Transgender Conservative Former State Representative Running For State Representative Once Again

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It’s a new year, and that means a former Boston city councilor and state representative will seek elected office once again.

Althea Garrison, 82, holds the distinction of being the first openly transgender state representative in Massachusetts history. Now, the conservative wants the seat back.

Garrison, an unenrolled candidate, filed to run for state representative in the state’s Fifth Suffolk District on Monday, according to the Massachusetts Office for Campaign and Political Finance. It’s the district that Garrison represented from 1993 to 1995. 

Garrison’s run comes after incumbent Democrat Liz Miranda (D-Roxbury) announced she is not seeking re-election.

Garrison is a biological male but identifies as female. Garrison has frequently run for various offices since the 1960s. These runs have come as a Republican, Democrat, and independent.

Garrison’s lone outright victory came in 1992 — as a Republican.

Garrison ran for state representative in the Fifth Suffolk District and won in 1992, in part thanks to a mistake made by a Democratic candidate. Garrison defeated Democrat Irene Roman 54.9 percent to 45 percent in the general election.

In the primary campaign, Garrison successfully challenged some of the signatures that incumbent Democrat Nelson Merced used to get onto the primary ballot. That got him thrown off the primary ballot. Therefore, Garrison didn’t have to run against an incumbent.

However, shortly after winning the election in 1992, Garrison was involuntarily outed as transgender by The Boston Herald. Garrison lost a re-election bid in 1994: 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent.

After that, Garrison continued to run for office, but wouldn’t serve in elected office for another 25 years. Garrison was a member of the Boston City Council in 2019 thanks to U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park).

Pressley beat former U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) in the 2018 Democratic primary in the state’s Seventh Congressional District and cruised to an unopposed victory in the November general election. She then resigned from the city council. The city council rules said that the person with the next highest vote total in the race would fill the term. In this case, it was Garrison, who despite having ideological differences with Pressley, campaigned for her for Congress, as WBUR reported. There were four seats available in the 2017 at-large city council race, and Garrison had come in fifth place.

Politically, Garrison is much different from Pressley. Garrison is pro-life, supports the police, and backed former President Donald Trump.

Garrison unsuccessfully sought re-election for city council in 2019. This time, she placed seventh among eight candidates. Garrison received 16,189 votes while the fourth-place finisher, councilor Julia Mejia, got 22,492 votes. The top four won seats on the council.

Garrison unsuccessfully ran for city council last year, coming in eighth place out of eight candidates on the general election ballot.

The Fifth Suffolk District includes parts of Roxbury and Dorchester.

Garrison could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.


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