Transforming Oklahoma literately

Brittany Novotny is hoping to become Oklahoma’s first trans-gender state representative — by giving the boot to Sally Kern.
By Michelle Garcia

Brittany Novotny sent a letter to Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern this week — she of the quotable statements “Gays are a bigger threat to the nation than terrorism or even Islam” and “We’re trying to teach 2-year-olds that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.”

The letter was Novotny’s way of introducing herself, letting Kern know she plans to run against her in the upcoming election after several of Kern’s constituents encouraged Novotny to take on the challenge.

“In your nearly six years in the legislature, statements you’ve made and positions you’ve taken on issues have encouraged division instead of unity and pushed new business away from Oklahoma,” she wrote. “People are ready for a change.”

But Novotny is not just another outraged citizen. The 30-year-old practicing attorney is an alumna of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, a member of the national Democratic Party, and the first transgender person to chair the Young Democrats’ LGBT Caucus. After running her own law practice for four years, Novotny took a position with the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 916, where she handles cases for union members.

And she even handles her own Twitter account.

The Advocate: Did you anticipate that you would be running for office when you were younger?
Brittany Novotny: It was certainly something on my horizon — something that hoped I could do. I was involved with student government in college, and I decided it was a career that I at least hoped I could obtain.

Months before Kern was reelected in 2008 was the event that made her famous to a lot of people, when a video in which she called gays, among other things, more dangerous than terrorists was posted on the Internet. Why do you think she was reelected?
There’s a lot of factors as to why she won reelection in 2008. Most Oklahomans are good people, and they really didn’t agree with a lot of her comments. They may not be pro-gay rights, but they’re certainly not antigay homophobes by any sense of the imagination. But that being said, it requires a lot of time, effort, and money to run a campaign, and we haven’t had anyone with that kind of time or the kind of money that was needed to do the job here in house district 84. I don’t think people with vote against somebody just because of something they said. They need somebody that they will vote for.

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