‘A reaction’

Christine Hallquist is the 1st transgender gubernatorial candidate for a major party in U.S. history

Vermont Democratic Party gubernatorial primary candidate Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, attends her election night party in Burlington, Vermont, U.S. August 14, 2018. (REUTERS/Caleb Kenna)

Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party after winning a landslide victory in the Democratic primary in Vermont on Tuesday. Record numbers of women and LGBT candidates have been running for office in wake of Donald Trump’s election — a reality she acknowledged in a speech to supporters following her electoral win.

“This is a reaction to 2016,” said Hallquist. “Tonight we made history. I am so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.”

Hallquist, a first-time candidate, has said that she was mentored in part by Danica Roem, the transgender woman who became the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia after her shocking defeat of longtime incumbent Robert G. Marshall, who infamously authored a controversial “bathroom bill” targeting transgender individuals. Prior to her run for governor, Hallquist served as chief executive of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, where she won widespread praise for saving the utility from near bankruptcy. Hallquist will face another uphill battle when she runs against incumbent Phil Scott, a Republican, in the general election. But speaking to The Associated Press, Hallquist said that she hoped her experience as an executive, as well as her pledge to work with and represent groups that have historically been ignored by politicians, would help her pull off another upset win.

“I can handle all the bigotry and all the grief in the world to know I’m supporting people in a marginalized community,” she said. “It’s not just about the transgender community, it’s not just about the LGBT community, it’s about all marginalized communities.”

Watch Hallquist’s interview with The Associated Press below.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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