On Wednesday, the Human Rights Campaign announced it was backing Christine Hallquist, the first transgender woman to win a major party’s primary for governor, in her bid to unseat incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott.
Chad Griffin, the president of HRC, appeared at a press conference in Burlington, Vt., with state Democratic leaders to announce the organization’s endorsement and its importance.
“Christine Hallquist is poised to make history as the next governor of Vermont,” Griffin said in a statement. “From civil rights to healthcare to government accountability, on issue after issue, Hallquist is committed to making Vermont an even stronger, more vibrant and inclusive state.
“HRC is proud to endorse Hallquist’s historic bid for governor, and we are working to turn out tens of thousands of fair-minded voters to the polls for her this November. We look forward to working closely with Christine Hallquist as the next governor of the Green Mountain State.”
In Vermont, HRC has worked to identify more than 140,000 prospective voters who are likely “equality voters,” meaning they are more likely to turn out and vote for candidates who support progressive and LGBTQ-inclusive policies, or who oppose laws that attempt to curtail LGBTQ advances in equality.
The organization’s work identifying equality voters, and sending resources and volunteers to help local political organizers make phone calls and canvass on behalf of pro-equality candidates, is part of a multi-million-dollar nationwide campaign known as HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in HRC’s history.
Hallquist graciously accepted HRC’s endorsement and vowed to continue with her campaign, where she has staked out progressive stances on many of the issues affecting the Green Mountain State, including supporting a single-payer health care system, a livable wage, expanding broadband access to rural areas, and free public college education. She recently noted that she has received death threats since winning her primary, forcing her campaign to be tight-lipped about upcoming events and having to consult the state police about security measures to ensure her safety.
“When I first transitioned to my authentic self, I would not have believed that I would become Vermont’s Democratic nominee for governor,” Hallquist said in prepared remarks. “Many people before me have fought to make my historic story possible. While I am honored to blaze the trail, I hope that one day it will be no question that LGBTQ members of our communities belong in political office.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored that the Human Rights Campaign, and HRC President Chad Griffin, have joined me to celebrate this occasion, and I am excited to continue working with the Human Rights Campaign as Governor of Vermont.”