Christine Hallquist has announced her candidacy for the Vermont governor’s office, making her the first transgender American to run for governor in any state. Hallquist, the former CEO of a utility company, is running as a Democrat, hoping to go on to challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
Hallquist, 61, transitioned publicly several years ago while still CEO of Vermont Electric Co-op. At a press event Sunday, she admitted the path to being her authentic self “was certainly not easy.”
“However, it has 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 Co-op who had put their trust in me.”
With three children and two grandkids, Hallquist, 61, is campaigning on mainstream issues, like health-care reform, the gender pay gap, prison reform, and the opioid crisis. “My wish is that everybody just overlooks [my being transgender] and looks at the policies and my resume and the history of what I’ve done,” she told Vermont Public Radio.
In addition to Scott, she’ll face at least two other Democratic challengers—environmental advocate James Ehlers and Ethan Sonneborn, a 13-year-old from Bristol.
There has been a serious uptick in transgender candidates in the past year, with at least eight winning office last November, including Danica Roem, the first out transgender person to serve in a state legislature.