Eagan's Paula Overby plans to be the state's first transgender candidate for Congress [AUDIO]

PaulaOverby2.jpg
Olivia LaVecchia
Overby, Minnesota's first transgender candidate for Congress.
There's a new candidate in the race to unseat Rep. John Kline in the Second Congressional District, and she's the first transgender person to run to represent Minnesota in the U.S. House.

See Also:
- GOP Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline taking heat for supporting "forcible rape" language
- North American Old Catholic Church to ordain transgender priest in Minneapolis


Paula Overby, a quality assurance analyst who hasn't previously run for political office, doesn't want her gender identity to define her campaign. But, she says, her life experiences give her a different set of qualifications than most career politicians.

"You don't just wake up one day and decide, 'I think I'll run for Congress,'" Overby explains. "It was a lengthy series of events. A lot of it has to do with the social injustice I've lived with, and just a recognition of the need."

For 49 of her 59 years, Overby struggled to live as a man. About 10 years ago, she began to explore her transgender identity, and after seven years as "a man in a dress," Overby says, she started presenting as bi-gender. Two years ago, she finally decided to make the transition to being a woman.

The process of transitioning has been "liberating," Overby says, and has also resulted in a political awakening. After a brutal four-year custody battle over the youngest of her three children, Overby felt more aware of inequalities in the political and legal systems. Now, she is making campaign finance reform and the inclusion of marginalized voters the central issues of her candidacy.

"I've been following the state party now for two years, and I do believe that the DFL is making a legitimate effort to be more inclusive," Overby says. "I felt we really needed a candidate that represents people, that understands social issues, social justice issues, child custody issues, and has a background in problem-solving and data analysis."

Overby isn't alone in the 2014 race. Rep. John Kline is the six-term Republican incumbent, but Democrat Mike Obermueller is eying his seat, as is political newcomer Thomas Craft.

Just last week, Overby got the last of the 1,000 signatures required on her filing petition, a process that involved knocking on thousands of doors. Through all of it, Overby says, she encountered just two negative reactions to her gender.

But while the response on the campaign trail has been positive, Overby's already had to confront ignorance on the commentator circuit. On August 12, Tom Barnard and the KQRS Morning Show discussed Overby's candidacy on the air in a way, Overby says, that "typifies the kind of abusive commentary that people make about transgender people."

"She looks a lot like a guy," Barnard said of Overby on the show. "When they say that they were born as a man but they now identify as a woman, does that mean they're a woman? Because I could identify as the heavyweight champion of the world and it doesn't mean a damn thing."

To Overby, the attention was reflective of the prejudice that she's running, in part, to combat. "Transgender women as a whole are very highly persecuted and we're grossly sensationalized," Overby says. "Even within the GLBT community, what I'm doing is an enormous challenge."

Here's the clip from the show:



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17 comments
yeah
yeah

Because when it comes to elected officials the more emotionally and mentally fucked up the better

gaelkf
gaelkf

In these times of a Corporate take over of our country, there are serious economic, judicial, trade, and environmental  issues, gender identification doesn't make the list.

K_Stechpro
K_Stechpro

Tom Barnard is a disgusting pig, too uneducated to actually get into a college where he could have fulfilled his insatiable desire to be a frat boy.  He did VO work for my company for a long time, until I actually had a discussion with him.  I quickly realized I didn't even want his voice connected in any way with my company.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Rebecca Allen KQ's rating continue to plummet. The pool of folks who listen to the same handful or 20 to 30 year old songs over and over is shrinking everyday.

K_Stechpro
K_Stechpro

Oh.  And not for nothing, but I won't be voting for Ms. Overby. I think Representative Kline has done a good job for our district and deserves to be re-elected. Anyone who has bad things to say about Ms. Overby based on--or, for that matter, any newspaper that focuses on--her gender than her qualifications, is classless.

yeah
yeah

@K_Stechpro Kline is the man. It's nice having someone around who doesn't vote in lockstep with the crazies. 

gaelkf
gaelkf

@K_Stechpro Seriously, if you believe John Kline has done a good job, you are misinformed or delusional.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@yeah @K_Stechpro He votes identical to Michele Bachmann.  Try to not be such a stupid poorly informed asshole all the time. John Kline had his chance, he is too cowardly to stand up to Michele Bachmann. 

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@K_Stechpro @MicheleBachmann  lol you are a douche you think you should get special treatment because you are rich and you are happy politicians like John Kline agree with you.  Also fuck you and your phony boring claims.  Keep doing your charity work so you can brag about it douche. 

K_Stechpro
K_Stechpro

@MicheleBachmann 

*sigh*  Again, well reasoned and hardly emotional at all. 

I am a douchebag simply because I own a business? I apologize for creating a  business that employees dozens of people, has been nominated as a WME business 3 of the last five years for, among other things, having a saalry structure that values the work of all employees and compensating no employee at more than 7.5 times the rate of the lowest paid employee.

The issue which Representative Kline's office helped us related to getting the US Department of Education to evaluate a charter school that serves primarily youth in foster services--hardly something to benefit my rich douchebag business. 

Oh, and since you really want to prejudge me, at least get this part right:  I am rich *Asian* douchebag--my parents are from Vietnam.

K_Stechpro
K_Stechpro

@MicheleBachmann

Thank you for your valuable insights. I will now reconsider my vote based on your calm demeanor and pithy, trenchant and germaine analysis.

I am by no means a lock step Republican voter. I vote across party lines; I am, for example, a strong supporter, both financially and politically, of both of our US Senators. My comments about Representative Kline reflect specific work his office did within his own Congressional District in working with businesses and residents to address a challenging problem--to the benefit of the district. I do not agree with some of his political decisions, and I have let him know that. That said, my neighbors and I have had better luck working with his office in addressing some

For what its worth, generalizing about politicians based on their political affiliations and calling people names does little to cause me to reflect on my decisions about whom to support. I suspect it also does little to engender the willingness of others to overcome bipartisan bickering.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@gaelkf @K_Stechpro John Kline does a crap job.  He votes in lockstep with Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Republicans. He is a coward who never stands up to all the crazy things Republicans do.

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