Christine Hallquist made history on Tuesday night, when she won the Democratic nomination for governor of Vermont, a victory that made her the first transgender candidate selected by a major party to bid for an American governorship. Hallquist also won as a visionary progressive who sees Vermont as “a beacon of hope for the rest of the country” that can serve as an innovative laboratory of democracy for a country that needs a new politics.
To that end, along with other high-profile primary winners on Tuesday such as congressional candidates Randy Bryce in Wisconsin and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Hallquist ran as a Justice Democrat, committed to health care for all, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, investing in tuition-free college, and a making renewable-energy investments to address climate change.
“I’m a proud and out transgendered leader,” says Hallquist, who swept to victory in a four-way primary with almost 50 percent of the vote. That win positioned her as a serious contender to be the nation’s first transgender governor. Before the primary, Hallquist acknowledged that “For some Vermonters, I think my being transgender may be an issue. I think it’s going to be a small minority. I think Vermonters are going to vote for me because of what I’m going to do for Vermont.”
The primary results signaled that Hallquist was right to be confident. She carried urban and rural regions of the state and earned high praise from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who tweeted:
Congratulations to @christineforvt for her Democratic primary win for Governor of Vermont tonight. Let’s continue making history and win this November!
—Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 15, 2018
A veteran of the cooperative movement who served for many years as CEO of the Vermont Electric Coop, which she helped transform into a leader in using renewable sources of electricity production to combat climate change, Hallquist was not active in partisan politics until after the 2016 election.