News (USA)

Openly transgender lawmaker may not resign, despite felony conviction

Openly transgender lawmaker may not resign, despite felony conviction

Stacie Laughton, one of the nation’s first openly transgender state officials, said Wednesday she was reconsidering her previously announced resignation, and may not relinquish her seat in the New Hampshire House, despite pressure over a previously undisclosed conviction for credit card fraud.

Stacie Laughton

On Tuesday, State Rep.-elect Laughton said she would step down because of three felony convictions in 2008 for credit card fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

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

“I’m reconsidering and I’m seeking the advice of professionals and through social media,” Laughton said Wednesday, reversing her decision to resign. “It’s my intention to take the office that I was elected to.”

Laughton said her final decision will be based on the finding of the Attorney General’s Office, which is reviewing the wordage in the law that states whether convicted felons are eligible to run for office, according to the New Hampshire Union-Leader.

Laughton completed parole in November 2010, but the required “10 years of good behavior” has caused a dispute as to whether Laughton was legally eligible to seek office.

Under New Hampshire state law, a person sentenced for a felony, for the period between sentencing and “final discharge,” may not vote or run for public office. Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron said in most states “final discharge” means completion of imprisonment, probation, or parole.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Brown said Tuesday that Laughton’s eligibility to run and serve in public office is under review.

Laughton, a Nashua selectman, was elected Nov. 6 to represent portions of Nashua, the state’s second largest city located on the Massachusetts border in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. She and two other Democrats defeated two Republicans who had also ran.

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