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Danica Roem elected Virginia's first openly transgender state official

By Daniel Uria
Danica Roem elected Virginia's first openly transgender state official
Danica Roem defeated incumbent Bob Marshall in the race for Virginia's 13th District House of Delegates seat, becoming the state's first openly transgender elected official. Photo by Danica Roem

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Danica Roem won Virginia's 13th District House of Delegates seat on Tuesday night, becoming the first openly transgender official to be elected in the United States.

Roem, a Democrat, defeated Republican incumbent Bob Marshall who proposed a bill restricting which bathrooms transgender people could use and attempted to block Virginia from adding sex and gender discrimination to anti-discrimination rules.

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Roem discussed her gender identity when asked throughout the campaign and responded to flyers released by Marshall's campaign that referred to her using male pronouns.

"When Delegate Marshall realized that he cannot win on public policy issues, on traffic, jobs, schools and health care, he resorted to trash," she said.

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She ran a platform focused on local issues such as infrastructure projects to create jobs and fix Maryland's clogged Route 28 and raising teacher pay and criticized Marshall for ignoring such issues in favor of advancing his conservative agenda.

Roem raised more than twice as many funds as Marshall receiving significant donations from out of state and national donors including the Victory Fund, a national group that aims to elect LGBTQ leaders.

During the campaign Roem made herself available for numerous public appearances and interviews and executed an aggressive ground strategy.

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She and her supporters knocked on doors more than 75,000 times in the district which contains 52,471 registered voters.

Marshall refused to debate Roem, often declined interviews and spent about half as much time knocking on doors.

Roem, 33, was born in Manassas, Va., and worked as a journalist for local newspapers in Virginia and Maryland including the Gainesville Times, Prince William Times and the Montgomery County Sentinel.

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She began her transition to life as a woman in 2013, when she changed her name and started hormone replacement therapy.

In addition to her work in politics Roem is a stepmother and plays in a metal band.

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