Dr. Jess Garcia selected to sit on Minnesota LGBT advisory committee
ROCHESTER — After campaigning for the Rochester School Board as an openly queer candidate and constantly advocating for students from minority backgrounds, Jess Garcia will now be taking her voice to a statewide seat.
Garcia, who was elected to the Rochester School Board in 2020, has been selected to sit on a newly-formed advisory committee regarding LGBT issues in Minnesota.
“I’m really excited,” Garcia said. “To be part of something that’s new to Minnesota that’s so necessary is humbling.”
According to the Minnesota Secretary of State, the committee will have several roles, such as advising the governor and legislature on issues affecting the LGBT community and serving as a liaison between the state government and LGBT organizations.
A summary of the committee says it “must work for the implementation of economic, social, legal, and political equality for Minnesota's community of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive, queer, intersex, asexual, or two-spirit.”
As LGBT issues have become more divisive in recent years, Minnesota has positioned itself as a welcoming place for LGBT people. In March, Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order, "to protect the rights of Minnesota's LGBTQ community to seek and receive gender affirming health care," according to the governor's office.
"It speaks volumes as to what their priorities are for how they want Minnesota to be an inclusive community," Garcia said about the creation of the committee
Outside her work in advocacy and on the school board, Garcia is a clinical psychologist.
Garcia was voted onto the Rochester School Board in 2020 and was vocal about her support for LGBT issues. During a candidate forum with the organization Out Rochester, Garcia referred to her own history growing up without representation and that she wanted to be a voice for today's students with similar backgrounds.
“We talk a lot about the racial disparities within the district, but I also hear, specific to this forum, a lot about the heterosexism and the cisnormative discrimination that is alive and well in the district,” Garcia said at the time. “For me, it’s important to create a safer, healthier and more welcoming community throughout the district.”
She'll now be taking that advocacy beyond Rochester.