Kansas on Tuesday was one of five
states to hold its primary.
Stephanie Byers ran unopposed to become
the Democratic nominee for House District 86, which includes parts of
Wichita. She will face Cyndi Howerton, a Republican who also ran
unopposed, in the general election. If elected to the Kansas House,
Byers would become the first openly transgender person elected to the
Byers was endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory
Fund, an organization that supports LGBT candidates.
“Stephanie has shattered a
long-standing political barrier in Kansas and is poised to join a
small but growing number of out trans state legislators across the
country,” LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Annise Parker said
in a statement. “At a time when trans people are targeted with
hateful policies and legislation by the Trump administration and in
so many state legislatures, Stephanie's race is a powerful reminder
of where our country is headed. Stephanie's victory, like every
victory for a trans candidate, will inspire more trans leaders to run
for office in their communities and that will be transformative.”
House District 86 leans heavily
Democratic, making Byers the likely winner in November. Democratic
Representative Jim Ward, who is running for the Kansas Senate, won
nearly 60 percent of the vote in 2016.
According to her online bio, Byers
recently retired after 29 years of teaching for Wichita Public
Schools. Since coming out publicly as a transgender woman, Byers has
become a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, speaking at rallies and
local community organizations.
According to the Victory Fund, 850 LGBT
candidates are running for office this year, a record high.
finds 21 percent increase in LGBT political representation.)