Breaking News:

Alabama Senate race live updates: Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
68°
Clear
H 73° L 43°
  • clear-night
    68°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 73° L 43°
  • clear-night
    44°
    Morning
    Clear. H 73° L 43°
  • clear-day
    57°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 61° L 45°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Gen Politics
Who is Danica Roem? Virginia elects first openly transgender state legislator
Close

Who is Danica Roem? Virginia elects first openly transgender state legislator

What You Need To Know About Danica Roem

Who is Danica Roem? Virginia elects first openly transgender state legislator

Many political contenders earned new titles as the results from Election Day rolled in Tuesday, but one Virginia politician also became a history maker as the first openly transgender woman elected and seated in a U.S. state legislature.

>> Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend was killed on live TV, wins Virginia delegate seat

Democrat Danica Roem, a wife and stepmother of one, beat out 25-year, 13-term incumbent Republican Del. Bob Marshall for the House of Delegates position. 

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” Roem said Tuesday night as the votes were still being counted. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias ... where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

>> Read more trending news 

This is Roem’s first political position. Want to learn more about her? Here are five things you should know:

Roem’s race with Marshall was contentious.

Marshall helped introduce the controversial “bathroom bill," which would restrict the bathrooms transgender individuals would use. While the legislation did not pass, Marshall continued to voice his opinions about the LGBT community. The self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” refused to debate Roem in person and referred to her using male pronouns. He also produced several ads denouncing Roem’s transgender identity. One read, “Danica Roem In His Own Words,” and another stated, “Danica Roem, born male, has made a campaign issue out of transitioning to female.”

>> On AJC.com: Spelman College to admit transgender female students

The Democrat raised more money than her Republican opponent.

The Virginia native raised $500,000, according to The Washington Post. Many of the donations came from LGBT advocates and supporters. While District 13 only has 52,471 registered voters, she reportedly knocked on doors more than 75,000 times. Marshall’s campaign said staffers knocked on voters’ doors about 49,000 times. 

She began her physical transformation about four years ago.

The 33-year-old started her transgender transition in 2013. She began hormone replacement therapy and later changed her name from “Dan” to “Danica."

Roem was an award-winning newspaper reporter.

She graduated from St. Bonaventure University in New York with a degree in journalism. For nine years, she worked for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times as a reporter and editor. During her stint as a journalist, she was awarded by the Virginia Press Association seven times. 

She plays in a metal band in her spare time. 

Roem sings in a metal band called Cab Ride Home. She’s the lead vocalist of the five-member ensemble, and they have performed more than 100 shows, including in the U.K., according to their website

