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Meet the first out transgender WV politician

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Countdown to the Big Game on WOWK
February 07 2021 06:00 pm

Wheeling, WV (WTRF) Rosemary Ketchum has been declared the winner of the Third Ward of Wheeling City Council. 

And with less than 24 hours holding the new title, Ketchum has gained national fame today for reasons that extend past her newly elected seat in the friendly city. 

Ketchum is the first out transgender woman to be elected in the state of West Virginia. She takes a spot among only one of 27 in the whole country. 

But with her one year campaign for re-election, the topic of her identity is not the chosen focal point. Instead, she says it should be about what the Third Ward deems important. 

To make criticisms about the promises I’ve made or the positions that I hold, that’s fair game. But you know, talking about a person’s identity is incredibly vulnerable. And, I don’t think we have a space for that.

Rosemary Ketchum, Newly-elected Third Ward councilwoman

Rosemary defeated three other candidates for the Third Ward seat; with her platform to tackle homelessness and vacant properties in Wheeling. 

But while 99% of the people in the Friendly city have been friendly; she says with 26 years being transgender in West Virginia, it builds thick skin.

You never anticipate going viral. However, I feel really good about it. The response has been incredible. And, one of the things I am most proud of is that we are really beating back the stigma that people hold for the folks of West Virginia.

Rosemary Ketchum, Newly-elected Third Ward councilwoman

And improving West Virginia is exactly her goal. The councilwoman says the Wheeling-feeling is on the right tack for diversity. And as she takes a seat among council, she has been received with open arms. 

Ketchum will begin representing her ward on July 1.

She says it’s all still setting in. 

Click here to check Your Local Election HQ West Virginia primary results.

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