Colorado elects first ever openly gay man to become governor in the US

Colorado elects first ever openly gay man to become governor in the US

Yesterday, Americans across the nation took to the polls in order to vote in the midterm elections. Tensions were high as both Republicans and Democrats encouraged their supporters to have their say, with many politicians seeing the ballot as an unofficial referendum on Donald Trump's presidency.

The Republicans maintained their grip on the senate by a small majority, but lost control of the house to the Democrats for the first time in eight years. This is obviously a huge win for blue voters, as President Trump's policymaking powers will be restricted from here on in.

More than that, though, this election was groundbreaking for a number of other reasons. A record number of women and LGBTQ candidates won seats this time around, with Jared Polis becoming the first ever openly gay man to make it to the house of representatives as a governor.

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at an election night rally on November 6, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Polis defeated incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton to become the first openly gay man elected Governor in the country.(Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

The state of Colorado made history in their decision to elect Polis, a Democrat, to succeed the term-limited John Hickenlooper (also Dem.).

The 43-year-old previously served as a congressman for five terms, and based his campaign on his promise to fight for renewable energy standards and publicly-funded education for preschoolers and kindergarteners. He also placed particular emphasis on Trump's attitude towards public healthcare, and promised to fight against efforts to privatise the industry further. This was a huge issue for voters in Colorado, as many of those in the more rural areas pay some of the nation's highest insurance premiums.

As well as this being a victory for the state, however, Polis' success is also a huge win for LGBTQ people.

Historically, gay/trans/queer individuals have been excluded from the political sphere, and Polis' election is a benchmark for positive change in the USA. After all, it was only a few years ago that marriage between same-sex couples became legal, and the current administration has been notoriously against transgender individuals.

"I live in Colorado and voted for Polis and had no idea he was gay. I think this means we’re making progress," said one person on Twitter. "A persons sexuality should have no bearing on how people feel about them."

"It makes me really happy that he was chosen based on the content of his character and his qualifications for the job, rather than being discounted for the consensual things he does in the bedroom," said another.

"I really think that we are at our best as a nation, as a society, when our elected officials are fully representative of the people they're elected to work for," Polis himself told ABC News. "That means we should have our communities of colour represented, women represented, the LGBTQ community represented. And the more diversity we have in elected leadership, responsible positions, I think the better result we'll have."

Polis' opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, did his best to disparage his opponent by claiming that Polis' ideas would "bankrupt" the state, but he could not rally enough support from voters. He did not have a great chance to begin with, however, as Colorado has not had a Republican governor since 2007.