Zach Wahls, who became famous after defending same-sex marriage on behalf of his two moms in front of the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011, won the race for the Iowa Senate in the midterm elections that took place on Tuesday, reports the Hill.
Wahls took home 78 percent of the vote against libertarian candidate Carl Krambeck, winning State Senate District 37. He will succeed Democrat state Senator Bob Dvorsky, who served in both the House and Senate for Iowa during the past 30 years and is now retiring.
The 26-year-old expressed his pride and gratitude for winning the election in a speech after his win.
“I hope tonight marks a fresh start for Iowa. We must all come together to bring real reform to our health care system, restore a tradition of excellence to our public education system, and raise incomes for Iowa’s working families. It’s time to start thinking about the future of our state again.”
Wahls’ campaign promises include affordable health care and education, improved workers’ rights, renewable energy, and gun control. In the years since his moving speech in front of the Iowa House of Representatives, he has also co-founded an advocacy group to end discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America called Scouts for Equality.
We won. Thank you, Iowa.— Zach Wahls (@ZachWahls) November 7, 2018
Last year, when Wahls announced that he would be running for office in the 2018 midterm elections, he stated that the viral speech he gave on behalf of his lesbian mothers played a huge role in his decision to follow a career path in public service.
He gave the viral speech at 19-years-old while studying engineering at the University of Iowa in response to legislative efforts to end civil unions in the state. Wahls spoke with HuffPost seven years after delivering his speech.
“I hope [the video] can continue to do two things. One: to help kids of queer parents know that they are OK, their families are OK, and that things may be hard right now, but they will get better. And two: I hope LGBTQ people who want to be parents someday will watch that video and know they are not going to mess up their kids just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
He added that he sees his viral video as a way to pay forward his mother’s realization about the value of queer parenthood that led to his conception.
“Without a moment like that my mother had [in the ’80s], I literally would not exist. So to be able to pay that forward ― whether here in the United States or internationally, whether it’s today or tomorrow or 10 years or 50 years from now, whatever the case may be ― that is its own reward.”
The video earned over 19 million views and became one of the most-watched political videos on YouTube in 2011.