Rosemary Ketchum becomes the first out transgender WV official; focused on fixing potholes, not photo ops

West Virginia

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)- Rosemary Ketchum has been declared the winner of Ward 3 of Wheeling City Council. 

And with less than 24 hours holding the new title, Ketchum has gained national fame today for reasons that extend past her newly elected seat in the friendly city. 

Ketchum is the first out transgender woman to be elected in the state of West Virginia, and she takes a spot among only one of 27 in the whole country. 

But with Rosemary’s 1-year campaign for re-election, the topic of her identity is not the choice focal point. Instead, she says it should be about what the Third Ward deems important. 

To make criticisms about the promises I’ve made or the positions that I hold, that’s fair game. But you know, talking about a person’s identity is incredibly vulnerable. And, I don’t think we have a space for that.

Rosemary Ketchum, Newly-elected 3rd Ward councilwoman

Rosemary beat out three other candidates for the 3rd Ward seat; with her platform to tackle homelessness and vacant properties in Wheeling. 

But while 99 percent of the people in the Friendly city have been friendly; Rosemary says with 26 years being transgender in West Virginia, it builds thick skin.

You never anticipate to go viral, however, I feel really good about it. The response has been incredible. And, one of the things I am most proud of is that we are really beating back the stigma that people hold for the folks of West Virginia.

Rosemary Ketchum, Newly-elected 3rd Ward councilwoman

And improving West Virginia is exactly her goal. The councilwoman says the Wheeling-feeling is on the right tack for diversity. And as she takes a seat among council, she has been received with open arms. 

Ketchum will begin representing her ward July 1st. 

She says it’s all still setting in. 

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