NASHUA – What Stacie Laughton wants people to see is that she is just like everyone else.
If elected in November, Laughton believes that she will be the first openly transgender member of the state House of Representatives. But Laughton wants voters to focus on the issues rather than her identity.
Laughton finalized her plans to run for state office Thursday morning, filing her paperwork at City Hall with a group of other candidates.
“It was a sign of solidarity,” Laughton said of filing together. “It was a special moment.”
To Laughton’s knowledge, she is the first openly transgender person to run for state office.
“It was a surprise to me,” she said. “I wasn’t really even thinking about that. I’m mostly thinking about the issues. It’s a honor to know that I’m the first.”
Laughton is more focused on using the position as an opportunity to improve society: advocating for the homeless, those in low-income housing, and those with mental illnesses and physical disabilities. She also said she would like to strengthen the public school system.
Most of all, Laughton doesn’t want her identity to be viewed as a hindrance.
“I want to educate the best and brightest minds, and really start with an early foundation,” she said.
Laughton has been interested in politics since a young age. At 16, she took her passion for politics a step further. After unsuccessful bids to run for positions in Laconia, Laughton returned to Nashua and became a candidate for an alderman position.
“I decided that voters deserved competence, and that this was something I could obtain,” she said. “I still had it in the back of my mind that state rep was what I wanted to do.”
A friend who is a state representative told her that it was a position she should explore.
“It was kind of like an ‘aha’ moment for me,” Laughton said. “All the things I can do politically, I can do there.”
Laughton said that while her identity is not the big picture, she will focus on issues regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community if elected.
“I will focus on some of those issues in the state,” Laughton said. “Sometimes, we have to use restrooms not of our choosing. And we need to feel comfortable to be who we are.
“I want to do something about adding more acceptance to our community.”
Gay marriage is an issue that Laughton would like to expand upon. She spoke of a couple she knew raising a child. One mother was working, although her partner could not work because she had been diagnosed with cancer. Laughton described how the woman could not receive health insurance.
“If a regular law encapsulates that, why shouldn’t gay marriage?” she asked. “I think that it was a good step, but I’d like to cover all of the bases.”