Trans, genderqueer and non-binary Democrat Tyler Titus has made history by winning the Democratic primary for county executive in Erie County, Pennsylvania.
Titus, 36, was declared the winner in the primary on Wednesday (19 May) at 4pm following a close race. They will now face Republican Brenton Davis, a construction company owner, in a November election.
If Tyler Titus beats Davis, they will become the first openly trans person to ever serve in an elected executive position.
Titus – who currently serves as president of the Erie School Board – addressed supporters outside the county’s courthouse on Wednesday after their decisive victory was announced.
“My name may have been on the ballot today, but this victory is ours,” Titus said, according to the Erie Times-News.
“This victory belongs to the working people of Erie County. This victory belongs to those who want new leadership, who believe in Erie’s future.
“Today, Erie County Democrats decided they wanted the kid from Titusville who grew up in poverty alongside 12 siblings to a logger and nurse, who knows what it’s like to struggle, knows what it’s like when systems fail but believes so deeply in what we can all be.”
Democrat Tyler Titus promised to ‘put people over profit’ if elected
On their election website, Titus identified healthcare and education as priorities if they are elected in November.
“As a mental health professional, I see every day how life-changing access to quality care can be. When you can determine life expectancy baed on the zip code where someone lives, our system is fundamentally broken,” they wrote.
“No one should have to go into debt receive the care they need. You deserve a county government that puts people over profits.”
According to the Victory Fund, an organisation that supports LGBT+ candidates running for public office, Titus’ primary win is significant for more than one reason.
In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, The Hill identified Erie County as one of “10 counties that will decide the 2020 election”. Titus’ primary win serves as an “important test” for trans candidates running in swing states, the organisation said.
“Tyler’s primary victory amplifies the disconnect between voters who are embracing qualified trans leaders and the bigoted political who attack trans people for their own perceived political gain,” said Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
“Tyler’s candidacy is a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for trans people and the general election is an important test of whether an out trans leader can win in one of the swingiest districts in America.
“While Tyler is poised to make history as the first out trans county executive in US history, their vision and agenda for Erie County is focused not on history, but on improving the lives of people in the county.”