Christine Hallquist is an American politician and former CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC). She is the first openly transgender major party nominee for governor in the United States, winning the Democratic nomination with over 40% of the vote on August 14, 2018. Hallquist worked at VEC from 1998 to 2018, the last 12 years as CEO, when she resigned to run for governor. Drawing national attention as a pioneering example of a CEO transitioning while in office, her transition was documented by her son in an award-winning documentary, Denial.
Hallquist grew up in Baldwinsville, New York. She attended Catholic school as a child. She moved to Vermont at age 20 and worked for IBM as an electrical engineer. Hallquist lives in Hyde Park, Vermont, and has three adult children and two grandchildren.
Hallquist’s professional life began at IBM, then she took a job at Digital Equipment Corporation. There she became part of a training program to become an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts and worked with Digital to create low-cost power supplies quickly using lean manufacturing. She took an early buyout from Digital and moved back to Vermont to become the CEO of a small electronics company in Barre, Vermont, then founded a consulting firm that worked with such companies as Xerox, Miller Beer, and Honda. She started at VEC as engineering and operations manager in 2000, shortly after its recovery from bankruptcy.
She announced her gubernatorial campaign in Morrisville, Vermont on April 8, and said, “I truly believe Vermont is ready to elect a transgender governor because I don’t think Vermonters are going to look at that.” Hallquist is running on a platform of increased broadband access, universal Medicare and aggressive action against climate change.
She has my vote in November.