Published on May 30th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
Melissa Sue and American Politics
NAMPA, Idaho — 61-year-old Melissa Sue Robinson became the first openly trans person to win a U.S. state senate election last week.
“And not only did she accomplish this as a Democrat and activist, but she did this in Idaho’s district 12 during the first closed primary in the state’s history,” wrote Linda Staelens, Robinson’s Campaign Treasurer in a press release.
But according to a story titled, “Melissa Sue Robinson won’t focus on LGBT issues,” published in the Idaho Press Tribune,
Robinson said she wants voters to know that she will take her now forthcoming general election run against Nampa attorney Todd Lakey (the result of her state senate win) “seriously” and will not run on LGBT (and certainly not QPOC) issues.
“If (voters) thought my agenda was LGBT, I’d have a problem,” Robinson said to the Tribune.
Still, Robinson won as a democrat in District 12, which according to Staelens, is not only the most conservative Republican County in all of Idaho, but is home to approximately ten Mormon Churches, and Northwest Nazarene University.
“Given this, you would think that a transgender Democratic candidate would have her hands full in winning the general election against a prominent Republican attorney and former Canyon County Commissioner, Todd Lakey,” said Staelen. “But district 12 citizens seem to be tired of not having their voice heard in Idaho’s mostly Republican legislature.”
“I just think it happened because we didn’t get that much turnout,” Robinson said to the Tribune.
Robinson defeated her opponent, Maria Mabbutt by only four votes (175 to 171) and is running on a ticket that includes an attempt to get the words gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation to be added to Idaho’s Human Rights Law, an agenda that has been shot down by Idaho Republicans every time it has came before the Senate. Republicans not only won’t vote yes for the proposal, they won’t even read it before the House and Senate.
“She is among a growing number of transgender political candidates in America and hopes for her chance to win in November,” said Staelen.
When asked by the Idaho Statesmen why she was running, Ms. Robinson said it was because she wants to help.
“I want to give back to the human race what was given to me in my lifetime, and I want to make a difference before I pass on to another sprit realm,” she said.
Robinson owned a construction company in Michigan for over 10 years, earned a BA from Michigan State University when she was 44 years old, and was a supervisor in General Motors Corporation from 1998-2000. She had unsuccessful runs for Nampa mayor in 2009, until she moved to Canyon County, and for the Legislature against Nampa Republican Gary Collins in 2010, when she got 27.8 percent of the vote.