Watch CBS News

Leigh Finke to become first transgender legislator in Minnesota House

First trans legislator elected to Minnesota House
First trans legislator elected to Minnesota House 02:07

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Leigh Finke will be the first transgender legislator in the Minnesota House after she handily won the seat for District 66A on Tuesday night.

According to the secretary of state, she defeated Republican Trace Johnson 81% to 18% and will serve St. Paul, Falcon Heights, Roseville, and Lauderdale. The first-time candidate was endorsed by top DFL-ers, including Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Sen. Tina Smith.

Finke, who is a Twin Cities Native and a filmmaker for the American Civil Liberties Union, decided to run earlier this year.

"In the last two years, we've been seeing just a marked increase in the coordinated attacks against trans people and trans communities in the United States and in Minnesota," she said. "I just felt like it was absolutely essential to have someone from our community in those rooms."

Finke posted a celebratory video on Twitter shortly after the election results came in.

Now though, she's focused on getting to work.

"If we can accomplish getting more people elected who are trans and gender diverse, who are LGBTQ and people of color, that's the thing I'm most proud of," she said. "It doesn't really matter whatever the specifics of any individual are. When you connect over the shared difficulties of living in the world, people can respond to that."

For the first time in history, openly LGBTQ+ candidates were on the ballot in all 50 states during the 2022 midterms.

In Minnesota, 11 out LGBTQ+ candidates won their elections on Tuesday night, including Alicia Kozlowski of Duluth who is the first non-binary person elected to the capitol. The number of LGBTQ+ representatives in the Minnesota legislature has now doubled.

MORE: See full 2022 election results here

"Many stories will be written about Minnesota's elections. One undeinable story is the rise of Queer Political Power," Finke wrote on Twitter.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.