Jessica Katzenmeyer becomes first transwoman in Wisconsin to advance past primary for state office

NOW: Jessica Katzenmeyer becomes first transwoman in Wisconsin to advance past primary for state office

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Jessica Katzenmeyer made history this week, becoming the first transgender woman in Wisconsin to advance past the primary for state office.

We're seeing a record number of transgender people running for state offices across the country. It's a time when abortion choice has been stripped, and the LGBTQ+ community fears what may be next.

"Jessica strikes me as a person who is very passionate about justice and justice for everyone," said Shelley Gregory, Forge trans advocate.

Shelley Gregory is with Milwaukee-based Forge.

"Forge is a transgender anti-violence organization," said Gregory.

Jessica Katzenmeyer has been on the front lines for Forge, advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. Now, she's pressing forward to advocate for all people.

"I know I can make a difference. I know I can make an impact here in the state," said Katzenmeyer, democratic candidate for State Senate District 5.

CBS 58 sat down with Katzenmeyer following Tuesday's state senate district five win over opponent Tom Palzewicz, with 54 percent of the vote.

"I think that we literally shocked the state of Wisconsin on Tuesday night. I was getting messages from all over," said Katzenmeyer.

Nationally, the 2022 midterms have a record number of LGBTQ+ candidates - over a thousand. Among them, 46 transwomen - 27 of them running for state legislature.

"Being trans is a big part of my identity, but people should vote for me because they know that I'll fight for them," said Katzenmeyer.

Wisconsin has never had a transwoman get this close to holding state office.

"And what's most important too, that historic aspect is the long-term impact it has in terms of diversifying our legislature and showing young trans people that they have an advocate in the state legislature who's working for them, hopefully opening doors for others to follow," said Gregory.

Katzenmeyer faces republican candidate Rob Hutton in the November election. Hutton was unopposed in the primary.

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