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Andrea Jenkins Becomes First Trans Woman of Color Elected to Public Office

Minneapolis City Council member Andrea Jenkins (photo: andreajenkinsforward8.org)
Andrea Jenkins has made history by winning a seat on the Minneapolis City Council, making her the first openly transgender woman of color to be elected to public office in the United States.

Jenkins won the city’s Ward 8 seat by a 73% margin, defeating three other candidates. “I’m feeling elated. Ecstatic. Extraordinarily happy right now,” Jenkins told the Star Tribune at her election night victory party. “I’m really, really deeply proud of my community.”

Having served 12 years as a policy aide to former Ward 8 council member Elizabeth Glidden, Jenkins is also a historian with the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota as well as a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She has campaigned on raising the minimum wage, making housing more affordable, addressing youth violence and supporting minority artists.

A second transgender candidate for the Minneapolis City Council, Phillipe Cunningham, is narrowly losing to Incumbent Council President Barb Johnson in Ward 4 by only 119 votes (2.2%), however the race has not yet been officially called. Cunningham is a senior policy aide for Mayor Betsy Hodges and former youth development professional, who despite his possible narrow defeat, appears to have a bright future in politics.

It was a historic election night for the transgender community and the United States. In addition to Jenkins’ victory, Danica Roem also became the nations first transgender state legislator by defeating Incumbent Bob Marshall in Virginia's 13th district.

Update: As of 5:30 PM Wednesday, Phillipe Cunningham has been declared the winner of the Ward 4 race after official runoff results have been counted.

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