With all the news about Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to run for president, many are unaware of an even more diverse candidate throwing her hat into the 2020 ring.
Pam Rocker, 35, is a black transgender woman who has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
Why she’s running
‘I just didn’t want to sit on the sidelines,’ Rocker told the Cincinnati Enquirer. ‘I was unhappy with the outcome of the 2016 election. Hillary, she inspired me. She lit something inside me. She opened the door for women and trans women of color to run.’
Rocker officially made up her mind to run for president in April of 2017, while on a vacation in Washington State with her husband, Victor. During a hike, overlooking a breathtaking view, Rocker decided to run.
As of 9 April, Rocker is among the candidates to officially file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Elections Bureau for 2020.
Rocker plans to campaign in Iowa this month and New Hampshire next month, both states are important primary places.
Still, Rocker knows she has some stiff competition between favorite contenders like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Regardless of this, she doesn’t think her candidacy is a lost cause.
‘It’s just like playing the lottery. You take your chances,’ she told The Enquirer.
‘Was the country ready to elect the first African-American president?’ Rocker pondered. ‘It just came by surprise. If a person is presenting themselves as a candidate who’s very seriously running for public office, why not?’
Rocker is running on a very progressive platform. She hopes to lift the federal ban on marijuana, which would allow her to use that tax money for a program giving a free car to every household, calling this initiative Freedom Car.
She also intends to make recycling mandatory and provide reparations to descendants of slaves, something like a $100 [€89.58] check for every black American.
‘I want them to know I will fight for the American people,’ Rocker stated. ‘I will fight to rebuild our reputation around the world and be more hospitable to immigration and stuff like that.’
Who is Pam Rocker?
According to Rocker, she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio among ten different foster families. She graduated from Robert A. Taft High School.
In high school, Rocker was out as a gay boy and was constantly bullied for it. On the weekends, she would dress as a woman. She refers to this period as taking ‘baby steps’ to coming out as trans.
She began to officially transition in 2005, upon moving to Los Angeles, where people were more open minded.
‘I was getting comfortable in my own skin,’ Rocker said. ‘When I moved to California, it was like, why not? Just be yourself.’
Before Rocker ever considered a career in politics, she aspired to be a rapper. She recorded some hip-hop songs under the name Pam Jones. One of her songs, titled Eat Sushi, was featured in the soundtrack of the 2008 romantic comedy Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom.
Watch Rocker’s campaign ad below:
Learn more about Rocker’s candidacy on her campaign website.