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Equality Texas Names Samantha Smoot as Interim Executive Director

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Equality Texas announced Samantha Smoot has taken the helm as the interim executive director, following the departure of current CEO and longtime champion Chuck Smith.

“Next year is the 30th Anniversary of Equality Texas. I have been with the organization for half that time. The Board and I have decided it’s time for a new generation of leadership to take us to the next step in our fight for equality in Texas. I am honored to pass the leadership of the organization on to Samantha Smoot, a native Texan and global leader in the fight for equality,” said Chuck Smith.

As CEO, Smith led the growth in programs to help LGBTQ Texans, oversaw the expansion of staff statewide, created a business outreach program that is a model for the country, gave transgender people a visible voice, defeated the bathroom bill twice during the 2017 legislative session and passed anti-bullying legislation in 2011.

“We are at a critical chapter in our fight for equal treatment of all Texans,” said Elizabeth Myers, President of the Equality Texas Foundation Board. “For 15 years, Chuck has served our organization, establishing Equality Texas as a credible, successful, and relentless advocate in Texas state politics. We are confident that Sam will continue that momentum and lead us to future victories for LGBTQ Texans.”

Smoot brings 20 years of experience leading citizen advocacy campaigns to the Equality Texas organization. She has served as Political Director of both the Planned Parenthood Federation for America and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as the Executive Director for Texas Freedom Network. More recently, she has fought to support citizen groups and political leaders as they build more inclusive democracies through her work in the Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, and Eurasia with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

“I am honored to serve as the interim executive director of Equality Texas during the 2019 state legislative session, and I look forward to working with the leadership team, staff, volunteers and donors to ensure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans,” said Smoot. “Through political action, education, and community organizing, we will continue to drive positive change and fight against systemic discrimination.”

The Board of Directors expresses gratitude to Smith for his dedication and vital role as a pioneer for Equality Texas and welcome Smoot’s proven leadership for the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.

Source: Press release

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september 2020

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