(Video added — Charley)
Yesterday, Alexandra Chandler announced that she is a candidate for the seat vacated by Nikki Tsongas for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. Chandler is a trans woman who, until 2016, was the division chief at the Office of Navy Intelligence.
I recently met with her and was amazed at her breadth of knowledge and her passion for protecting American democracy from the horror in the Oval Office – and she speaks from a position of actual knowledge of the role played by intelligence agencies, whom the train wreck in the White House has called “Nazis”.
What was most impressive about her, though, was the grace and dignity with which she carries herself. This, also, is in stark contrast to what we all now endure every day.
This grace is all the more remarkable when one considers her personal story of challenge after challenge followed by courage.
She is the first trans person to make a publicly-facing gender transition in the history of her agency, and has written movingly about it in the Washington Post and other media outlets.
During the 9/11 attacks Chandler was on a subway train under Manhattan when the towers fell. She spent hours not knowing if her wife Catherine had survived. That day, Chandler made the decision to join Naval Intelligence where she served for 12 years thwarting weapons of mass destruction programs in countries like North Korea and Iran and targeting arms smuggling to war zones and terrorist groups.
The language she is most comfortable with is very much in the mainstream on both economic issues and on matters of national security and public safety, which could be a surprisingly good match in this relatively conservative district, while her identity and story may provide a lucrative vein for fundraising.
In this wide open race, if she can tap that money, Chandler could be the sleeper candidate in what may be turning out to be the year of the transgender activist, although that is not the way Chandler sees it. She told me that she is not the transgender candidate, just a security-oriented Mom who has actually protected this nation on the barricades.
In addition to playing a key role in supporting organizations working on LGBT health, Alexandra is a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, where she is an expert on clean energy.
As the only candidate in the race with a national security background – a Russian-speaking lawyer and former intelligence analyst – Chandler says that she is determined to stand up for American democracy, and ensure Russia never dares to interfere with our elections again.
Chandler is a graduate of Brown University with a A.B. in International Relations and received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School. She is married to Catherine Chandler, her partner of 22 years, with whom she has two young sons (5 and 2 years old). She lives in Haverhill, Mass., with three generations of the Chandler family, including her parents, her wife, and their two sons.
Her website, which features a well-produced introduction video, is at:
I think she has the potential to blow the race open. I dare you to watch this video and still say I’m dreaming.