WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman who won a city council race this week has become the first openly transgender person elected to office in the state, according to national and local advocacy groups.
Rosemary Ketchum is set to take office in July as the Wheeling City Council’s Ward 3 representative, news outlets reported.
The 26-year-old ran against three others on a platform addressing homelessness and affordable housing in the city, as well as opioid addiction and other issues, according to her campaign website.
National organizations have since celebrated her victory, including GLAAD and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which said the win would inspire other transgender people to considering running for office in their communities.
“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,” said Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Washington D.C.-based Victory Fund.
Ketchum thanked her supporters in a tweet on Wednesday and told The Intelligencer that she hopes the victory will lead to greater representation for the transgender community in politics.
“My representation means a lot,” Ketchum said. “I will be able to help others, and inspire them to run, as well.”
Ketchum currently works at the National Alliance on Mental Wellness in Wheeling, is a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, and has served on the board of the state’s American Civil Liberties Union, according to news outlets.