Another First—SENATOR Sarah McBride
Delaware is renowned for being the First State. There is another first that took place on Tuesday, January 12—the first out transgender State Senator in the country. To those who know Sarah McBride, it is no surprise that she has achieved this landmark position. To those who are less familiar with Sarah, it is time to meet her up close and understand that the First District of the First State is in good hands!
Sarah has reflected on her swearing in with these words: “The privilege of representing this district is profound and I hope to honor the trust you have placed in me by pushing for bold policy in the State Senate that can make a difference for every Delawarean. We will need creativity, commitment, and courage as we face the challenges ahead of us, but I believe we have what it takes to meet this moment head on. Now is our time.”
The following is a Q & A with Senator Sarah McBride.
What did you do between the election and the start of your first term?
The months between the election and the first day of session were filled with meetings with constituents, advocates, government officials, and community leaders. I believe that all change must begin with effective listening. I love learning, so I've enjoyed the opportunity to listen and learn in order to prepare for the work ahead.
What do you hope to accomplish in your first month in office?
My focus this first month has been on enhancing and supporting the effort to get vaccines out as efficiently and effectively as possible. Beyond that, I have been working on a series of bills, ranging from support for youth aging out of foster care to paid family and medical leave. Those bills will all be worked on in the weeks and months to come!
On which Senate Committees are you serving, and what contributions do you hope to make?
I'm the new Chair of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee. In addition to helping Delaware face the COVID-19 crisis to save lives and jobs, we also need to learn from this crisis. No person should be denied the care they need because they can't afford it. We need to lower costs, expand access, and bring more providers to Delaware. Delaware should join the growing list of states with paid family and medical leave.
What funding issues will you face and advocate in this fiscal year?
In addition to paid family and medical leave, I support modernizing our school funding so that it puts money where it is needed most. I support increasing the minimum wage and lower costs for patients. The only way for Delaware to win the competition for talent and the fight for the future is if we make this a state where working families want to live, work, and play.
What has been your most pleasant surprise being a Senator?
I remain constantly in awe of the opportunity to serve a community and this state that I love so much. Growing up, the idea that someone like me could serve openly in public office seemed so impossible that it was almost incomprehensible. I still pinch myself that I have the privilege of representing communities that helped raise me, that helped shape me into the person that I am, and that sustained me through hardship. I know, though, that with privilege comes responsibility: to do the most good I can. My focus is not on my identity, but on the change I can bring, with the help of others.
In order to know what makes Senator Sarah McBride tick, and what is behind her resolve to make Delaware a better place to live, it is helpful to read the November 20, 2020 article that appeared in Elle magazine. Sarah says she is who she is today especially because of her husband, Andy Cray. Sarah and Andy, an LGBTQ health advocate himself, were married in 2014. Andy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer prior to their wedding. Four days after they exchanged vows, Andy died. The driving force for Sarah in the work she does is to ask herself, “What would Andy do?”
Today, as Sarah faces legislative battles and budget challenges, she says freely, “Andy would be proud, but he would be the first to say the work is never over.” We, too, are proud of you, Sarah.