State Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver and state Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, both Democrats, started a three-week executive leadership program for LGBTQ officials on Monday at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The David Bohnett Leaders Fellowship, sponsored by the foundation of the same name and the Victory Institute, is awarded annually to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected and appointed officials “well-positioned to secure even more influential positions in government,” the foundation said. Herod and Moreno are among 10 fellows attending the program this year.
“The Fellowship program empowers LGBTQ leaders who are making a difference in the world to further their impact through leadership education and development,” said David Bohnett, a philanthropist, tech entrepreneur and chair of his titular foundation.
“It is now more important than ever that our leaders are equipped with the best practices and resources available to tailor effective legislation that improves the lives of Coloradans,” Herod said in a statement. “A few years ago my friend and colleague Mark Ferrandino went through this program. He became speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, where he made the economy, education and LGBTQ issues priorities for Colorado. I look forward to bringing back what I learn and putting it to use in Colorado.”
Herod was elected to her first term in the House last year. Moreno was first elected to the Commerce City Council when he was 24 and won election twice to the House before winning a Senate seat last year. He’s one of three Democrats running for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Ed Perlmutter.
Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, president and CEO of the Victory Institute, which bills itself as the only national organization dedicated to boosting openly LGBTQ leaders, said in a statement that the institute was thrilled with its class of fellows.
“The leadership skills gained at the Harvard Kennedy School have helped our Bohnett Fellows advance to elected positions in city government, state legislatures and the U.S. Congress,” she said, adding that the fellows were chosen because of their public service work and “passion for pushing forward policies that improve people’s lives.”
Since its launch in 2002, the Victory Institute and David Bonnet Foundation have sent 118 officials to the Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. In addition to Ferrandino, other Colorado alums include state Sens. Pat Steadman, D-Thornton, and Jessie Ulibarri, D-Thornton; state Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins; Arapahoe County Treasurer Doug Milliken; and Broomfield City Councilman Robert Gaiser.