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N.H. transgender state rep to resign due to flap over prior felony convictions

Saturday, December 1, 2012
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NASHUA, N.H. — Newly elected State Representative Stacie Laughton, one of the nation’s first openly transgender state officials, ceremoniously signed her letter of resignation Thursday on a cable access show hosted by fellow Democrat and friend, State Rep. Ken Gidge.

Laughton’s decision follows nearly two weeks of controversy after it was disclosed that she had three felony convictions in 2008 for credit card fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Stacie Laughton

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At the time, Laughton was known as Barry Charles Laughton and served four and a half months in prison. Much of Laughton’s sentence was suspended pending 10 years of good behavior.

On Tuesday, Laughton said she would step down, but just one day later said she was reconsidering and that is was her “intention to take the office that I was elected to.”

Laughton said that her final decision would be based on the finding of the Attorney General’s Office, which is reviewing the language in the law that states whether convicted felons are eligible to run for office.

At issue was the term “final discharge,” as it applied to two suspended sentences which Laughton did not have to serve time for. According to the Attorney General’s Office, as of Friday, Brown had not rendered a decision.

Now Laughton says that she just wants to move past it all.

“I never once believed I’d done anything wrong in this process. I believed – and still do – that I had satisfied the requirements of the corrections department, or I wouldn’t have run in the first place,” Laughton said.

“I believed that once you finish your probation and parole, you are all done. I really just wanted the chance to get on with my life and serve the people,” Laughton added.

She said that she would like to run for office again because she feels called to public service.

“I lived for a lot of years in the darkness of who I was. For a lot of years, I believe I was acting out because of not being honest with my self or other people about who I really was, or my gender identification,” Laughton said.

“After I got out of prison I felt like it was a new start for me. I began my transformation, from who I had been for all those years, to who I really was,” she added. “And ever since that that day, I do something every day to try to better myself, or help someone else. I am trying to be the best person I can be, and put the past behind me, once and for all.”

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