BEREA, Ky. — A central Kentucky woman is making history as the state's first transgender elected official.
Rebecca Blankenship says she noticed only two candidates filled for three seats on the Berea Independent School District board, with nobody else willing to be the third candidate. Before the race, Blankenship was thinking like any mom and wanted her children to have a great school board. Believe it or not, it’s something she says she never intended to run for, let alone be a historic win. But she knew she needed to when nobody else stepped up to the plate.
“I’m grateful for my community. I’ve always known that it was a great community, but to be embraced like this is more than I had any right to expect. I feel grateful,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship will serve as a member of the Berea Independent School District, and also made history as Kentucky’s first transgender elected official. The mom of seven says she won 90% of the write-in votes and she’s wasting no time getting to work.
“I’m focused on making sure teachers can be paid fairly and they can receive the best pay that is available to retain them. To improve access to vocational education. Also, I think that we need to be focused on things like communication and transparency. It’s really important that parents and kids get access to every resource available,” said Blankenship.
This isn’t the first time Blankenship has organized for change; she currently serves as the executive director of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky and the communication director for State Representative Pam Stevenson’s campaign for Attorney General. Blankenship explains organizing for change is not a job; it’s a lifestyle for her and many people in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I think they’re a lot of LGBT people out in Kentucky that are brilliant, that are kind and ready to step up into these roles of visible leadership. They just need to see if it’s possible for them. Well, let this be your evidence,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship’s seat on the school board is a four-year term. Anyone looking to attend the next Berea Independent School District board meeting can do so at the Central Office on Jan. 17 at 5:30p.m.