Vermont could be about to elect the first transgender governor in the nation’s history.
Christine Hallquist, who is running to be the Democratic nominee for November, has already broken new ground by becoming the US’s first ever openly transgender gubernatorial candidate.
Her history-making exploits come after LGBT+ politicians smashed barriers in November, including Danica Roem, who became the first ever openly transgender state official by beating anti-trans incumbent Bob Marshall.
Like Roem, Hallquist is running on her policies, not her identity – as acknowledged by the Virginia delegate, who tweeted last month that the Vermont candidate was “a well-qualified policy wonk extraordinaire.”
The 62-year-old, who has been CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative for more than a decade, made this clear in an interview with NBC5, saying: “I consider myself a very strong leader with a good history who happens to be transgender.
“I mean, I’d ask the voters who may be struggling with the fact I am transgender to try to look beyond that. Try to look at what I’ve done.”
Not just in Virginia but all over the country. We have some really brilliant trans people on the ballot this fall. I genuinely believe Christine Hallquist can win her primary and flip the Vermont governorship #RedToBlue. She’s a well-qualified policy wonk extraordinaire.
— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) July 23, 2018
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When it comes to the issues, she supports fibre optic broadband for every home and business, as well as popular progressive policies like a $15 minimum wage and laying the groundwork for a universal healthcare system.
But she is aware of the context in which she’s running – in fact, the current political climate is why she chose to become a candidate.
Hallquist, who has raised more than double the funding of her nearest challenger ahead of the August 14 primary, told Politico that the election of President Donald Trump had encouraged her to seek elected office for the first time.
“Thousands of people have fought for freedom before me and died for freedom,” she said.
“The least I could do is give up my retirement.”
She also told NBC5: “I can’t be a Republican today. It’s like kissing the ring of your oppressor.
“The GOP platform is anti-LGBT, and anti-other minorities.”
If Hallquist wins next Tuesday, she will face incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott in November.
And a year after a US city elected an entirely LGBT council and a record-breaking eight trans people won public office on the same day, it would be a brave person who would bet against her.