A Democrat in Vermont could be on her way to becoming the nation's first transgender governor

  • Christine Hallquist could be on her way to becoming the nation’s first transgender governor if she wins the Democratic primary election in Vermont on Tuesday.
  • Her left-leaning platform seeks to get voters higher-paying jobs, access to better education, state-wide broadband internet and Medicare for all.
  • Hallquist is facing three Democrats in Tuesday’s primary election: Environmental activist James Ehlers, dance festival organiser Brenda Siegel, and 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn.

A former energy executive in Vermont could become the nation’s first transgender governor if she wins the Democratic primary election on Tuesday.

Christine Hallquist is appealing to Vermont voters with her progressive platform in which she seeks to get them higher-paying jobs, access to better education, and Medicare for all.

But on a national level, the 62-year-old from Hyde Park wants to be known as America’s first trans candidate, she told the Associated Press.

If Hallquist wins Tuesday’s primary and goes on to win the November election, she will become the first openly transgender governor in the US.

“Because she is open and authentic about the fact that she is transgender, that immediately takes away all the questions, all the whispers, and instead allows people to focus on her personality and what she wants to do,” said Elliot Imse, communications director for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national political action committee that’s backing Hallquist.

Hallquist is facing three Democrats in Tuesday’s primary election: Environmental activist James Ehlers, dance festival organiser Brenda Siegel, and 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, who is eligible to run because Vermont does not require gubernatorial candidates to be of voting age.

Whoever wins on Tuesday will face either Republican incumbent Gov. Phil Scott or Springfield businessman Keith Stern in the November election.

None of the four Democratic candidates have held statewide office.

Hallquist moved to Vermont in 1976, and in 1998 started working for the Vermont Electric Co-operative, where she became CEO in 2005. In 2015, she became open about her transition from male to female.

She quit her job at the Vermont Electric Co-operative earlier this year to run for governor on a left-leaning platform.

Hallquist told The Guardian that she was inspired to run for governor by the election of President Donald Trump, saying she “realised the world changed.”

“I went to bed, and of course like any other trauma I was in political depression and I just didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I mean, many of us in this country shed a lot of tears for what happened on November 8.”

Hallquist has been a longtime advocate for environmental energy politics and wants to provide broadband internet to everyone across Vermont.

“Vermonters are going to elect me on the platform. They are not going to elect me because of the fact that I’m transgender – that’s the reality,” Hallquist said, adding, “Obviously, nationwide it’s significant, the first transgender governor. It is pioneering.”

Hallquist is among a small number of transgender people running for office in the US this year.

Kim Coco Iwamoto lost her fight to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor on Saturday.

In Massachusetts, Alexandra Chandler is running in the Democratic primary for the state’s third congressional district.

Last year, former journalist Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia state legislature.

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