America: Transgender Woman, Wins Vermont Governor’s Primary
Burlington Vt, August 15, 2018 (AltAfrica)- Christine Hallquist, a former utility executive from Vermont, a Democrat, made history by becoming the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party, beating three other candidates in Vermont’s Democratic primary, according to The Associated Press.
Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Time
It is a remarkable milestone, even for an election year already dominated by an influx of women and a record number of candidates who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender or queer.
“Christine’s victory is a defining moment in the movement for trans equality and is especially remarkable given how few out trans elected officials there are at any level of government,” said Annise Parker, the chief executive of the L.G.B.T.Q. Victory Fund, which trains and supports gay and transgender candidates, in a statement on Tuesday evening. “Yet Vermont voters chose Christine not because of her gender identity, but because she is an open and authentic candidate with a long history of service to the state, and who speaks to the issues most important to voters.”
The Democratic primary in Vermont was a fairly sleepy affair, with no big-name contenders to block a first-time candidate like Ms. Hallquist. But from here, her path to the governor’s office could be a narrow one, even though she is a Democrat running in a deeply progressive state.
She faces a Republican incumbent, Phil Scott, who is running for his second term with history on his side — Vermonters have not thrown out an incumbent governor since 1962. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the seat as “safe Republican.”
That may change now that Ms. Hallquist is the nominee, and she is likely to draw national attention — and fund-raising dollars — because of the historic potential of her candidacy. “She’ll raise more money and her message will get out there more,” said Eric Davis, an emeritus professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College. “Even if she doesn’t get elected governor, the greatest contribution of her campaign could be to raise awareness about the issues transgender people face.”
Before she ran for governor, Ms. Hallquist spent 12 years as the chief executive of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, an in-state power utility that she helped to bring back from near ruin. Her transition from male to female took place in 2015, while she was at the helm of the company, and was the subject of a documentary film made by her son.
As a candidate, she made it part of her stump speech, drawing knowing laughs from her female supporters at a fund-raiser this summer as she talked about what it was like to experience life as a woman for the first time.
New York Times