(WM) Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on the Wheeling City Council in West Virginia on June 9, becoming the state’s first openly transgender elected official.
Ketchum announced her candidacy last year, noting that while she was excited to represent inclusivity that her campaign was not about her gender identity. Her platform addressed infrastructure, addition, affordable housing and more.
Ketchum bested three other candidates seeking to represent Wheeling City Council’s third ward, receiving nearly 40% of the vote according to local reports. She served as the associate director of NAMI of Great Wheeling, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and was also a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission and on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia.
“We can no longer afford to play business as usual,” Ketchum’s website reads. “The job of an elected official is more than a shiny nameplate or a news headline. It is the work of service and a commitment to reflecting the values of your community in the actions of your leadership. I believe in the power and potential of our great city and cannot wait to continue building relationships and making change as your Ward 3 City representative.”
Ketchum was endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to achieve LGBTQ equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government. President and CEO Mayor Annise Parker celebrated her victory in a press release.
“Rosemary has shattered a lavender ceiling in West Virginia and will join the growing number of out trans elected officials serving nationwide,” she said. “Trans people are severely underrepresented in elected office – with just 26 out trans officials anywhere in the country – so Rosemary’s victory will resonate well beyond her state.
“We know Rosemary’s race will inspire other trans people from conservative states to consider a run for office in their communities – and then those candidates will inspire others as well,” she continued. “That virtuous cycle is the key to building trans acceptance and political power long-term.”