Meet the People Making 2017 the Year of the Trans Candidate

04 Kristen Browde

Kristen Browde, New Castle Town Supervisor

Kristen Browde could also win the distinction of being the first trans elected official in New York State. She is running for town supervisor, a position equivalent to mayor, in New Castle, located in New York’s Westchester County. A Democrat, she will face Republican incumbent Robert Greenstein in November.

Browde says she knows her trans status makes headlines — she transitioned last year — but it is less important than how she’ll govern. “Yeah, people are going to be focused on that, but I’ve got to tell you this: My gender isn’t going to balance the budget,” she told local paper The Journal News in April. “My gender isn’t going to fill a pothole or get the streets plowed of snow. My gender isn’t really going to be the factor that makes people’s lives in New Castle better. But what I do in office? That will.” Browde said her priorities include enhancing local public schools; one of her two sons is a student there.

But she won’t shove her trans indentity into the background either. “People say, why can’t you just be quiet and blend into society and nobody’s going to know that you’re trans, and that’s probably true,” she told The Journal News. “But a friend of mine put it greatly, and it’s a line that I use all of the time. It’s that I don’t hide my past, because in not hiding my past, I might help someone else to not hide their future.”

Another thing that will make headlines is that if she wins, she will have two very famous constituents — Hillary and Bill Clinton. Chappaqua, where they live, is a “hamlet” within the boundaries of New Castle. Browde leads a Democratic slate, which also includes Town Board candidates Ivy Pool and Gail Merkels, called Up2Us; it grew out of Chappaqua Friends of Hillary. Browde campaigned for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.

Browde is an attorney and former CBS News reporter and anchor who won Emmys and other plaudits as a journalist. She moved to New Castle in 2004 and served as secretary of the town’s Board of Ethics from its inception, resigning earlier this year when she agreed to run for office. She still serves both on the Chappaqua Central School District’s Financial Advisory Committee and the town’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

She is a member of the board of trustees of the AFTRA Pension Fund, serving on its investment committee, a member of the board of directors of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, and a founding member of the Transgender Bar Association.

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