Virginia Del. Danica Roem, the state’s first transgender officeholder and the only currently serving transgender state legislator in the nation, has been voted “Best Local Politician” by readers of the Prince William Times and Gainesville Times.
The local newspaper chain published the results of its annual Readers’ Choice awards on Aug. 29, with Roem emerging victorious from a field of 86 local officeholders.
Roem, a Democrat, made history last year when she defeated Del Robert Marshall, a Republican with over two decades of service in the Virginia House of Delegates and one of the state’s most vocal anti-LGBTQ politicians, for a seat representing the City of Manassas Park and portions of Haymarket, Gainesville, and Manassas.
As delegate, Roem has focused heavily on transportation issues, including traffic on Northern Virginia’s Route 28.
She has also advocated for better infrastructure spending, economic development, and was one of the loudest voices in support of the successful expansion of Virginia’s Medicaid rolls under the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to her election, Roem worked as a local reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times — a position that gave her a breadth of knowledge on local issues, which she then incorporated into her platform as a candidate for the House of Delegates.
Since taking office in January, Roem has held 10 town hall events in Prince William County this year, as well as several one-on-one meetings with constituents.
In a statement, Roem thanked local readers for their trust in her and said she was “humbled” to be recognized for her work in Richmond.
“The message I hope the readers of the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times send locally is the best way to serve the people is through inclusive leadership that unites our community,” Roem said. “That is leadership focused on constituent service, improving our quality of life and remembering that as elected officials, we serve our constituents regardless of their inherent identifiers.
“To me, the best way I can do that is by focusing on the universal issues my constituents face: traffic, jobs, schools, health care, land use, infrastructure, the environment and equality. That’s why every bill I introduced to the House of Delegates this year as the chief patron came as a result of either constituent service requests or the government accountability platform I promised the people I would deliver for them when I told them I would bring a reporter’s eye to Richmond.
“Nationally, I hope people recognize that if you’re an elected official who is transgender, you can be your authentic self and do a good job serving the people you represent by staying in touch with your community and doing your best to improve your constituents’ quality of life.
“The bottom line is that if you’re well-qualified and you have good ideas, bring your ideas to the table and run for office because of who you are: no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, if you do, or who you love. This is your America, too, and it’s time for you to run it.”