West Virginia City Elects First Transgender Public Officer

Voters in a West Virginia city on Tuesday elected the state’s first transgender public official, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on Wheeling City Council, according to the organization.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register reported that Ketchum beat three other candidates for a seat representing the city’s third quarter.

After her victory, Ketchum said she was “thrilled to keep the promises I made and to work for the Third Ward and the entire town of Wheeling,” the local newspaper reported.

Ketchum campaigned on affordable housing, tackling the opioid crisis, investing in infrastructure and renewable energy, among others.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to helping elect LGBTQ leaders in the country, said fewer than 30 transgender leaders currently hold a mandate in the country.

“When Ketchum takes office, there will only be four LGBTQ elected officials in all of West Virginia,” the group, which had also supported Ketchum in the race, said in a statement Thursday.

Annise Parker, who is the group’s president, said Ketchum’s recent victory “shattered a lavender ceiling in West Virginia” and “will resonate far beyond her condition.”

“We know Rosemary’s run will inspire other trans people from conservative states to consider running for office in their communities – and these candidates will inspire others as well. This virtuous circle is the key to building trans acceptance and long-term political power, ”Parker added in a statement Thursday.

Prior to launching her candidacy last year, Ketchum was also an associate director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Wheeling and is “a member of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission and of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, ”according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

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