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State Sen. Sarah McBride hopes to inspire young LGBTQ leaders

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The country’s first transgender state senator is sworn in Tuesday, and she brings a progressive focus to Legislative Hall.

The first day of the new session is dedicated in large part to swearing in lawmakers. In the State Senate that included Sarah McBride, 1st District State Senator and now the highest ranking openly transgender official in the nation.


But McBride says she’s just the first of more transgender representation in state and federal government.


“My hope is that the November election and hopefully today’s swearing in helps to send a small but important message to a young LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them too and their voice matters,” McBride said.


She joins at least 6 other transgender state representatives across the country, but as a state senator, she is the highest elected transgender official in the country.


Listen to the full interview with State Sen. Sarah McBride



McBride says she spent a lot of time on the ground during her campaign, learning more about problems in her community.


“I was aware these issues existed, but when you go out and you have these conversations — and that’s really how you have to run, especially Delaware you’ve gotta talk to as many people as possible; I will be a better State Senator for the conversations I’ve had," said McBride. "And you learn about the different ways people are being left behind, you learn about the nuances and challenges that they face.”


McBride adds her immediate focus is COVID relief.


“It’s critical that we ensure that it’s not just the immediate relief that’s equitable, but that as we start to re-open, as we’re in this moment of re-imagination, that we address these structural inequities in our system, the structural shortcomings of our society,” McBride said.


She says her priorities include a $15/ hour minimum wage, universal paid family and medical leave and strengthening education funding.


And McBride backs police and criminal justice reform in the wake of the protests against racial violence last summer, supporting the “Justice for All” agenda put forward by the Black Legislative Caucus last session. 


She sees state government as the testing ground for new and progressive ideas and is confident that with a new slate of progressive legislators taking office, many of those items could be checked off this year.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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