New Jersey’s first trans woman is on the GOP ticket for State Assembly in District 15
She is a lifelong resident of Trenton and the current Chairperson of the Trenton Republican Club. And Jennifer Williams will be campaigning for your vote this November. Williams is running for State Assembly, District 15. This will be a first in New Jersey politics.
This may come as a surprise to some considering the current political climate with Trump Administration attacks on LGBTQ people. The erasure of LGBTQ people almost seems deliberate. Rachel Bergman, the co-director of the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project said, “We’ve seen a general reduction in the presence of LGBT content across the Health, Labor, Education, Housing, even the White House itself.” From the White House removing any mention of LGBTQ from it’s official site, and with the Trump Administration seeking to remove LGBTQ as a protected class, and as a protected right under the Civil Rights Act, any member of the LGBTQ community running as a Republican may come as a shock to many.
Williams is the sole Republican seeking office this fall on the District 15 Assembly ballot. The candidate is discussing issues ranging from making substance abuse treatment more available, ensuring balanced affordable housing, and tackling New Jersey’s high cost of living. “I am running to become your next Assemblyperson because soon we may be nearing the point of no return. And I’m afraid that my children will not be able to afford to stay in or return to New Jersey after they graduate from college someday,” said Williams. “Many other New Jerseyan’s share this fear for their own children or grandchildren, or for themselves. Who amongst us thought that they’d ever had to move from New Jersey to find a more secure and stable future? We must work to make New Jersey a state that people want to move to, to better their lives and fulfill their dreams for themselves and their families.”
If elected, Williams would be the first transgender Republican representative in the country representing her constituents at the State level. And she could be the first Republican to win New Jersey’s District 15 this century.
When asked “Why should the constituents of Trenton and the rest of District 15 vote for you,?” Williams said, “There simply needs to be more diverse political competition. In many instances I have been the only Transgender or LGBTQ person in the room, and even the first Transgender or LGBTQ person that some of my peers have ever met.”
Williams went on to express the importance of her and fellow LGBTQ politicians being elected and on the ticket in the Republican Party. “Visibility is important and the Republican Party doesn’t know our community that well. I can change that. In the past, Williams has attended the 2016 Republican National Convention as the first openly-transgender Delegate from New Jersey. And she attended eleven Conservative Political Action Conferences (four as an LGBTQ advocate). As a veteran to political campaigning, Williams hopes to improve the Republican Party’s performance in urban areas and their relationship with minority people.
Williams is running against Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Anthony Vernelli of the Democratic Party. Edward Weedman and Dioh Williams of the Legalize Marijuana Party are running on the ticket too for New Jersey General Assembly, District 15 on November 5, 2019.
Paraphrasing former Democratic U.S. Representative, Barney Frank, Williams said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you’re on the plate.”
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