Christine Hallquist beat three other candidates to become the first transgender candidate for governor nominated by a major party, according to The New York Times.
Hallquist won the Democratic party nomination for governor of Vermont. She is running on a progressive platform that is focused on social and economic issues, including a $15 minimum wage and “Medicare for all,” according to CNN.
She won the primary race with 39 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press quoted by ABC News.
“Tonight, we made history,” Hallquist said to her supporters. “I am so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.”
Hallquist will be taking on Republican Governor Phil Scott in the general election. Scott is facing re-election and is facing a decline in popularity due to gun control measures he signed into law earlier this year, according to The New York Times.
Hallquist is the former CEO of the member-owned utility company Vermont Electric Cooperative. She is the first CEO to transition while on the job, according to the Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect openly LGBTQ individuals to office.
“My path to being my authentic self was certainly not easy,” Hallquist said when she announced her candidacy, according to CNN. “However, it’s always been important to me to live openly and honestly.”
Her platform is focused on renewable energy and increasing broadband access in rural communities. She has received support from the Justice Democrats, who also helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New York campaign.
According to the Victory Fund, Hallquist is one of more than 400 LGBTQ candidates running this election cycle. Last year, Danica Roem made history by being the first transgender individual elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.
In Vermont, Christine Hallquist is the nation’s first transgender gubernatorial nominee from a major party. My story, with more to come: https://t.co/ONEcLrqVLr
— Jess Bidgood (@jessbidgood) August 15, 2018
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Hallquist pointed to President Donald Trump’s election as one of her motivations for getting involved in politics.
“There’s a systemic attack and it’s going to start with the most marginalized of the communities,” Hallquist said. “So the fact that our President has gone after the transgender community is no surprise and I think everybody should be afraid.”
In another CNN interview, Hallquist cited the support she found during her transition as giving her the confidence to run for office.
“I was sure I was going to lose respect,” she said. “But that didn’t happen.”
The Republican Governor’s Association responded to her nomination by posting a picture of the candidate with the caption “Wrong for Vermont.” They also issued a statement saying Hallquist’s plans would “take the state backwards” due to increased taxes.