Oct 31, 2014 7:59 AM

Transgender Republican bids for Nevada Assembly

The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. - A Nevada Republican is trying to unseat an incumbent Democratic assemblyman in a blue-collar district in Sparks to become the first openly transgender person to serve in a state Legislature.

Lauren Scott used to be a Democrat who worked on Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, and she has her picture with Vice President Joe Biden on her website.

She admits many people thought her candidacy was a "bit of a joke."

But the 51-year-old businesswoman says voters are learning there's more to her platform than just civil rights. Scott founded a company that manufactures semiconductor equipment and won an Air Force Commendation Medal during Operation Desert Storm.

She thinks the GOP's strong showing in early voting could help her pull off an upset against first-term Democrat Mike Sprinkle.

In 2012, Stacie Laughton, of Nashua, N.H., was elected to the state House of Representatives. She would have been the first openly transgendered person to serve in a state legislator, but because she was a convicted felon, the attorney general ruled she couldn't serve.

In New Hampshire, convicted felons are ineligible to hold public office until they received a final discharge from prison. The attorney general's office said that had not yet happened.

Laughton appealed to the Ballot Law Commission, who upheld that ruling. Laughton resigned in late November of that year before ever serving.

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