Monday, August 20, 2018

Shady Behavior By Presley In HD 29?

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One of the reprehensible tactics used by the Texas Republican Party as they clawed their way from somnambulant minority party status to a majority by 2002 was having people run in the Democratic Party primary. 

In the 70's and 80's, that basically meant you would win in the general election because of the Democratic dominance of the state at the time if you won your contested Democratic Party primary race.

That GOP ringer person would after capturing the nomination, either wait until after they had won the November general election, then switch parties and declare they were 'now a Republican' after using Democratic Party resources and funds to get the office, or after winning the Democratic nomination, wait until it was too late to take their name off the ballot or for the Texas  Democratic Party to replace them to cite some reason to withdraw from the race, allowing the Republican candidate in that race to basically run unopposed.

When I saw this FB message from James Patrick Presley announcing that he was ending his campaign for the Pearland area HD 29 seat south of Houston, it not only sent deja vu vibes of back in the day Republican meddling in our Democratic primaries, but pissed me off on multiple levels.

Patrick Presley
          23 hrs

Friends, Family, Voters, and fellow Candidates,
With my deepest apologies, I regret to inform you that I will no longer be pursuing the position of State Representative, HD 29, as it is no longer within my best interests. I have made this decision within the last two weeks. I am not being threatened or coerced to do this. I know this will come as a shock to many, and that many will be upset with this decision, but please allow me to explain: 
When I decided to run for this office, I had the complete belief and motivation that if I gained the full support of the Democratic Party in this area, I could win this office with moderate stances and a voice of reason/unity. Freshly coming from the Libertarian Party, and even after winning my primary, this is not what has happened. I have been talked about behind my back, lied about, misrepresented, misunderstood, and unsupported. I have tried to explain multiple times that my former beliefs from my time in the LP were no longer my beliefs, as they quickly changed the more I researched specific areas of psychology pertaining to political viewpoints. My current political standings label me as a centrist, moderate, independent, and left-of-center. None of this mattered in the mind of the Democratic Party. As a Republican friend of mine told me, “When you won your primary, we were worried. When we saw how the Democrats reacted, we were relieved.” 
I no longer feel the need to explain myself. I no longer feel the desire to talk about moderate viewpoints to a group who only wishes to hear progressive stances. I will no longer feel the stress of having to spend my own money against a $500,000 tank. I simply do not have the influence and support within my own party to win this race. I would rather spend my time, money, and resources on myself, my education, my friends, my family, and possibly some wonderful candidates we have within the Democratic Party. I am particularly excited about Beto, Mike Collier, Kim Olson, Sri Kulkarni, Eliz Markowitz, FJ Jones, and Robin Burgess. (This is not a complete list of who I will vote for, but Criminal Justice Reform (Judge Reform) and Education Reform are my top priorities). 
I would like to specifically apologize to Dylan Forbis for taking this opportunity away from you. You have been nothing but helpful and kind to me this entire time. I messaged Dylan one day with absolute excitement and motivation that I could raise $100,000. He told me I was being too ambitious. I didn't believe him, but he was correct. I still believe need YOUNG REPRESENTATION in our government. I hope the next candidate the Democratic Party chooses is young (Below 40), influential, and a community leader. Preferably a veteran and a business owner. 
From here I will continue to go to school on my GI Bill. I hope to go to Physical Therapy school in the next couple years. I need a high GPA, and I may be required to move to find a school that is right for me. This is another reason it is not best for me to pursue this office. I will continue to preach Criminal Justice Reform and Education reform. 
However, I will not be pursing any type of office in the near future. I do hope to sit down with Ed Thompson to discuss my concerns within the state of Texas. Hopefully we can come to agreements. He has been very kind to me and already told me he would vote to repeal section 22.06 of the penal code (Deemed unconstitutional: Outlawing Homosexuality). This would be progress, but understand that this is not a reason I am not pursuing this position. We need Criminal Justice Reform, Education Reform, Father's Rights, and Healthcare Reform. 
I wish to not be harassed. If you feel a certain way about this decision, you are free to discuss it. Do not tag me, do not message me, and if you so choose, delete me from social media. However, I hope that we can understand and remain friends/acquaintances.

Yeah Patrick.  I do wish to discuss it. 

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Presley beat Dylan Forbis back in March to get the nomination, and this situation has the unpleasant stench of Presley being a ringer for several reasons. 

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Presley was a Libertarian, I'm  highly skeptical until they have spent at least five years in the Democratic Party that your change of party affiliation is genuine. 

Because we have been burned by GOP fake Dem ringers in the past. I and other Texas Democrats are justifiably skeptical of people from the right who join the party until we feel comfortable that your claim of seeing the political light is genuine and you have paid your dues in this party.

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Just donating money to the Kentucky Republican Party combined with his conservative stances was enough to sink Andrew White's bid to get the Democratic nomination for Texas governor 

If  Presley wasn't sure he was committed to campaigning all the way until November, he should have never jumped into the race in the first place.

Another thing that is pissing me off about this late drop out and fueling my suspicion that he was a ringer is that under the Texas Election code, political party may replace its candidate after a withdrawal if that candidate:

*Falls “critically ill” and would not be able to execute his or her duties if elected
*If no other party has a nominee for the position that is being contested,
*If the candidate withdraws because he or she was elected or appointed to another office.

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Since Presley's withdrawal from the HD 29 race doesn't fall under any of those parametersit looks like for the second time since 2014, unless Democratic Party attorneys find a way out of this mess, Ed Thompson is going to go unopposed in a general election for his HD 29 seat.

That's disappointing and disrespectful to the 4056 Democratic residents of the district who voted for you over Dylan Forbis to be the Democratic nominee to take on Thompson.  

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As you acknowledged in your comment, you not only took away an opportunity for Dylan to possibly serve HD 29 as its elected state rep, more importantly, you took away a historic opportunity for the Texas trans community, a community demonized in the last session by Potty Dan Patrick and Locker Room Lois Kolkhorst, to possibly place for the first time ever a trans representative in the Texas Lege. 

So yeah, that reason more than anything else besides wanting to see more Democrats in the Texas legislature in the 2019 session is why I'm definitely pissed about what you have done.

Mayflower Madam Quote Removed From HISD School Walls

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School doesn't start in HISD until next week, but one thing that Gregory-Lincoln Education Center students will see brightening up the hall is a quote from Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai instead of one from the Mayflower Madam.

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Gregory-Lincoln serves K-8 students in the Montrose, Fourth Ward, Midtown, and Downtown areas of the city.

It came to our local Houston activist community's attention that a quote attributable to infamous Mayflower madam Sydney Biddle Barrows was on the wall at Gregory -Lincoln now occupied by the Malala one.

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The quote that previously occupied that spot read, "The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman'.

That is problematic on a lot of levels just beyond who it came from. You as an individual are responsible for your own behavior, and that not a message we should be sending the middle school age girls that they bear responsibility for the behavior of young boys .

Melania is a illustrative example of the futility of the quote, considering the ongoing nekulturny behavior of the overgrown orange toddler she's married to.

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Local media got wind of the story after it was pushed by Pantsuit Republic Houston and other women's groups online and offline.   It wasn't long before the offensive quote got the attention of HISD senior leadership, was painted over and replaced with the more appropriate one from Yousafzai.

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Coincidentally, one of the books on the HISD third grade reading list for this 2018-19 school year is one written by Yousafzai entitled Malala's Magic Pencil.

Mission accomplished in terms of folks speaking up and getting positive action to take place after they did so.

Welcome To Womanhood

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This is a guest post by Toni D'orsay that deserves a signal boost.

"Welcome to womanhood."
Antonia Elle D'orsay's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, closeupIt is a phrase heard by trans women at least once -- often far more often than that -- and it is always meant in a commiserating way, a kind of "welcome to the sisterhood" statement, that ties within it all the other stuff that goes along with being a woman.
It is often given in particular contexts that suggest that this is a new experience for trans women, something different from what they had experienced in the past, and the flaw in it, the cruelty of it, is derived from that simple misunderstanding.
Trans women are women who typically spend a lot of their time looking in from the outside. Another metaphor: the most unpopular girls in high school who watch even those with the slightest greater popularity enjoy everything, while they get stuck eating ashes. Alone. Away from the lunch room.
It won't apply to all trans women. Nothing can. Not even transness, when it comes right down to it, but that won't stop people from trying, since transness is a concept structured by the dominant social milieu, in and of itself.
But by and large, trans women are women who have been denied all those experiences and forced into another set. They would watch over their shoulders or try to understand the why and how the what from outside, not the inside, and in doing so, they did, in fact, experience a womanhood -- just not the acceptable, prepackaged, pre-approved, preordained, structural and institutional womanhood many know. Most know.
The underlying message is welcome to the ways in which which being a woman sucks. On rare occasions, it is welcome to the ways in which being a woman is awesome.
Trans women already know that, though. They have watched it. They have often prayed for it. They may not understand it as well, because they were never on the inside; never popular enough to hang out in the schoolyard.
Some will argue that isn't probable. You cannot know something from the outside, they will argue. Yet we do that all the time, all of us. If you don't believe me, look at how much we think we know about the lives of celebrities.
We probably don't get it in full detail, the depth of nuance and the nitty gritty of the emotional weight, but we know it.
We don't understand it, though, no mater how many pet theories we come up with.
Trans women were trans girls. They grew up, and a large number of them waited, expectantly for our first periods, our first kisses, our dance dresses and those little things -- for some of us, we figured for a while we were just late bloomers, it would happen, it will be okay.
We were denied those things. Often punished for thinking of them. Often we were nuts, and for those of us of different generations, we were pushed to be more masculine, trounced if we didn't do well, given disappointing looks and worried for us glances by teachers and principals and parents and strangers.
We were children, disappointing parents by being what they told us we could be, because we didn't fit into the world they knew or understand or approved of or liked enough.
They know the dark side. In some cases, perhaps far too well.
But they also, as a result of this, see womanhood differently. I mean, these are women who had to fight to be women, had to defy family and government and, if some are to be believed, Gods, to be women. They never got to experience these things, so for them, sometimes, even the crappy parts of being a woman are blessings, which can be pretty jarring, pretty funny, pretty heartbreaking.
And even as they do so, they are punished for being women. Not merely treated that way, but punished for it punished for wanting it, punished for living as themselves.
Trans women get to be told they don't get a say in their reproductive rights, and then are punished for not having that say, then punished for wanting them, and punished for thinking they deserve them, and punished for not being able to do the thing people think of most often when folks say reproductive rights. Something which a lot of them would give up limbs in the most literal sense to be able to do.
Indeed in one of the more hateful theories out there created by cis folks about tans folks, wanting to be a woman is a delusion, and it is all about sex, and yet if you were to ask trans women if they want babies (which, you guessed it, requires sex), and they answer yes, in and of itself, undoes all of that theory as it is constructed.
Because we are punished for wanting that. Wanting something that people say we can never have, and say it with a kind of smug and grim satisfaction, like a twist of the knife that those who say that know they have just jammed into a kidney from behind.
We know womanhood. And for those of us of color, we know oppression and discrimination that while it differs in style, is still the same, basic, harsh and ugly human reaction.
Which is all bad enough, except that we get it all from everyone, including women, because we break rules we never made that were never established to account for us, that pretend we do not exist.
We know womanhood. And we know a truth that few folks will ever utter, a thought that really makes the notion of welcoming us to womanhood even more bitter than it usually is.
We know because we are not welcome to womanhood, we never have been, anywhere, so even that lie just makes us quirk a corner of our lips in a wry smile and shrug.
Because we are going to carve a place out for us. We are entitled to it -- it is our human right to be so.
And for that we need no welcome.
But you are welcome to join us.   

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Happy National Latina Day!

