President Biden has endorsed Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (D), the first out trans person elected to any state legislature, in her bid for re-election.
Ahead of the state’s upcoming elections, Biden tweeted out an endorsement for a group of 21 candidates that included Roem.
“Building back better starts in the states,” he wrote. “Since flipping the legislature in 2019, Virginia Democrats have been a model of progress—including helping us vaccinate folks to beat the pandemic.”
In 2019, Democrats took control of the Virginia state legislature for the first time in 26 years. Since then they have worked quickly to pass a slew of progressive legislation, including several LGBTQ rights bills.
Among other legislation, the state banned conversion therapy for minors, became the first Southern state to add LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections, and increased protections for transgender students.
Roem was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 when she defeated her opponent, Bob Marshall, who was so conservative that he called himself the state’s “chief homophobe.”
In 2019, Roem ran for reelection against Republican Kelly McGinn, focusing her campaign on her accomplishments in health care, education, and transportation.
During the campaign, she faced intense anti-LGBTQ attacks.
Organizations that supported McGinn ran ads that brought up Roem’s identity, referring to her support for an anti-discrimination health care law as a measure to “force all insurance companies to pay for harmful and unnecessary ‘gender transition’ surgeries” – the point, critics said, to bring up gender affirmation surgery in reference to Roem herself.
But Roem emerged victorious and became the first out trans person to be reelected to a state legislature.
This time around, she is yet again facing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Her opponent, Republican Christopher Stone, is opposed to marriage equality and adoption rights for LGBTQ couples. He has also voiced support for religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.
But Roem feels confident in her campaign.
“If you are exclusionary like my challenger, then you are going to lose,” she said, according to the Washington Blade. “The people of the 13th district aren’t putting up with this anymore.”
Roem is known for her role in expanding Medicaid, as well as passing LGBTQ equality bills and legislation to help feed hungry kids.
In his tweet endorsing Roem, Biden also emphasized his endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D), who is running against Republican Glenn Youngkin. Biden wrote that we must elect McAuliffe “to keep our progress,” along with “Democrats up and down the ballot.”
Building back better starts in the states. Since flipping the legislature in 2019, Virginia Democrats have been a model of progress—including helping us vaccinate folks to beat the pandemic. To keep our progress, we must elect @TerryMcAuliffe and Democrats up and down the ballot. pic.twitter.com/NsJiiPNzlv
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 19, 2021