The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, D.C.’s largest local LGBT political group, honored Virginia House of Delegates member Danica Roem (D-Manassas) on Monday night by presenting her with its Justice Award at the club’s annual holiday party.
Roem became the first transgender person to take office in the Virginia General Assembly on Jan. 5 following her November 2017 election. She thanked the Stein Club for its support of her campaign last year and invited club members to get involved in her 2019 re-election campaign.
She told the Blade she will be running for a second two-year term in the House of Delegates on what she believes was a strong record of accomplishment during her first year in office.
Just this week, she said, commuter bus service began for the first time ever in parts of her district that include Haymarket and Gainesville, a development she pledged to work for as part of her election campaign platform calling for improved transportation in Northern Virginia.
“I voted to secure the funding for that,” she said. “And I was part of the bipartisan coalition that got it done.” Roem noted that the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority in June also allocated $120 million for improvements for Route 28, an important commuter artery in her district.
“So we’re getting stuff done. And I’m running on my record. I’m unapologetically running on my record,” she said. “And while I’m doing it, I’m still myself. It’s like that’s never going to change. And I’m still a champion for equality. I’m still a champion for inclusivity.”
The Stein Club’s president-elect, Monika Nemeth, said Roem was an inspiration to her when she ran and won election in November to a seat on D.C.’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Ward 3, becoming the first known transgender person to be elected to an ANC position in the city.
Nemeth will succeed gay Democratic activist Earl Fowlkes as the Stein Club president in January. She pointed out that while there are no scheduled local elections for public office in D.C. in 2019, important elections for the Virginia Legislature will take place that year. She said she will push for the Stein Club and its members to visit Roem’s district early in the year to volunteer for her campaign.
At the Stein Club’s holiday party Monday night, Fowlkes presented the club’s Frank Kameny Pioneer Award named after the late D.C. gay rights leader Frank Kameny to Nemeth for what Fowlkes said was her pioneering and successful efforts to run for public office in D.C. as an out transgender woman.
The club presented its Desi Deschaine Young Democrat of the Year Award to Matthew Abbruzzese, the newly elected Stein Club secretary, among other things, for his campaign work for D.C. Democratic candidates over the past several years.