BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former energy company executive from Vermont has come a step closer to becoming the nation’s first transgender governor.
Christine Hallquist swept to victory in Tuesday’s crowded gubernatorial primary, besting three other Democrats — including a 14-year-old boy — to become the party’s nominee. She is the first trans person to win a major party’s nomination for governor.
“Tonight we made history, and I’m so honored to be … part of this historical moment,” Hallquist said to a room full of clapping fans at her election-night party in Burlington. “I’m so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.”
Hallquist will face Republican incumbent Phil Scott in November. Scott’s popularity has waned in recent months, but he managed to beat his Republican primary challenger by a healthy margin on Tuesday.
The most specific parts of Hallquist’s platform follow a now-familiar progressive model: a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all and free higher education. She is also campaigning on an aggressive expansion of renewable electricity and high-speed broadband access across the state.
Hallquist said the anti-transgender policies of the Trump administration, including the attempt to ban trans people from serving in the military and the reversal of Obama-era protections for trans people in gender-segregated facilities, were factors in her decision to run for office.
“This isn’t something I was thinking about doing,” Hallquist explained. “I say, in the physics world, for every action, there’s an opposite and equal reaction. This is a reaction to 2016.”
She said she hopes “our children and our children’s children look back at 2018 and say, ‘Hey, that’s when we all got in, and our democracy survived a despot.’”
Hallquist’s past career as CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative gave her a major boost going into Tuesday’s contest. She’s credited with turning the electric utility around, and a poll found she had the highest name recognition of all the Democratic hopefuls in the gubernatorial race.
On the campaign trail, she criticized Gov. Scott’s high rate of vetoed legislation, which she called a “leadership failure” and a product of his “focus on division.”
“We are a very loving state, so when people are focusing on division, people don’t like it,” Hallquist said.
Hallquist said she’s confident she has a good chance against Scott in November.
“It’s pretty clear he’s vulnerable,” she said. “I think he lost support from both the gun advocates and the Democrats who might have voted for him before.”
One element of Hallquist’s platform that generated buzz leading up to the primary is a program for rural internet expansion.
Beforing the polls closed on Tuesday, Hallquist visited Brighton, a small town in Vermont’s poor northeast, where she said, “Rural America is facing a problem right now.”
Via: NBC News