First Transgender Elected to Office Asked to Resign Over Past Conviction
Republicans in New Hampshire's state legislature have called for the first elected transgender official in the state - and the nation - to step down in light of a newspaper article that revealed her criminal past.
Stacie Marie Laughton, a Democrat, made history this month when she was elected to a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Hillsborough County, which includes Nashua. But a story in the Laconia Daily Sun revealed that Laughton was a convicted felon who served more than four months in jail for "conspiracy to commit credit card fraud" in 2008.
Candidates can run for office in New Hampshire after they've been convicted of a felony as long as they are not incarcerated and have completed any court-ordered sentence, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State's Office.
Granite State House Majority Leader Pete Silva, R-Nashua, said Laughton's failure to inform Nashua voters about her background before the election was grounds for her resignation, according to the Nashua Patch.
"While I believe in a person's ability to be rehabilitated and become a productive member of the community, I also believe it is a candidate's duty to fully disclose their personal history to allow the voters an opportunity to make an informed decision," Silva wrote in a statement published by Nashua Patch. "Ms. Laughton failed to give the voters of her district that very basic amount of trust and respect."
In a letter to the editor from August 2009, when Laughton was running for a city council set in Laconia, she introduced herself as Stacie and said that after going through "a rocky last couple of years," she was bringing a new outlook on life to the table.
"I have made mistakes in my personal life, but I have paid my debt to society, and I believe that through that it has made me stronger and it should not damage my ability to be a city counselor," Laughton wrote. "And I ask the people of Laconia to ask questions to me so that they may know both sides of the story due to the fact that the press likes to tell only one side of what goes on."