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The first Latina I ever personally met was back in fourth grade when Audrey Huerta was one of my Frost Elementary classmates.   Over the rest of my school days and in my 20's I got to meet and even date a few while reading about the exploits of amazing Latina civil rights icons like Dolores Huerta.

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I also came in contact with more Latinas at my mom's school, since she spent her teaching career working at two East End elementary schools.  I also got the message early that Latinas come in all shapes, sizes and skin tones when I met Nereida Hooker, Lydia Andrade and Cindy Lopez while I was working my job at the Astrodome and a few years later at my airline job.

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So what's National Latina Day?   It's one that was started back on August 20, 2015 for Latina women here and around the globe to show pride in their heritage and who they are as Latinx women.  They are urged to wear red on that day 

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Latinas are the intersectional trailblazing backbone of our various human rights movements not only in our nation but across Latin America.  I have great examples of that locally in Ana Andrea Molina, Ali Lozano, Kayla Lozano, Maria Gonzalez, Januari Leo, Melissa Vivanco, Sen. (and future congresswoman) Sylvia Garcia,. Elizabeth Santos, Christina Gorczynski and Alice Serna McDougald just to name a few. 

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In the trans community, in addition to Ana Andrea, we also are blessed to have Latina trans leaders like Joanna Cifredo, Bamby Salcedo, Ruby Corado, Alexis Martinez, Arianna Lint, Jada Mercedes Cardona, Marie Angel Hernandez, Brooke Cerda Guzman, Catalina Velasquez and Jennicet Gutierrez who are unapologetically trans Latinas, proud of their heritage and do the work to make our trans community better for all of us.

Latinas grace our lives in all fields from the business world to education, politics and media, and some are blazing historic trails while doing so.

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It has also been interesting to watch over the last few years as people like La La Anthony, Soledad O'Brien, Tatyana Ali, Gina Torres, Rosario Dawson, Reagan Gomez- Preston and Amara La Negra name and claim their Afro Latinx roots like my friend Nereida unapologetically did back in 1981.   

Afro Latinas are driving home the point that they exist and deserve to be in the conversation when the conversation turns to talking about who Latinas are and what they look like, the issues they face like anti-Blackness, and let you know they will be unapologetically Black while participating in the needed and necessary discussion. .   

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So to all the Latinas, cis and trans who I am blessed to currently have in my life, call my friends, and who make my life infinitely better, Happy National Latina Day!

Happy Transgender Flag Day 2018!

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It was on this date in 1999 that Monica Helms created the pink, white and blue striped transgender flag that in less than two decades since its first appearance in a Phoenix parade in 2000, has become the universally accepted flag and symbol for the international  trans community.

As a testament to its increasing international acceptance as a symbol for our community, it has not only inspired the painting of a Washington DC crosswalk in the trans pride flag colors, but giant trans pride flags have been created for parades in Mexico City, Palm Springs and last year in Los Angeles.

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The LA trans flag carried during the 2017 LA Resist march is the current world record holder at 25 feet 6 inches by 160 feet  (7.8 meters by 48.7 meters). It beats the Palm Springs trans pride flag by 1580 square feet  (146.8 square meters).   The Palm Springs flag eclipsed the giant Mexican trans flag.
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If you're wondering what happened to original flag that Monica Helms created, the original trans flag that Helms (far right in the pic) created is currently housed at the Smithsonian as part of its LGBT History Collection.   It was proudly displayed at the White House during the last LGBT Pride Reception of the Obama presidency in 2016.

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This celebration of Transgender Flag Day comes at a challenging time for the US community in which we have a transphobic idiot in the White House and a (in) Justice Department that is attempting to roll back the meager gains we have made human rights wise in this country.

Meanwhile, we watch as rights are expanding for trans people elsewhere around the world. 

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But as always, we will fight the trans oppressors tooth and nail.   We trans folks and our accomplices will continue to fight for the day that trans rights are a reality in all 50 states, and take our revenge at the ballot box this November against the legislators who oppose us. 

