LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser) — It was Saturday night and Peyton Rose Michelle was doing everything she could to ignore election results until the following morning.
But as she sat on her bed and glanced at her phone, she saw hundreds of notifications, which could only mean one thing.
“I just made history,” she said.
Michelle had just become the first openly transgender woman elected to a Louisiana political position.
The 22-year-old won her seat with the Democratic State Central Committee for the 46th District A, which represents St. Martin, Iberia, and St. Landry Parishes. She beat out her opponent 614 to 304 votes.
Paperwork, platform, and position
The last day of qualifying for the seat, she got a call from a friend asking if she wanted to apply. At the time, the position was unopposed and Michelle was on the board for two political nonprofits that support the LGBTQ+ community, so she had the know-how and drive.
In Louisiana, District seats have an A and B position, one for women and one for men. The last day of qualifying, Michelle spent hours going back and forth from the clerk of court in Breaux Bridge to voter registration in St. Martinville because she had not changed the gender marker on her license.
After she called a lawyer friend, a judge signed the papers needed to run. By this time, someone else had joined the race, so Michelle had to create a campaign.
She decided to stick with social media as her main source of campaigning — no need to go door to door with COVID-19.
Her platform centered around anti-racism and government accountability. The message resonated, with more voters showing up to fill out ballots on her behalf than were placed for the 46th District A seat altogether the previous election.
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