Metro Weekly

HRC Press Secretary Sarah McBride is running for Delaware State Senate

If successful, McBride would become America's first openly transgender state senator

Sarah McBride, Photo by Julian Vankim

Sarah McBride, an LGBTQ activist who currently serves as the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, has announced she is running for a seat in the Delaware State Senate in 2020.

McBride, a Wilmington Highlands resident, is seeking the 1st Senate District seat currently held by Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North), who recently announced he would retire at the end of his current term, capping a 44-year-long career in elected office. The district covers parts of Wilmington, Bellefonte, and Claymont.

“I’ve spent my life fighting for people to have dignity, peace of mind, and a fair shot at staying afloat and getting ahead,” McBride said in a statement released by her campaign. “Sen. McDowell’s retirement at the end of this term is a well-deserved cap on a remarkable career of public service, and now our neighbors need someone who will continue to fight for them.”

If elected, McBride would become the first openly transgender state senator in the nation, continuing the trend of successful transgender legislative candidates over the past two years, starting with the election of Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) in Virginia in 2017 and followed in 2018 by the victories of Colorado State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) and New Hampshire State Reps. Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth) and Lisa Bunker (D-Exeter).

McBride announced her candidacy in a video sent to friends and supporters on Tuesday, and later shared to her Facebook page.

“From Philly Pike to Rockford Park, this community has always shown that even the smallest places are big enough for everyone. But our neighbors still need people who will fight for them,” McBride said in her video message.

“Right now, a father in Bellefonte is worrying about his daughter’s struggle with addiction and wondering where she’s going to get treatment. A working mother in Claymont is deciding whether to give up a day’s wages to stay home with a sick child. A woman in Wilmington is putting her retirement on hold because she can’t afford her husband’s chemotherapy. We can meet these challenges, but it will take big ideas and the courage to act.”

McBride, a former Metro Weekly Next Generation Award winner, has long been active in politics, co-founding a statewide high school young Democrats organization and working for the campaigns of former Gov. Jack Markell and the late Attorney General Beau Biden. While she was in college, McBride interned at the Obama White House.

In 2013, she joined the board of directors for Equality Delaware and became a leading advocate for successful passage of legislation protecting transgender and nonbinary residents from discrimination.

For those efforts, then-Gov. Markell awarded her the Order of the First State, making her one of the youngest Delawareans to earn the state’s highest civilian honor.

In 2016, as national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, she spoke at the 2016 Democratic Convention on behalf of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, becoming the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention.

While McBride is campaigning, she will be moving to a part-time role with HRC. If successful, she would then leave that position and become a full-time state senator, a campaign spokesman confirmed.

Watch McBride’s announcement video below:

I'm in

I’ve spent my life standing up so that people can have dignity, peace of mind, and a fair shot at staying afloat and getting ahead. Our neighbors still need someone to fight for them. That's why I'm running for State Senate. http://bit.ly/2JzUPU6

Posted by Sarah McBride on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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