Lorie Burch: Fighting for LGBT rights in North Texas
Lorie Burch is currently in a run-off for the Democratic nomination to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Texas. She prides herself on her worldwide experiences, living everywhere from California to Jakarta, Indonesia. Now that Burch calls Plano, Texas home, she has stepped up to the call for new political candidates, running for office for the first time. Not only does Burch rely on her experiences as a worldwide traveler, but also on her time served as the President of the American Business Women’s Association. As an elected official, Burch hopes to transform the status quo for accepted political identities, serving as a role model for the LGBT community.
Burch relocated homes often during her childhood due to her step-father’s career as a geologist commissioned by Mobile Oil. Burch was born in the Mojave Desert of California but shortly after moved to Jakarta, Indonesia where she spent much of her early childhood. Her father was eventually transferred back to the Dallas, Texas area, and they settled down in the city of Plano due to the city’s commendable school district. Burch distinctly remembers the culture shock her family incurred moving from Indonesia to Texas, noting the superior celebration of diversity abroad. After graduating from high school, Burch attended Trinity University in San Antonio and George Washington University School of Law School in Washington D.C.
Her parents were always civically engaged and vested in the interests of those around them. Burch’s parents were so dedicated to politics that, when living in the Mojave Desert, their living room served as a polling location during local elections. Burch said her parents always pushed the concept that politics is about the people. Further, Burch’s first role model was her mother, who, according to Burch, consistently treated everyone with the utmost dignity and respect, and Burch’s mother remains a role model for her as a mother, as a business owner, and as a leader.
Burch realized she wanted to run for office when she finished her term as the National President of the American Business Women’s Association. Even though Burch feels this is one of her greatest accomplishments thus far, she knew she wanted to serve her community in an even greater capacity. After she recognized that there was not only a gap in women’s representation but also LGBT representation in government, she hit the ground running – literally. When she began her campaign, she reached out to her friends and family for support, including her wife Kimberly, whom Burch describes as her biggest supporter. Outside of this immediate support, Burch also began asking for advice from friends and mentors who had worked or run campaigns before. Finally, Burch also received formal campaign training from the Victory Institute, an organization that works to increase the number of LGBTQ people in public office. She had worked on Capitol Hill during her time in law school but didn’t know the workings of a campaign prior to running.
Burch is currently a candidate in the primary run-off for the Democratic nomination of the 3rdCongressional District of Texas, which encompasses Collin County, located in North Texas. Burch described the district as a mixed area of urban cityscapes and rural or suburban regions. Collin County is also home to a lot of large corporations and budding businesses alike, showcasing a boom of labor demand and, consequentially, population. Burch believes that transportation initiatives must be tackled accordingly to account for the population growth in the district. Additionally, Burch recognized North Texas as one of the fastest growing areas in the nation for LGBT families and hopes to represent the interests of the LGBT community by transforming the token rhetoric sprinkled throughout Collin County.
When asked about systemic barriers facing female candidates, Burch full-heartedly believes they exist because women are not adequately represented in office at this time. “While it is great to have allies”, Burch said, “it makes a greater difference when you see someone who looks like you.” This makes Burch’s advice for women interested in running for office one day all the more important: women should be each other’s number one supporters instead of picking each other apart. She hopes this will change over time once women see themselves in more leadership positions.
Lorie Burch is currently running in a primary run-off for the Democratic nomination to serve in the 3rd Congressional District of Texas. Primary run-off election day is May 22nd.