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Vermont’s transgender candidate Christine Hallquist makes history

Christine Hallquist made history Tuesday night as the first transgender person in the United States to win the gubernatorial nomination for a major political party, according to unofficial results from the Vermont Secretary of State’s office.

Hallquist, a former energy company executive, won the Democratic primary in Vermont and will face Republican Gov. Phil Scott in November.

In a field of four candidates, Hallquist won more than 40 percent of the vote, more than twice the votes of the second place finisher, according to unofficial results.

TRANSGENDER CANDIDATE

Before entering public service, Hallquist had established herself as a trailblazer. She transitioned publicly in 2015 during her time as leader of one of the state’s largest utilities, becoming the first CEO to do so while in the job, according to the Victory Fund, a political action committee backing Hallquist and “dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people.”

“My path to being my authentic self was certainly not easy,” Hallquist said in a YouTube video announcing her entry into the race earlier this year. “However, it’s always been important to me to live openly and honestly. I chose to transition in a very public way because I felt I owed it to those at Vermont Electric Cooperative who put their trust in me.”

Christine Hallquist Transgender Vermont

Christine Hallquist made history Tuesday night as the first transgender person in the United States to in the gubernatorial nomination for a major political party. Photo: Christine for Vermont campaign.

Hallquist campaigned on a promise to build up renewable energy and boost the state’s rural economy by expanding broadband access. Backed by the Justice Democrats, the same group that helped launch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign in New York, along with the Working Families Party and Trans United Fund, Hallquist supports “Medicare for all,” raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and has pledged to address racial disparities in the state’s criminal justice system.

HISTORIC WIN

“With tonight’s primary win, Christine is a huge step closer to becoming the first openly trans governor in U.S. history.” Daye Pope, organizing director with Trans United Fund said in a statement. “Tonight shows that Vermont — and the country — is ready to vote for trans and nonbinary candidates who care about the people and can get things done. In our mission of building trans and nonbinary political power across the country, Christine is a champion we’re proud to support.”

Hallquist is one of more than 400 LGBTQ candidates in the nation who are running in this election cycle, a record according to the Victory Institute.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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