Molly Cook, the Senate's newest trailblazer

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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Molly Cook, The Senate's Newest Trailblazer
She is Texas' first out LGBTQ+ state senator and also the first woman to represent Senate District 15. In a one-on-one interview, Molly Cook discusses the historic win and her top priorities with ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Molly Cook is Texas' newest history-making politician.

When she won a special election in May, she became the first woman to represent Senate District 15, the seat Houston Mayor John Whitmire held for 40 years. She also became the first out member of the LGBTQ community to serve in the Texas Senate. But Cook does not necessarily see herself as a trailblazer.

"If I am, then I'm also following trails that others have blazed before me," Cook told ABC13, "so I don't think that there's any accomplishment as a woman, as a LGBTQ+ member of the community that I can attribute just to myself. I'm definitely grateful to the folks who have gone before me and made all of this possible."

She IS the first out member of the LGBTQ community in the Texas Senate and the first woman to represent Senate District 15.

"I have a very strong sense of responsibility for the health and safety of the world around me anyway," Cook said. "And so it's just a real honor to be able to symbolize the kind of progress that we're really making here in Houston, Harris County."

After winning the special election, which earned her the seat for Whitmire's unfinished term, Cook then narrowly defeated State Representative Jarvis Johnson for the Democratic nomination. Though she faces Republican Joseph Trahan in November, Senate District 15 is drawn with a Democratic majority.

Among her top priorities, expanding Medicare.

"I want to knock on every single door in this state and let people know how much money is on the table," Cook said. "Let them know their hospitals could reopen, they could be attracting fantastic specialists to their communities."

Cook is an emergency room nurse. She has a Master's Degree in public health from Johns Hopkins and is the only Democrat medical professional in the Senate.

She says she plans to be a voice for those who have not had representation before, but she also knows in a legislature in which Republicans hold power, it's not an easy task.

"I think that'll be a delicate balance," Cook said. "And the most important thing is to just be really transparent with the district."

Then again, it's never easy for a trailblazer.