Danica Roem (/ˈroʊm/ ROHM; born September 30, 1984) is an American journalist and politician of the Democratic Party. In the 2017 Virginia elections she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, winning the Democratic primary for the 13th district on June 13, and the general election on November 7. She is the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly, and in January 2018 became the first to both be elected and serve while openly transgender in any U.S. state legislature. In December 2017 The Advocate named her as a finalist for its “Person of the Year”. In January 2018, Delegate Roem was included on the cover of Time Magazine in their “The Avengers” feature, highlighting new female candidates and elected officials from around the country.
Early life and education
Roem was born at Prince William Hospital and raised in Manassas, Virginia, the child of Marian and John Paul Roem. Her father committed suicide when she was three years old, and her maternal grandfather, Anthony Oliveto, acted as a father figure. Living in Manassas, Virginia for her whole life, she attended the majority of her schooling there. She went to Loch Lomond Elementary School for grades K-3, and then All Saints School for grades 4-8. She then attended Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia and then went to her aunt and uncle’s alma mater, St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York to pursue journalism. As a student at St. Bonaventure University, she had a 1.1 GPA her first semester and was more focused on music than homework. During her second semester, she made a comeback and raised her GPA to a 3.48 and made the Dean’s List. Her professors described her as tenacious, persistent, and one who worked for those who voices were often ignored. She moved back to Virginia after graduation.
Roem has stated that her role models growing up were Senator Chuck Colgan (D-29) and Delegate Harry Parrish (R-50) because, although they were affiliated with a party, they had more independent ideologies.
When Roem was a child, her grandfather would tell her, “the basis of my knowledge comes from reading the newspaper every day.” This influenced her to become a journalist. She was a journalist for ten and a half years. Her first job out of college, in 2006, was at the Gainesville Times in Gainesville, Virginia. Roem worked for nine years as the lead reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times. She then went to work as a news editor in August 2015 at the Montgomery County Sentinel in Rockville, Maryland, where she was employed there until December 2016. She then decided to run for public office. She said she has a wide knowledge of policy issues due to her journalism career. She won awards from the Virginia Press Association seven times.
Montgomery County Sentinel
2019 to present
2006 to 2015
- BA, Journalism
St. Bonaventure University
2019 to present
Birth Year: 1984
Place of Birth: Manassas, VA
Religion: Roman Catholic
Membership & Affiliation
- Virginia Press Association 7 awards
- Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association 4 Awards
Legislative Assistant: Gabrielle Slais
Administrative Assistant During Session: Eliza Weathers District
- Government - DelDRoem@house.virginia.gov
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
P.O. Box 726
Manassas, VA 20113
Phone: (571) 393-0242
Roem first got interested in politics in 2004 following President George W. Bush’s proposal to add a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. After that, she was interested in looking into how the government operates and how she could change it.
Roem was recruited to run for state delegate by her local Democratic Party, more specifically, by State Delegate Rip Sullivan, the recruiting chair for the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. She states that she had never considered running, but it did not take a lot of convincing.
Roem ran against Bob Marshall, who was a 13-term incumbent representative. Marshall is a self described “chief homophobe” and was a sponsor on Virginia’s bill to end same sex marriage and Virginia’s bathroom bill.
She was endorsed by the Victory Fund, EMILY’s List, Run for Something, Virginia’s List, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
She was able to raise $500,000 in donations, much of it coming from LGBTQ+ supporters and other national allies, out raising her opponent 3-to-1. Her campaign knocked on more than 75,000 doors in a district with only 52,471 voters. Her campaign was notable for the transphobic discrimination she faced. Marshall consistently attacked Roem’s gender identity through his advertisements. She was also attacked by a conversion therapy advocate, who stated that Roem was trans because her father committed suicide and her grandfather failed to serve as an adequate role model for her.[Roem stated she never wanted the focus to be about her gender identity, and instead focused mainly on traffic issues in the district that she had faced.
Roem ran as a Democrat in the 2017 election for the 13th District of the Virginia House of Delegates against Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, who has held the office for the past 25 years. In January 2017, Marshall introduced the “Physical Privacy Act” (HB 1612), a bathroom bill which died in committee two weeks later in January. Marshall has referred to himself as Virginia’s “chief homophobe”.
Roem declared her candidacy in January 2017. She received endorsements from the Victory Fund[ and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Between April 1 and June 1, Roem received 1,064 donations of under $100, the highest of any delegate candidate in the state other than Chris Hurst. Roem’s platform was based on economic and transportation issues, centered on a promise to fix Virginia State Route 28.
In July 2017, following President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military, Roem received a $50,000 donation from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
In August 2017, Roem received an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In October 2017, she was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden.
In September 2017, Roem posted a web video entitled “Inspire”, criticizing her opponent’s refusal to debate her or to refer to her as a woman. In the video, she says “There are millions of transgender people in the country, and we all deserve representation in government.”
In October 2017, Roem’s campaign received reports that residents of her district were receiving anti-transgender robocalls. Roem said the calls were being made by the American Principles Project, which has circulated a petition to “Stop Transgender Medical Experimentation on Children”. Also in October 2017, the Republican Party of Virginia mailed campaign fliers attacking comments Roem made during a September radio interview. Although the fliers, approved by Roem’s opponent, used male pronouns to refer to Roem, the party’s executive director dismissed the idea that they were attacking Roem’s gender identity.
Over the course of the campaign, she out-raised Marshall by a 5 to 1 margin, collecting over $370,000, including over 4,100 small-dollar donations from Progressive Change Campaign Committee members.
2017 State Delegate for VA House District 13
|Danica Roem (D)||12,077||53.7%|
|Robert Gerard Marshall (R)||10,318||45.9%|
|Write In (Write-in)||90||0.4%|
ROEM, DANICA has run in 1 race for public office, winning 1 of them. The candidate has raised a total of$978,782.
Source: Follow the Money
See: Vote Smart
Source: Virginia Legislative Information System
Meet Danica Roem, Virginia's First Openly Transgender Elected Official
Published on November 10, 2017
Danica Roem made history on November 7, becoming the first transgender person to be elected and seated to a state legislature. VICE had exclusive access to Roem in the final hours of her campaign. The 33-year-old stepmom now represents District 13 in northern Virginia, an area that was controlled for more than two decades by Republican Bob Marshall, one of the state’s most virulently anti-LGBT lawmakers. Roem’s success in local politics has made a national impact, setting the stage for other first-time candidates and transgender people to run for—and win—elections across the country.
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