Christine Hallquist is making history as the nation’s first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate in Vermont. The primary will take place on Aug. 14, where the Democratic party is poised to nominate her as their candidate for the general election in November.
The former Vermont Electric Coop CEO once feared she would lose her job and “end up sleeping in a gutter somewhere” after her transition in 2015. “I was sure I was going to lose my job and I was going to lose everything I worked for,” she said. “But the truth was more important for my children, because they didn’t really know.” However, the day she wore a blouse and wig to work her peers accepted and welcomed her transition.
Now, she is running for governor with overwhelming support and acceptance from the citizens of Vermont. Former Governor Howard Dean commented “It will be irrelevant in Vermont,” when referring to Hallquist’s gender identity. Dean was right and Hallquist’s campaign is fully focused on policy rather than her gender identity. “I consider myself a very strong leader with a good history who happens to be transgender,” she said. “I mean, I’d ask the voters who may be struggling with the fact I am transgender to try to look beyond that. Try to look at what I’ve done.”
Hallquist’s platform matches that of the national Democratic party with her focus on health care, the environment, local economic issues and paid family leave. Her former position as an electric executive has largely influenced her platform and plans to improve Vermont’s economy and environment. Hallquist’s signature plan is to revitalize the rural areas in Vermont by installing high-speed fiber optic cable throughout the state.
Hallquist faces three competitors in next week’s primary but as of now, she is the frontrunner. Among them, Hallquist has the most name recognition in the state.
Hallquist is one of multiple transgender men and women have run for office recent years including Danica Roem, who was the nation’s first openly transgender state legislator. There more than 400 LGBT candidates running for office in 2018, a record number that some are referring to as a “rainbow wave.”