November 6, 2018, will be a night that I will never forget. Not only was it Election Day here in Indiana, but it was also my 36th birthday. There were moments when I forgot it was my birthday because of the emotional roller coaster ride that was transpiring when I won my State Senate seat that evening. Four years ago on Election Day, I was much less excited as I ended up losing my first State Senate bid. I vowed from that day on that I would set my heart and mind to winning this seat, and that is exactly what we did only three weeks ago.

I have always enjoyed learning about Harvey Milk’s life and personal story, and I drew some parallels to my own campaign. Milk was persistent in everything he did and relied heavily on deep, community-based organizing in his neighborhood. Even though he lost his first elections by slim margins, Harvey Milk didn’t give up. I knew that after my loss in 2014, I couldn’t give up either. Milk taught us that losing is not easy, but we must be graceful and not give up hope. Many people can relate to that story as we all must face adversity in our lives.

The accomplishment of being Indiana’s first out-serving member of the Indiana General Assembly is not lost on me. However, this path was already forged by people like Harvey Milk, and I realize that I am standing on his and their shoulders. I am humbled to be in a position where I can inspire many LGBTQ+ folks here in Indiana who look to me to be their voice on state matters. I am truly honored to be able to do this work.


J.D. Ford