Danica Roem is damn smart. Her well-trained mind — not her gender — will serve Virginia and her constituents well.
About a decade and a half ago, Dan Roem sat through a few of my courses en route to learning how to be a journalist. He learned from other profs as well, including Pulitzer winner John Hanchette.
Dan was loud, profane, and pushy — all qualities I admire in a budding, ink-stained wretch. He didn’t give a damn if he annoyed university bureaucrats by asking questions they didn’t want to answer. He was a musician, too — long hair and loud voice as a metal master.
He graduated and became what he wanted to be — a goddamned good journalist. He returned to campus several times to talk in classes about the profession. He was loud, pushy, and profane.
The student I knew and admired returned again last year to talk to classes. But now, that student had become Danica Roem.
Read today’s news, and you’ll find that Danica Roem has been elected a delegate in the Virginia legislature, ousting a 13-term Republican incumbent who had a spotty legislative record and tried to impose a socially conservative agenda on the state. And failed.
Danica is transgender. All through her campaign, she downplayed that and campaigned on issues she reported on as a journalist in her district. She did not bring it up — other journalists and her political opponents did.
Virginia will be better off because Danica’s in its legislature. It’s not because she’s “the first transgender legislator,” which too many media outlets made the focus of her victory.
It’s because Danica Roem is damn smart — and still loud, pushy, and profane. Her well-trained mind — not her gender — will serve Virginia and her constituents well.