After 20 years in Army and six as a Navy SEAL, Kristin Beck has taken on a new mission: running for Congress.
"The professional politicians ... sometimes they kind of lose touch," she told Thomas Roberts late last month on his Out There, the out anchor's program on MSNBC's digital network, Shift. "Who am I? I'm just one of the people."
If elected, she would be the first openly transgender person in Congress. Beck came out as trans in 2013, as detailed in her book, Warrior Princess.
Although she's new to politics, Beck has no shortage of military credentials, from a Purple Heart, to a Bronze Star, and a Presidential Unit Citation, among other awards.
But she has her work cut out for her in challenging Representative Steny Hoyer for Maryland's Fifth Congressional District. Hoyer's held the seat since 1981, and his last challenger only received 15 percent of the vote. Hoyer has also been a supporter of marriage equality ever since his daughter came out as a lesbian in 2012.
For now, Beck's campaign is still in its infancy, with volunteer staffers a minimal web presence. She plans to focus on jobs, environment, education, and energy, while also criticizing Hoyer's economic policies. Beck emphasized that although she's a relatively new resident of Maryland, she has family in the state and has visited frequently for years.
Despite Hoyer's general popularity, Beck hopes to bring a new spirit of cooperation to Congress. “For the last two or three years I have been watching Congress very closely, and the reality is that the whole process has broken down and our representatives have simply dug in their heels,” she said.
Watch Beck's appearance on Thomas Roberts' Shift by MSNBC show Out There below: