Olivia Harvey
Updated Nov 08, 2017 @ 11:20 am

You may have woken up this morning to see your social media feeds flooded with the name Danica Roem. Who is this new national celebrity and why has she become a household name? Danica Roem is Virgina’s first openly transgender elected official. Yesterday, she won the 13th District seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

And Roem’s win is even more significant because she ran against openly anti-LGBTQ+ candidate Robert Marshall, who has served in Virginia’s House of Delegates since 1992.

Marshall, a conservative Republican, has been known to refer to himself as the state’s “chief homophobe” and was responsible for introducing the infamous “bathroom bill” earlier this year, which if passed, would have required people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate.

But Roem was dedicated to the people of Prince William County, Virginia. She raised over $500,000 in donations, and went door-to-door campaigning, participated in interviews, and kept up a relentless social media presence — all while wearing a rainbow headscarf to pay homage to her LGBTQ+ community. Her hard work, consistency, and persistence paid off in a big way. Roem slid into the 13th District seat Tuesday night with almost 2,000 more votes than her Republican opponent.

Credit: Getty Images / Jahi Chikwendiu / for The Washington Post

Before she decided to delve into politics, Roem was a seasoned journalist. She previously wrote for the Gainesville Times, the Prince William Times, and the Montgomery County Sentinel in Rockville, Maryland.She started her journalism career directly after graduating from St. Bonaventure University.

In 2013, she began hormone replacement therapy, and in 2015 legally changed her name, gender, and byline at the Sentinel. In her website’s biography, Roem wrote,

Credit: Getty Images / J. Lawler Duggan / For The Washington Post

Roem covered anything and everything at the local Prince William County newspaper — high school sports games, homelessness, crime, business, and transportation. But it was the issue of transportation that irked Roem enough to run for state legislature.

She credits her 10-plus years of experience as a news reporter for being a worthy candidate for office. Roem wrote on her site,

Credit: Getty Images / PAUL J. RICHARDS/ AFP

Now that she’s in office, Roem’s main goal is to fix the ever-problematic Route 28 in Prince William County. She’s ecstatic about what her win means for inclusion and LGBTQ+ progress in Virginia, but her focus will be on working on the issues she reported on as a local journalist — the main one being infrastructure.

This is the kind of progress we like to wake up to.