West Virginia city elects first out transgender public official

West Virginia city elects first out transgender public official
© Rosemary Ketchum Campaign

Voters of a West Virginia city on Tuesday elected the state's first out transgender public official, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on the Wheeling City Council, according to the organization. 

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register reported that Ketchum beat out three other candidates for a seat representing the third Ward in the city.  

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After her win, Ketchum said she was “excited to fulfill the promises I made and work for the third ward and the entire city of Wheeling,” the local paper reported.

Ketchum campaigned on affordable housing, fighting the opioid crisis, investing in infrastructure and renewable energy, among other issues. 

The LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to helping elect LGBTQ officials in the country, said that less than 30 out transgender officials hold elected office in the country at this time.

“When Ketchum takes office, there will be just four out LGBTQ elected officials in all of West Virginia,” the group, which had also endorsed Ketchum in the race, said in a statement on Thursday.

Annise Parker, who serves as president of the group, said Ketchum’s recent win “shattered a lavender ceiling in West Virginia” and “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. That virtuous cycle is the key to building trans acceptance and political power long-term,” Parker added in a statement on Thursday.  

Prior to launching her bid last year, Ketchum also served as associate director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Wheeling and is a “member of the Wheeling Human Rights Commission and the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia,” according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.