Hallquist makes campaign for governor official

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MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) A Vermont Democrat is hoping to make history this November. Christine Hallquist kicked off her campaign for governor Sunday afternoon.

"I'm Christine Hallquist, and I'm running to be the governor of Vermont," she told a cheering crowd in Morrisville.

It was a packed house for Hallquist's first official campaign event. The transgender woman and former CEO of the Vermont Electric Co-op, says Vermont is ready for a new chapter.

"I truly believe Vermont is ready to elect a transgender governor because I don't think Vermonters are going to look at that," Hallquist said.

If she wins, she will become the first transgender candidate to be elected governor in the United States. At her campaign kickoff, Hallquist spoke about key issues she will be focusing on, like raising the minimum wage, lowering health care costs and sparking economic development.

"I will get fiber optic to every home and business in Vermont so every Vermonter can partake in the 21st century economy," she said.

Former co-workers showed their support at Sunday's event. Val Davis worked with Hallquist for two years, and provided the tunes.

"Everybody at the co-op is empowered in ways that you just don't see in the workplace. She does not believe in top-down management, but bottom-up management and is very involved in seeing to it that everybody she works with is successful," Davis said.

Davis believes Vermonters should focus on Hallquist's leadership abilities, rather than her gender.

"I wear, what she wears, what you wear, doesn't really matter," said Davis.

Hallquist agrees, saying her positions on the issues should be the reason voters support her.

"I'm going to get elected because of my strong resume and my leadership, my bold vision and courage," Hallquist said.

Hallquist is up against two other Democrats in the August primary, environmentalist James Ehlers and 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn.