As today’s primary results come in, one major victory is not for any political party, but for the LGBTQ community as a whole. With her win tonight, Vermont Democratic nominee Christine Hallquist becomes the first openly transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major party.
Hallquist transitioned publicly during her time as the CEO of one of Vermont’s major nonprofit utility companies. “My path to being my authentic self was certainly not easy,” she said earlier this year, according to CNN. “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.”
Hallquist was backed by Justice Democrats, the same group who helped fuel Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ victory. Her platform evidences many similarities to Ocasio-Cortez as well. It includes raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, criminal justice reform, universal health care, and building renewable energy.
In November, Hallquist will face Republican incumbent Governor Phil Scott. Interestingly Hallquist says she voted for Scott in 2016—her desire to run against him was driven by the backlash to Trump that has spurred a wave of political activism across the country.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to Christine Hallquist as the first transgender person nominated for a major party in a gubernatorial race. She is in fact the first openly transgender person who has been nominated by a major party in a gubernatorial race. We regret the error.