Happy Transgender Flag Day 2018!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Queen of Soul Has Joined The Ancestors

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Was saddened to hear the news that Aretha Franklin has passed away moments ago at age 76 in her hometown of Detroit.

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The iconic singer was known as the Queen of Soul and her career spanned seven decades.   She won 18 Grammy awards and had a string of 20 number one R&B hits from 1967 to 1985.  She sang at the inaugurations of three presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush in 2005. 

And oh yes, out of the three versions of the theme song for the iconic TV show A Different World, my fave is Aretha's version (sorry not sorry Boyz II Men)

Aretha also lent her talents to raising funds for the African American Civil Rights Movement, and sang at the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr's funeral 

In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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She had announced her intention to retire last year and only perform at selected events   Franklin had been ill in recent years from an undisclosed illness, and in the past week her health worsened to the point where she was reportedly in hospice care at her home

She is considered by music critics to undeniably be one of the greatest singers of all time, and she will be missed by her family, friends and her fans. 

Rest in power and peace, Aretha.   Our ancestors are waiting with open arms for you. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Historic 2018 LGBT Slate Of Gubernatorial Candidates

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With the historic win of Christine Hallquist last night, it not only points out the building Rainbow wave in this upcoming 2018 election cycle, but also completed an interesting political footnote.

For the first time ever, we have candidates representing different parts of the LGBT acronym running in the same election cycle for governor in their respective states.

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In my home state of Texas, we're proudly providing the 'L' in Lupe Valdez, the former longtime Dallas County sheriff who is running for governor against the incumbent Greg Abbott (R).

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We go to Colorado for the 'G' in Jared Polis, the current US congressman representing Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, who is running to succeed Democratic governor John Hickenlooper.

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The 'B' is Oregon's incumbent governor Kate Brown, who is fighting off a challenge from Republican gubernatorial nominee Knute Buehler.

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And as you're aware of by now, the 'T' is provided by Vermont's Christine Hallquist, who is challenging incumbent Republican governor Phil Scott.

This is a year in which we have had over 400 LGBT candidates run for office and who were motivated in large part because of Republican legislative attacks on the TBLGQ community.

There are according to the Victory Fund, 500 LGBT elected officials in the US, and that's only .01 % of the total number of elected officials nationwide, so there is much room for growth. 

Yes, it's clear by the GOP attacks on LGBT rights people from this community must be represented in the halls of governmental power at every level of government, and the sooner, the better. 

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Having members of our community wielding the power of the gubernatorial pen to sign executive orders, approve good legislation or veto bad bills is now more than ever even more crucial to our ability as a community to defend ourselves against legislation hostile to us.

The Democratic Party gubernatorial nominations are only the first step in the process. In order to see them sworn in as governors of Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Vermont in January, we're going to have to bumrush the polls and vote for them on November 6.

Have A Wonderful 2018-19 School Year, Trans Family!

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The school year gets started for ten Houston area school districts including the Alief one I now live in tomorrow.   But the events in Achille, OK have me thinking about our trans kids getting ready to start school either tomorrow or over the next few weeks. 

And Maddie, you and your family are in our collective thoughts as you start the school year in Achille today.  We hope it gets much better for you as the year continues and those transphobic adults are punished. 

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It also has me pissed about the move Secretary of Miseducation Betsy DeVos pulled in which they announced back in February they would not be acting on bathroom discrimination complaints filed by transgender students

But back to discussing this school year that is about to start.

Trans kids, your Aunt Monica wants you to know that you are not only loved by me and your trans elders, we will fight with every fiber of our beings for your humanity and your human rights.  We will also fight for your most important right of getting a quality education free from harassment by you fellow students or their transphobic parents

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We will also fight tooth and nail for those of you who wish to participate in extracurricular activities so that those of you who have the ability and talent to excel in sports can do so.

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So run for class president.   Try out for whatever team you wish.  Run for homecoming or prom king and queen   Run for cheerleader. because we trans elders and our accomplices will be solidly in your corner rooting for your success.

