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West Virginia Just Elected its First Openly Transgender Official

Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on the Wheeling City Council.

Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on a City Council in West Virigina, making her the first openly transgender elected official in West Virginia (KKetchum for Council/Facebook).

By Leah Asmelash, CNN

Rosemary Ketchum won a seat on a City Council in West Virginia, making her the first openly transgender elected official in the state.

Ketchum, 26, was elected to the Wheeling City Council, after running on a platform addressing affordable housing and opioid addiction.

“I am incredibly grateful to get the opportunity to represent my city,” Ketchum said in a statement to CNN. “I hope that this election helps us push the needle in West Virginia so that we can fully embrace the power of culture, diversity, and representation in politics. I ran for office because I believe the job of an elected official is to reflect the values of their community in the actions of their leadership and that is why I am excited to serve.”

Ketchum has served on the board of ACLU West Virginia and is a member of Wheeling’s Human Rights Commission. She is also the associate director of NAMI of Greater Wheeling, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Her victory was praised by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which tweeted “HISTORY MADE” following the news. Ketchum will be one out of just 27 openly trans elected officials in the entire country, according to the Victory Fund.

GLAAD, a non-profit dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues, also congratulated Ketchum on Twitter.

“I feel excited to represent inclusivity,” she told The Intelligencer in June of 2019, “but I’m not making my campaign about my gender identity or anything like that. We have too many systemic problems we have to address.”

Ketchum, who announced her candidacy last year, has lived in Wheeling for about a decade.

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