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are calling on the House Oversight Committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct levied against President Donald Trump, a group of female U.S. representatives said at a news conference Tuesday. >> Read more trending news More than a dozen women have accused the president of forced kissing, unwanted groping and making inappropriate sexual comments since 2015, when Trump announced his plan to run for office. The allegations span decades. The president has repeatedly denied the claims. The chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, said Tuesday that “the time is right to get the truth” about the allegations. She said a letter requesting a congressional investigation had garnered more than 100 signatures from Democratic lawmakers by Tuesday afternoon. >> Related: Who is accusing Trump of sexual misconduct? “The #MeToo movement has arrived,” Frankel said. “Sexual abuse will not be tolerated, whether it’s by a Hollywood producer, the chef of a restaurant, a member of Congress or the president of the United States.” The letter, sent to the chair and vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that the president has made statements that have appeared to give credence to the allegations against him. “The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women,” the letter said, referencing a 2005 video from “Access Hollywood” in which Trump could be heard making crude comments about women.  “Subsequently, Mr. Trump apologized and called it ‘locker room talk.’ He has since called all his accusers liars.” >> Related: Melania Trump defends husband's lewd comments about women as 'boy talk' Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, the vice president of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said Tuesday that Americans “deserve to have a thorough investigation that will reveal the facts.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the call for an investigation as unnecessary and unwanted by the American people. “The president has answered these questions,” she said Tuesday at a news briefing. “He has spoken to these accusations and denied and pushed that they are all false and fabricated accusations. Frankly, I think if Congress wants to spend time investigating things they should prob focus on some of the thins that the American people would really like to investigate, like how to secure our borders, how to defeat ISIS (or) how to pass tax reform that actually impacts them.” Four of Trump’s accusers on Monday called on Congress to investigate Trump’s behavior. Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Lisa Boyne first accused Trump of sexual harassment in the run-up to last year’s election. “They’ve investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that (Trump) be investigated as well,” Holvey said Monday at a news conference. “I think also a nonpartisan investigation is very important, not just for him but for anybody that has allegations against them. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is how women are treated every day.” The pressure to investigate Trump’s actions has grown as the “#MeToo” movement has encouraged more women to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Earlier this month, three lawmakers announced their intention to resign or retire amid sexual harassment scandals. >> Related: Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, announced last week that he plans to resign in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by several women. He was accused of groping women as they posed for photos with him and forcibly kissing at least two people. Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations but said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last week that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.
  • Orlando Police worry that  a man wanted for a shooting and robbery outside a motel room will seriously hurt someone if not caught soon. It happened at the Super 8 on American Way.   OPD Detective Adam Krudo said the victim’s cellphone was stolen and then was shot in the lower torso. He is expected to recover.
  • The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is set to make for a spectacular view of the cosmos this month. December’s robust Geminids are known to throw as many as 120 bright meteors per hour and can be viewed during the evening hours as well as predawn. Astronomers expect the most meteors to be visible Tuesday night through Thursday.  “This is it, the shower we’ve all been waiting for,” astronomer Bob King said in his Dec. 11 column for Sky and Telescope. “Not only is it the year’s most prolific shower, the moon is essentially out of the picture.” In 2016, the luminous glow of a full moon obscured the zippy Geminids, but this year the moon is in its crescent phase, a slender slice of light in the sky that shouldn’t interrupt the show.  >> Read more trending news The Geminids are unique not just in quantity but also birthplace. Most meteor showers come from comets, roiling cauldrons of gas, dust, ice and rock that have glowing heads and tails. According to NASA, Geminids appear as the Earth crosses the path of an inactive chunk of rock in space that doesn’t shed debris. The rock has been named 3200 Phaethon. “Phaethon’s nature is debated,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke said. “It’s either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet.” The Geminids are Cooke’s favorite “because they defy explanation.” King cautions that the estimate of 120 meteors per hour is an idealized number, visible only under perfect conditions in rural areas.  “Depending on the time you observe and local light pollution, counts will vary,” King said. “At my observing site, which is handicapped by minor to moderate sky glow, I cut the rate in half to keep expectations realistic. A meteor a minute is certainly nothing to complain about.”  The Geminids are the namesake of the Gemini constellation, from which they appear to radiate. The shower can be viewed with the naked eye over clear, dark skies across most of the world. As long as stargazers are away from bright lights and look up in any direction, they should be able to see the shower, according to NASA. The shower peaks just after 9 p.m. Dec. 13 and lasts until dawn Dec. 14. “When you see a meteor, try to trace it backwards,” Cooke said. “If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there's a good chance you've seen a Geminid.” NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live on Ustream Dec. 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • A former Facebook executive says he feels “tremendous guilt” about the social network, which is “destroying how society works.” Chamath Palihapitiya was the company’s vice president of user growth from  2007 to 2011.  According to The Verge, he thinks Facebook has created tools “that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he told the Stanford Graduate School of Business, referring to online interactions drive by hearts, likes and thumbs-ups.  “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.  And it’s not an American problem - this is not about Russians ads.  This is a global problem.” Facebook responded to the former employee, an unusual step. “Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years,” a company spokesperson told The Verge. “When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world.  Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too.” Recently, early investor Sean Parker said he has become a “conscientious objector” to social media, and that Facebook and others had succeeded by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” 
  • Trading barbs with President Donald Trump via Twitter on Tuesday, women Democrats demanded that Congress investigate past claims of sexual misconduct leveled against the President during the 2016 campaign, as several lawmakers took the extra step of asking for Mr. Trump’s resignation. “President Trump should resign. But, of course, he won’t hold himself accountable,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who has emerged as the leader of efforts to pressure the President on the issue of past allegations. Mr. Trump lobbed a Twitter barb directly at the New York Democrat on Tuesday morning, labeling her a “lightweight” and “total flunky.” Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017 Gillibrand answered back, saying her voice would not be shut down by the President. You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office. https://t.co/UbQZqubXZv — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 12, 2017 And she was joined by other Democrats as well, in calling for the stories about the President to get more of a public airing. . @realDonaldTrump is a misogynist, compulsive liar, and admitted sexual predator. Attacks on Kirsten are the latest example that no one is safe from this bully. He must resign. https://t.co/7lNI23K7ib — Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 12, 2017 Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand? Do you know who you're picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump. Nevertheless, #shepersisted. https://t.co/mYJtBZfxiu — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 12, 2017 A day after the White House turned aside questions about past claims made by women against the President, Mr. Trump directly addressed the matter, saying that it was all “FAKE NEWS,” calling the charges against him nothing more than ‘false accusations and fabricated stories.’ Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017 At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, a group of House Democratic women asked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the head of the House Oversight committee, to investigate the accusations against Mr. Trump. “At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct,” the letter to Gowdy stated. “The President’s own remarks appear to back up the allegations,” the letter continued. “The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women.” “The ‘Me-Too’ movement has arrived,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL). “Victims must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable.” 'To date, more than 17 women have publicly come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct,' lawmaker says. 'Simply said, Americans deserve the truth.' https://t.co/mIxkZRGYzP pic.twitter.com/QhBvmGSxE1 — CBS News (@CBSNews) December 12, 2017 At a news conference, Frankel said the letter – which originally had 58 signatures – had swiftly jumped to over 100 in all. “Americans deserve the truth,” Frankel told reporters. While the Democratic women were in the spotlight, some of their male colleagues also chimed in with calls for a more thorough review of the accusations against Mr. Trump. “If you called for Franken to step down, don’t you also have to say it is the right thing for the President to resign?” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on CNN.