Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Danni Askini Suspends Washington State Legislative Campaign

I've been happy to hear about trans people stepping up to run for state legislative offices in this 2016 election cycle.  I consider trans people being in our state legislatures and eventually the US Congress to be the next vital step to pushing our civil rights movement to the next level.

I recently heard some disappointing news recently out of Washington state. Danni Askini is dropping out of the race for an open legislative seat in Washington's 43rd District to focus on her executive director duties at the Gender Justice League.

"I have been overwhelmed by the support our campaign has received since I filed in March," said Askini in a press statement. "This decision has weighed heavily on me, but I have come to the conclusion that I cannot run the campaign for State Representative this district and my community deserve while also fighting attacks both nationally and across our state on transgender rights."

The local attack on trans rights she's talking about is I-1515, an attempt by the haters to roll back the Washington's trans human rights protections that have been in effect for a decade and must be stopped.

The Washington Won't Discriminate coalition has been established to fight the unjust initiative and keep it off the November ballot   A decline to sign campaign is underway, and it will be determined in July if I-1515 has enough signatures to qualify.

"I think people understand that this is a unique challenge," Askini said about I-1515.  "It's new territory for the community and it is unfortunately an all hands on deck issue."

While I and her supporters understand why she's dropping out of the race, it's still disappointing news.

The $33,000 in surplus funds raised for Askini's run for office will be distributed to several organizations that include the Pride Foundation, Legal Voice and the Transgender Law Center.

Askini's withdrawal from the race she announced for back in March is additionally disappointing because she was considered the front runner in this crowded race.  Had she been successful in capturing the 43rd District seat, she would have become the first out trans person elected to the Washington State Legislature.  

It still leaves six people in a crowded field to fill the seat that opened up after state rep Brady Walkinshaw resigned to run for the 7th Congressional District being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

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