Equality Florida announced on Wednesday that former Florida State Representative Joe Saunders will become their Senior Political Director, according to a press release on their website. He will be in charge of a wide variety of political initiatives to help LGBTQ+ Americans.

Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer stated, “We stand at the edge of incredible opportunity for progress even as we see new and emboldened attacks coming from Washington and some leaders in our state Capitol. Under Joe’s leadership, Equality Florida stands ready to hold elected leaders accountable at the ballot and to lift up those who stand on the right side of history.”

Saunders, who was elected to an Orlando seat in the state legislature in 2012, was one of the first two openly gay individuals to be elected to that body. Before running for office, he served as Equality Florida’s Field Director for almost a decade.

After leaving the legislature, Saunders took a job with the Human Rights Campaign and assisted pro-LGBTQ+ campaigns across the nation. Perhaps most notably, he helped defeat North Carolina’s incumbent governor Pat McCrory, an avid defender of his state’s transphobic HB 2 “bathroom bill.”

Saunders said, “As the largest swing state in the country, Florida will hold a defining role in the national response to the politics of Washington, and we have hugely important races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Congress and a chance to reshape our state legislature.” He added that he was “excited to be back” with Equality Florida.

Read the article on Equality Florida’s website here.