We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you are left alone to handle your education business, you will excel and thrive because you are #TransExcellence personified.

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Also keep in mind that standing up for you trans selves can also lead to human rights advances for our entire community.

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While we are in a tough environment to grown up trans, we have gone through far worse periods in our history as trans people and survived it.  This Trump misadministration will eventually go away as you elder work to make him a one termer.   Also keep in mind that your best revenge against the folks who hate you is to hold your head up high, be unapologetically proud of being trans, and be better students and human beings than they are.

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As this 2018-19 school year begins, I'm looking forward to seeing and writing about the historic trails you will blaze over the next few months that inspire me to work harder to be a better role model for you. 

No matter what happens in this 2018-19 school year, know that we unconditionally love you and are rooting for your scholastic success.  Your trans elders and I also hope you have a school year as wonderful and fabulous as we know you trans kids all are, whether you're starting pre-K, elementary school, middle school, high school, college or graduate school.

Have a wonderful 2018-19 school year, trans family.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dayna Smith Running For South Carolina Senate Seat

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There's a special election happening in South Carolina today that will also get my undivided attention when the polls close this evening.

Dayna Smith is running for the SC State Senate District 20 seat that covers Lexington and Richland counties and the cities of Columbia, Irmo, Lake Murray, Seven Oaks and St. Andrews.

She's also the first out trans person to run for office in South Carolina

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The special election is happening because longtime state Senator John Courson (R) resigned and vacated the seat after pleading guilty to official misconduct in June.    The seat has been held by the GOP since 1984, and South Carolina has a 28-18 GOP state Senate majority that the SC Democrats would love to begin the process of flipping by flipping this senate seat..

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Smith is one of three Democrats competing for the seat, and faces off against Dick Harpootlian, the former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and Kyle Lacio for the Democratic nomination. 
Four Republicans are running in their primary. 

If no one gets over 50% in their primary, there will be a runoff election scheduled for August 28.    The primary winners will face off in the November 6 general election for the District 20 seat .

Good luck to Dayna and hope she makes some South Carolina political history later tonight.

Christine Hallquist Attempts To Make More Vermont Trans Electoral History

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Four primary elections are happening today in the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont.   In addition to seeing what transpires in some races key to who holds control of the US House and Senate, the American trans community's eyes will be on Vermont as another trans candidate attempts to make electoral history. 

Back in 2000, the late Karen Kerin made history in the state by winning the Republican nomination for Vermont's US House seat.  She subsequently got blown out in the general election by Bernie Sanders.

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A conservative who was a perennial candidate in the Green Mountain State, Kerin was also the 2008 Republican candidate for attorney general, and lost Republican primary election races for the US House in 2002 and for attorney general in 2006. 

In her last race in 2010, Kerin was making her second run as a Libertarian candidate for Vermont attorney general.  She had previously run as a Libertarian for attorney general in the 2004 election cycle   

Kerin passed away in 2014 at age 69.   

_DSC3694.JPGNow as we fast forward to this crucial 2018 election cycle, another Vermont trans person in 62 year old Christine Hallquist has stepped up to run in the Vermont Democratic Party primary race for governor.

Her platform includes Medicare For All, access to better education and more high wage jobs.

The former energy executive is running against three other candidates in James Ehlers, Brenda Sigel and 14 year old high school student Ethan Sonneborn. 

Sonneborn is eligible because Vermont does not require candidates to be of voting age.

If Hallquist wins the nomination, she would make electoral history on two fronts by becoming the first out trans person in the Green Mountain State to win a Democratic primary for any office. 
She would also become the first out trans person nationally to win a major party nomination for governor 

Christine Hallquist for Vermont Governor
She would also take on the winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary race between incumbent Governor Phil Scott and Keith Stern.

Early voting has already occurred in Vermont, so it will be interesting to see what transpires when the polls close later this evening.

TransGriot Update:  Hallquist did make history!   She won the Democratic primary, and will take on the incumbent Republican governor Phil Scott in the fall.