that puts the ‘people first.’”

An attorney and community activist and advocate, Watson said putting “people first” means that everyone, regardless of appearance or circumstance, deserves equal access to the opportunity to succeed.  She said the philosophy has always been the driving force behind her public service, including her Senate campaign.

“The people of District 17 deserve a senator who will work to break down barriers instead of creating them,” Watson said. “I am ready to work on people-centered solutions that elevate the quality of life for all Texans.”

The primary is March 6, 2018, and the General Election is Nov. 6.

For more on Watson’s campaign, visit

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