California is the state of stars. Cinema and TV stars, that is. So it makes sense that their politics would represent their most well-known citizens, and California has a long history of stars-turned-politicians. Now, another star is reaching for the governorship of the state. Caitlyn Jenner, Olympian and Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, has officially announced her bid for governor, promising to be an honest leader if elected.
Caitlyn Jenner For Governor
Jenner, born William “Bruce” Jenner in October 28, 1949, is from New York. As a child, Jenner suffered from dyslexia but was exceedingly skilled at sports, a talent that would shape her career for the next few decades. After an injury forced her to quit football, Jenner embraced the decathlon and competed in the 1972 Olympics where she won a bronze medal. Jenner returned to the Olympics in 1976, where she won a gold medal for the decathlon and broke a world record.
Jenner starred in several TV shows and movies, and was a spokesperson for Wheaties. While still identifying as Bruce, Jenner later married Kris Jenner, Matriarch of the Kardashian family. The family starred on KUWTK and gained notoriety. But by the mid-2010’s, then-Bruce was ready to share a stunning revelation with the world: she is transgender. Jenner came out as a transwoman in 2015, and her marriage to Kris dissolved that same year.
Controversially, Jenner supported former President Donald J Trump, a move which had LGBTQ community members crying foul due to the Republican party’s sometimes shaky history with supporting their rights issues. However, Jenner later distanced herself from Trump after the former President rolled back several rules protecting transgender rights.
But that hasn’t stopped Jenner from cashing in on her in-the-know cards. Jenner has cobbled together a star group of Trump’s former campaign advisors, including Tony Fabrizio, Steven Cheung, and the controversial Brad Parscale, to help in her bid for governor.
Jenner promises to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative – a contradiction that has been proven in recent years to be an unsustainable balance. Nonetheless, Jenner promises, “I have been a compassionate disrupter throughout my life, from representing the United States and winning a gold medal at the Olympics to helping advance the movement for equality.”
Jenner promises to crowbar entrenched politicians out of their seats and engage in a now-or-never battle against the one-party legislating she believes is ruining the state. Jenner continues, “Californians want better and deserve better from their governor. For too long, career politicians have over-promised and under-delivered. We need a leader with a vision and the resolve to see it through. This will be a campaign of solutions, providing a roadmap back to prosperity to turn this state around and finally clean up the damage [CA Governor Gavin] Newsom has done to this state.”
Jenner promises to tackle high taxes and the stuttered state response to the pandemic, highlighting Newsom’s hypocrisy in requiring citizens to stay home while himself going out and dining with large groups in public. But love her or hate her, she’s in!
California’s History of Star Politicians
Jenner is not the first star of TV and movies to grace the halls of politics in California.
Most recently, the very seat Jenner is bidding for was held by none other than superstar of the big screen, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The last Republican governor of the state of California, Schwarzenegger was wildly popular while in office.
Another star to hold the seat of California governor was none other than former President Ronald Reagan. The actor-turned-president was governor of CA in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.
The governor’s seat is not the only coveted by the Hollywood greats. Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, often recently receiving attention for extremist views, was the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a California town, in the ’80’s. And music superstar of the ’70’s Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs, CA, in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s.
One of Hollywood’s greatest royalty legends, Shirley Temple, even took a stab at politics, running for a US congressional seat. Temple, unfortunately, lost that bid but was later appointed US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, later serving under former President Gerald Ford as the first woman Chief of Protocol.
Caitlyn Makes History with Her Bid
While not the first California star to aim for politics, Jenner is nonetheless breaking boundaries. Across, the US, there are few transgender people currently in politics, but 2020 saw a big leap forward.
In Delaware, Sarah McBride – LGBTQ activist and the first openly transgender person to work in the White House under former President Barack Obama– became the first openly transgender state senator, and the highest ranting transgender official in the country.
In Vermont, Taylor Small -director of the Health & Wellness program at the Pride Center of Vermont- became the first openly transgender person elected to state legislature.
And Stephanie Byers – former public school teacher and Chicasaw Nation member – defeated her opponent to become Kansas’ first transgender elected official.
Brianna Titone – geologist, former firefighter, and app developer – became Colorado’s first transgender official.
Lisa Bunker -a novelist who worked in commercial broadcasting for years – was recently re-elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Jenner would be California’s first transgender governor if elected – but she faces steep odds. Jenner will be running as a Republican, a nearly singular position for a transgender person – and will have to fight her reputation of support for Trump, wildly unpopular in California.
Nonetheless, Jenner is prepared to show up and fight, and break boundaries and push progress in the meantime. Jenner is coming for Newsom’s seat, and California will have quite the choice. More information will be released along with an official notice in the coming weeks.