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Kansas poised to elect its first openly transgender lawmaker

Kansas Capitol
Posted at 1:05 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 14:06:00-04

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. — A retired music teacher would become the first openly transgender member of the deeply conservative Kansas Legislature if she’s elected from a Democratic-leaning district she’s expected to win in November.

Stephanie Byers, of Wichita, would join the ranks of other transgender people who have served in legislatures in other states, including four who currently hold such office in New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia.

Byers advanced to the general election after running unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

The 57-year-old faces Republican Cyndi Howerton for the seat being vacated by Democratic state Rep. Jim Ward, who is running for state Senate.

The district previously backed President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.