The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Rob Langrell

Color, gender don't matter on Election Day


November 12, 2017

Historic firsts took place all across the United States last week.

As voters in scores of states — but not New Mexico — headed to the polls last Tuesday for the first regularly scheduled Election Day since President Trump won the presidency, many of the outcomes showed the ever-changing fabric of our country.

A transgender woman, a Sikh man and openly gay people all posted victories in their respective races from coast to coast. We’ve changed so much in society that newspapers and TV stations across the U.S. led with many of these “stories.”

To recap, here are several interesting results:

• Virginia voters elected Danica Roem, the first openly transgender candidate to a state legislature.

• Also in Virginia, Kathy Tran was elected the first Asian-American woman to that state’s House of Delegates.

• Voters in a ward in Minneapolis elected Andrea Jenkins, the first openly transgender person of color to public office.

• Just to the east in St. Paul, Minnesota, Melvin Carter III was elected the city’s first black mayor.

• Constituents in Hoboken, New Jersey, selected the state’s first Sikh mayor in Ravinder Bhalla.

• Voters in Helena, Montana, chose the state capital’s first black mayor in Wilmot Collins.

• The voters in New Hampshire’s largest city — Manchester — selected their first female mayor in Joyce Craig.

• In Washington, voters in Seattle seated their first lesbian mayor in Jenny Durkan.

• Meanwhile, Seattle voters also chose Zachary DeWolf, making him the first openly gay school board member in that city.

• Voters in conservative Provo, Utah, elected the city’s first female mayor in Michelle Kaufusi.

• Vi Lyles was elected mayor in Charlotte, North Carolina, giving her the distinction of being the city’s first black, female mayor.

• Not too far away from there, but in three much smaller locales, the towns of Statesboro and Cairo in Georgia and Georgetown, South Carolina, voters selected their first black mayors in Jonathan McCollar, Booker Gainor and Brendon Barber, respectively. That was the same day Milledgeville, Georgia, elected Mary Parham-Copelan by a mere six votes as its first female mayor.

We live in a different world nowadays. And it’s not a bad thing.

Decades ago, candidates never felt the need to disclose whether they were gay or transgender while on the campaign trail. Furthermore, it struck me as wildly odd that so many towns and cities in the South had never elected a black man or woman as their mayor.

Today, candidates choose to tell their voters more about themselves than ever before. Agree or disagree, that’s the “new” nature of the political structure.

You may be thinking that results like that would never happen here. We’ll have to see in the future just how loudly the New Mexico voters will speak.

Remember, different isn’t always bad.

Rob Langrell is the publisher of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:


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