WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Though her candidacy may be trailblazing, Kristen Browde is hoping to focus on the issues.
Browde, 66, is running for Supervisor of the Town of New Castle on the Democratic ticket. Browde, a former TV news reporter for CBS, WNBC and FOX 5, is the first transgender candidate in New York to run for office with the nomination of a major party. But Browde said her gender won't fix what ails New Castle.
"I don't hide from it," Browde, who now works as a divorce attorney, said. "But being transgender doesn't balance a budget, it doesn't fill a pothole and it won't plow the snow. It won't help people one bit, but what I do in office will."
The town has suffered from four years of broken promises under Supervisor Robert Greenstein, who will be running for a third term on the Republican ticket, Browde said.
"The towns around us have recovered nicely from the economic downturn, but we're still stagnating," Browde, who has two children, said. "It feels like we're going backward."
Browde said the town has yet to adopt a comprehensive plan, which has hurt development.
"We always hear we can't develop anything without a comprehensive plan, or this proposed development would violate the comprehensive plan," Browde said. "But is there a comprehensive plan? No. Where has this been for the last four years?"
Greenstein said developing a comprehensive plan takes time, saying the previous town board never allocated anything for the plan.
"We got the whole process started," Greenstein said. "It's on the verge of being passed."
Browde said she was inspired to run after Chappaqua's Hillary Clinton was defeated in last November's presidential election. Browde campaigned for Clinton in North Carolina, a state that passed a law eliminating anti-gay discrimination protection for LGBT individuals and requiring people use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings. A portion of the law was recently repealed.
"I was a transgender woman going door to door in North Carolina," Browde said. "I am somebody who won't back down."
Browde was critical of Greenstein for insisting a We Are All Immigrants rally held in Chappaqua in the wake of President Trump's executive order banning entry from seven Muslim-majority countries was not a rally against the president.
"When it comes time to make the right decision, he stands on the wrong side every single time," Browde said. He's well-meaning, but he's wrong every single time."
Greenstein said the rally was never meant to be a political rally, and the interfaith clergy who participated it could not be a political event.
"They didn't want to offend anyone," Greenstein said. "They have congregants who are Republicans and are Trump supporters. The rally was a message of inclusion."
Calling her historic candidacy a great honor and a great responsibility, Browde hopes she can encourage other transgender people to run for office.
"I'm not going to hide my past," Browde said. "I may be encouraging someone to not hide their future."
Browde said she has found New Castle to be a welcoming place for the LGBT community and that people embraced her transition.
"I just part my hair to the other side and I am better dressed," Browde said. "People see me with a smile on my face now. I am the same person, I am just happier now."
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