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Danica Roem makes history as first openly transgender person elected to Virginia state Senate

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Abortion-rights supporters celebrate big election victories 02:32

Danica Roem has made history Tuesday as the first openly transgender person to be elected to Virginia's state Senate.

"I'm grateful the people of Virginia's 30th senate District elected me to continue representing my lifelong home of western Prince William County and greater Manassas," Roem said in a statement released Tuesday night. "The voters have shown they want a leader who will prioritize fixing roads, feeding kids, and protecting our land instead of stigmatizing trans kids or taking away your civil rights." 

She ran against Republican candidate Bill Woolf to represent Virginia's 30th District in the upper chamber. Roem was among many Democratic candidates in Virginia who defeated their Republican opponents, many of whom were backed by the state's Republican governor Glenn Youngkin, including Woolf.

Delegate Danica Roem (D) participates in a  one day session of the Virginia General Assembly April 3 in Richmond, Va.
RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 3: Delgate Danica Roem poses for a portrait Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va. Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Recent results from the Virginia's secretary of state's office showed Roem besting Woolf by less than 2,000 votes. 

The win for Roem comes as an increasing number of LBGTQ+ candidates launch bids for political office despite the more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Danica faced an unprecedented deluge of anti-trans hate on the campaign trail, but she was not phased nor distracted." Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, said in a statement. "Her win tonight will make national headlines and serves as a deafening rebuke to bigots who continue to try and silence the LGBTQ+ community and trans people in particular."

Roem did not make her sexual identity central to her campaign, and in fact, it was barely mentioned on her website. 

Instead, she campaigned on raising teacher pay, increasing access to health care and preventing gun violence.

Before getting involved in politics, Roem worked as journalist in Prince William County, Virginia. She obtained her degree in 2006 from St. Bonaventure University, in New York.

The Virginia lawmaker is no stranger to making history. She was the first openly transgender person to serve in the Virginia House of Delagates following her win in the 2017 election. 

Sarah McBride, who became the nation's first trans state senator with her 2020 victory in Delaware, congratulated Roem in a social media post, saying, "Virginia now gets one of the hardest working legilators in their upper chamber — and the US' trans senator caucus just doubled."

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