SILVERTON, Ore. – Plenty of politicians reinvent themselves. But none quite like Mayor-elect Stu Rasmussen.
Rasmussen, 60, has been a fixture in Silverton politics for more than 20 years and had twice before been the mayor of this small city 45 miles south of Portland. Those terms, however, were before the breast implants and before the once-discreet cross-dresser started wearing dresses and 3-inch high heels in public.
In a week when America loudly chose its first African-American president, Silverton quietly made Rasmussen the country’s first openly transgender mayor, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that works to help openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people win elected office.
Rasmussen unseated incumbent Mayor Ken Hector, with whom he had long clashed – 1,988 votes to 1,512. Because Rasmussen’s appearance is no secret, it was policy issues that dominated the campaign.
“I’ve blackmail-proofed myself,” Rasmussen said.
The story of Rasmussen’s election was first reported by JustOut, a bimonthly publication for Portland’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.