I'm a trans woman, but that's not why I'm running for office
© Michael Herrera/Misty for Congress

What an election cycle! The GOP had a presidential field large enough fill a team in several professional sports. The Democrats expected to hold a coronation but were interrupted by a political revolution. The media turned into reality TV on a grand scale as Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE dominated the airwaves and felled one opponent after another to capture the delegates required to secure the GOP nomination.


On the Democratic side, the presumptive nominee has been plagued by scandal after scandal, seemingly only having a chance to breathe when Trump captures the spotlight by saying things that would end any other politician's career.

Then on Tuesday, June 28, history was made. Twice.

Two openly trans women named "Misty" won their primary races for federal office in conservative areas. I happen to be the one in Colorado.

Never before has an openly trans person won a race for federal office, including a primary race. Then on a single night, two did just that. Not only did we make history, but we turned conventional wisdom on its head.

I reject the notion that my race was won because voters thought "There's no chance of winning anyway, so might as well make a symbolic vote." Talk to people here who voted for me and you won't get that answer.

I won my race on issues, not because I'm trans.

Regardless of how the election turns out in November, a meaningful impact has already been made by my candidacy. I have received letter after letter from trans people across the country who are inspired by my run. It gives them hope in this hostile world that they, too, can succeed and are not condemned to a life of misery simply because of their sexuality.

Growing up, it took a long time before I could articulate who I was, or had a word for it. Outside of Jerry Springer shows, there were no examples of gender-nonconforming people. There were no role models. There was no indication that there were other people like me.

If nothing else comes from my run for office, I am happy it has brought hope to others like myself who may be questioning — or perhaps already know — who they are. While this is history in the making, the fact I am a trans woman is not why I am running, nor is it what I have made the focus of my campaign.

My decision to run has been a long one. There was no single thing that spurred me to run, but rather a series of events which swept me inexorably into this crazy election cycle. Essentially, it all comes down to the realization of a simple truth: I cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Religious rights, civil rights, gun rights, voting rights, property rights, national sovereignty — everything that this country is supposed to stand for, as well as the people in it, have been sold out time after time by our elected officials.

We vote and hold elections to bring about change, but if any change does come, it seems as though it is always for the worse. We decried the evils of the Patriot Act and the limitless surveillance in defiance of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. During the George W. Bush years, many of us blamed Republicans for this egregious infringement on our rights. Then Democrats came into power and not only renewed the Patriot Act, but expanded it as well.

Republicans were blamed for endless conflict and war during the Bush years. When President Obama was elected, there was great joy among some and hope that he would bring peace. He even won a Nobel Peace Prize before even acting on anything. Some American worried that he would be a dove, weak on national defense.

Then he promptly escalated two major conflicts and showed he was a hawk.

All too often in politics, there is a sense of "when my side does something it is just and right, but when the other side does the same thing it is horrible and wrong."

For almost two decades we have denounced trade deals that have sold out the American people. These disastrous trade agreements have devastated working people while huge multinational companies make record profits year after year as jobs are exported to countries with exploitatively cheap labor. Support for these deals among our elected leaders are not limited to a single party.

Consider, for example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), simply the latest such atrocity.

Article VI, Section 2 of our Constitution states the following:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The TPP establishes secret tribunals where corporations — corporations — can sue governments for laws or policies which may endanger potential future profits. As a veteran, I find this egregiously offensive. I didn't enlist in the U.S. Army and take an oath to defend our Constitution only to watch our elected officials trample it, or place corporate profits above our Constitution.

This is something both the hard left and the hard right agree on. How often does that happen? How often do the political extremes of this country look at an issue and denounce it together? Yet if you look at the actions in the House and Senate, it becomes immediately apparent whose side our elected officials are on, and it isn't ours.

Even here in Colorado's 5th Congressional District, the seat currently held by Doug Lamborn (R) and which I am attempting to win, the TPP is gravely unpopular. Lamborn has been quoted numerous times as blasting Obama for the TPP; however, when it came time for the House to vote on fast-track authority for it, Lamborn supported it!

The people's voice has been lost. It has been replaced by the endless squabbling of partisan hacks concerned only with their own power and pocketbook.

Now, I want to bring the voice of the people back into our government. Our government should represent us and serve us, not the other way around. Our problems are not insurmountable, but to address them we must summon the political will and courage to throw out our elected officials who have forgotten who they serve. 

That is why I am running.

Plowright is the Democratic candidate in Colorado's 5th Congressional District.