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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Opinion
Walters: Hallquist Launches Vermont Gubernatorial Campaign

Posted By on Sun, Apr 8, 2018 at 10:17 PM

Christine Hallquist - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • Christine Hallquist
“My name is Christine Hallquist, and I’m running to be the governor of Vermont!”

Usually such a formality passes without notice, but on Sunday afternoon it marked a historic moment. Former utility executive Christine Hallquist became the first openly transgender candidate with a legitimate chance to capture a major party’s gubernatorial nomination.

The Hyde Park Democrat is a former CEO of the Vermont Electric Co-op, which serves much of northern Vermont. She's competing with Lake Champlain International executive director James Ehlers and eighth-grader Ethan Sonneborn for her party's nomination to challenge first-term Republican Gov. Phil Scott this November.

Hallquist chose an unusual venue for her campaign kickoff event — not in Burlington or Montpelier, but at Moog’s Place, a bar and music venue in the heart of Morrisville. The long, narrow room was short on glitz and glamor, and made for very close quarters. The dress code was Vermont rural: heavy on flannel, fleece and denim. The candidate herself may have been the only person in the room wearing a dress.

The crowd included fewer politicos than members of the Hallquist family. Two of her children, Derek and Jillian Hallquist, were among the speakers at the low-key affair. Derek, who directed and produced Denial, a documentary film about Christine’s very public gender transition, spent most of the afternoon holding his 2.5-year-old daughter, Maggie — or chasing her around the room.

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