Photo via David Sokup for State Senate District 20
A 32-year-old Minnesota man said while he’s “not a career politician” it’s not stopping Davin Sokup from running for the 20th Senate District, challenging the state’s incumbent GOP Sen. Rich Draheim in 2020.
If elected, he will be Minnesota’s first openly transgender legislator.
In a statement posted on his website, Sokup said: “I look around our community, I see economic issues that affect us all. These issues are holding working-class families back and stifling the next generation of small local businesses. They’re preventing families from building their lives here or retiring comfortably in the community they’ve invested their lives in.”
His campaign embraces the fact that he’s different than most other people running for governmental positions.
“I’m not a traditional candidate. I’m a blue-collar millennial. I’m also a small-business owner grappling with student loan debt. And I’m transgender. A dozen years ago, I transitioned from female to male. For a long time, I felt this prevented me from running for office because I thought people would never elect a transgender candidate. Today, I see things differently.”
Sokup wrote that he knows first-hand what it feels like to have people in government make decisions for people without having ever met them,
“Our legislature lacks people at the table who come from a diverse set of backgrounds.
It’s time our policy-makers reflect the uniqueness that makes Minnesota what it is,” Sokup said.
He said that coming out and transitioning has helped him become who he is today. “I believe it will make me a better advocate for our community. I understand how it feels when there is no voice at the Capitol that sounds like yours, and I’m here to help put your voice first. Government can be a tool for positive change if people and their stories are heard and represented,” he wrote.
Transgender representation in legislation throughout the United States is only just beginning. Virginia Delegate, Danica Roem, was the first openly transgender state legislator. She was only elected two years ago.
Under the slogan “building a greater Minnesota,” Sokup hopes to turn around the district.
He told the Tribune that he knows it is becoming more difficult to find affordable housing and pay for basic necessities in the area due to the cost of living rising.
His campaign will focus on issues such as wage stagnation, climate change and “bringing good-paying green jobs to our community.”