Democrats Declare Victory In Race That Will Seat First Transgender Colorado Legislator

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Photo: Brianna Titone
Brianna Titone has claimed victory in the race to be the state representative for Colorado House District 27. She would become the state's first trans lawmaker.

Published: Nov. 9 | Updated: Nov. 10

Just days after Colorado Democrats cinched control statewide on election night, the party claimed another victory and another first.

Brianna Titone declared herself the winner of the race to represent House District 27 in Arvada on Friday. Her opponent, Republican Vicki Pyne, conceded on Saturday.

Titone became Colorado's first transgender lawmaker, and one of the first nationwide.

Titone said she didn't focus on her gender identity while campaigning. But in a political climate with a federal administration that has sought to roll back protections for transgender people, Titone does acknowledge that her win is meaningful.

"It’s significant in the fact that we’re really trying to further acceptance and equality for people like me," she said. "With the federal government trying to put people like me under their foot, this is a really significant win."

Titone said she has something to add to the trending slogan for trans rights, We Will Not Be Erased.

"But we will be elected," she quipped.

In office, Titone would rather focus on the issue she said she heard most about on the campaign trail: education funding.

"It’s really unfortunate that [Amendment] 73 didn’t pass, because I thought that would’ve helped," she said.

The race for Colorado's House District 27 opened up significantly when Republican Lang Sias vacated the seat to run for lieutenant governor on Walker Stapleton's ticket. When that happened in July, Pyne stepped in for Republicans, but Titone said the last-minute switch has benefited her candidacy.

"Having an opponent that didn’t have a lot of time to run is an advantage, and not running against an incumbent in general is an advantage," Titone said.

The Democratic dominance in Colorado's executive branch and state Capitol brings opportunities and challenges for her party, and for Titone herself if the result holds in her district. Titone said it's important to work across the aisle.

"We have a pendulum in government that always swings left and right. I think we’re smart enough and know enough about history to know that if you do push the limit too far, that the pendulum swings the other way a lot faster," she said.

Coming out and transitioning has helped her build a tough skin, but so did her experiences as a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter and, later, seven years of service as a junior firefighter, Titone said.

"Building up that thick skin of courage really helped me develop that courage to do what I do now, but my whole entire life has been pushing the limits of my abilities," she said. "I understand what taking a risk is, and deliberately putting myself into harm's way for someone else, for the greater good."