Laquitta “Sarah” DeMerchant is a native Texan and native Houstonian. Her parents, Dorothy and Robert Williams of Sugar Land, moved here from Louisiana in search of good jobs and strong public education.
Sarah is a product of the Fort Bend Independent School District, and graduated from Willowridge High School. Sarah finished her undergraduate studies, BBA in Computer Information Systems, at University of Houston-Downtown, and followed that up with an MBA from University of Houston-Victoria where she also served on the student-body government as the Graduate Senator of Business.
After finishing her MBA, Sarah became the youngest Consulting Manager at the world’s third-largest software-development company at the time. She followed that with a CTO position, and then served as Business Development Manager, Service Account Manager, and Security Officer for the last 10 years.
Sarah understands turning success in Houston’s public-education system into success in the professional community, along with the challenges women face in that community. Early in her career, a concerned Vice President of her company exposed the wage gap between her and her male counterparts. That seminal moment inspired Sarah to become an advocate for equal pay for equal work, partnering with The Shriver Report and the Obama Administration, and speaking out in interviews with USA Today, Essence Magazine, and VICE News. Sarah continues to speak at colleges and conferences about overcoming the wage gap, and about how minorities can fast-track their careers.
Sarah also developed her own app, Aequitas, as an entry in the U.S. Department of Labor Equal Pay app competition. The app is designed to help end the wage gap. Sarah took the Grand Prize and Women Innovation Mobile awards in that competition against competing teams from MIT and Carnegie Mellon. Aequitas was featured on the White House website for two years during the Obama administration.
Sarah is a member of the Fort Bend County Branch of The American Association of University Women, and is the chapter lead for Organizing for Action-Fort Bend. Volunteer efforts include Women in Public Policy, First Colony Little League, Lexington Creek Elementary School, Junior Achievement, and the Wendy Davis and Barack Obama campaigns. Sarah also worked with the Filipino American Caucus for Empowerment to lobby for the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2016.
Sarah lives in New Territory with her husband, Fort Bend Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ken DeMerchant (graduate of Texas A&M and a software engineer), and their children Mike and Kacy, who both attend school in the Fort Bend Independent School District. They are members of Lakewood Church. Sarah loves basketball, afternoon tea, and watching Black-ish, Modern Family, and Game of Thrones.
About Texas House District 76
District 76 is home to approximately 198,548 Anglo, Asian, Latino, and Black Texans. 50,000 residents are enrolled in school, from Pre-K to graduate and professional schools. 63,000 already have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Residents are employed in industries ranging from agriculture, construction and manufacturing to education, health care, arts, and public administration.
75% of the population is over 18 and eligible to vote in the 2020 election.