Nevada Democrat aims to be first trans politician to win statewide race
CARSON CITY, Nevada – Nevada Democrat Kimi Cole wants to become the country’s first openly transgender politician elected to a statewide office.
Cole, who chairs the Nevada Democratic Rural Caucus, on Wednesday announced his intention to run for lieutenant governor of Nevada at an event in the state capital.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of my journey as such,” Cole said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press, noting the potential of his candidacy that breaks down barriers. “We have really urgent problems in this country. Being able to assess them, treat them and take care of them will take a lot of conscientious effort.
According to a tally from the Victory Institute, a group that works to elect LGBTQ politicians, more than 40 transgender politicians hold elected positions as lawmakers, judges and members of the state’s city council. None have yet won a statewide race.
Cole, a former construction manager who lives in Carson City, entered politics ten years ago after revealing himself publicly to be transgender and personally experiencing what it was like to be seen differently by the public.
“All of a sudden I was treated differently or treated badly. People got away from me and everything. That’s when it really hit me like a brick: How does someone who looks different or speaks differently deal with life? Cole said.
Cole has since served as Chairman of the Douglas County Democrats and has volunteered to help homeless people and drug addicts. Cole has also worked to encourage presidential candidates to pay attention to rural Nevada, despite Republicans dominating elections outside of the state’s major cities.
Nevada has not had a lieutenant governor since Democrat Kate Marshall resigned to accept a White House nomination in August. Governor Steve Sisolak, who has the power to appoint a successor, has not filled the post.
Three Republicans – former state treasurer Dan Schwartz, eternal candidate Mack Miller and Las Vegas city councilor Stavros Anthony – and another Democrat, Henderson mayor Debra March, have announced their intention to run as lieutenant governor. March was approved by the state Democratic Party in August.
Cole said she understands the attention to the personal story of a transgender candidate, but plans to focus the campaign on kitchen table fairness issues, such as affordability of the accommodation and transport. However, Cole still recognizes the importance of visibility for many members of the transgender community.
“So many people came to me and just told me that by doing what I do and living vocally and openly, it inspired them… to feel really good about their life and how they live,” said Cole. .