Political novice Nika Lomazzo hopes to become the first openly transgender Rhode Island state representative. Lomazzo has never held or run for elected office before. She says she’s only become politically active in the past year and a half, inspired in part by the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
“The time is now,” Lomazzo said. “If there is ever a right time to do this--specifically a young person who is an activist that doesn’t have political acumen and experience-- the time is definitely now.”
The 22-year old Lomazzo currently works as a waitress, and says she’s hoping to appeal to working-class voters on the west side of Providence.
“As much as I will always advocate for trans and LGBT and Q people in the state and in my district, my campaign is so much more about working class rights, gentrification, affordable housing, etc.,” said Lomazzo, who is part of a growing national trend.
Before November 2017, the Washington D.C.-based Victory Fund, which helps train LGBTQ candidates to run for office, reported only six openly transgender people held elected office nationwide out of 520,000 possible seats.
That number more than doubled this November, to a total of 14, according to Victory Fund spokesman Elliot Imse. But transgender issues aren’t what got these candidates elected Isme said.
“They weren’t talking about trans issues,” Imse explained. “They were talking about the real bread and butter issues that affect the lives of their constituents, and that’s why we saw so many wins on Election Day.”
In Providence, Lomazzo is running for state rep in a primary against Democrat John Lombardi, a seasoned politician, who has held the office since 2012.