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Christine Hallquist, Democratic candidate for Vermont governor, rejects socialist label

CNN logo CNN 8/15/2018 By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
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Vermont's Democratic nominee for governor Christine Hallquist, who made history Tuesday as the first transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major political party, said she's running to raise the issue of rural economic development in her home state.

"If you look at what's happening in rural Vermont, it is the same thing that's happening in rural America. We're seeing increasing rates of poverty, flights to the city, an aging demographic and we can change that," Hallquist told CNN's John Berman during an interview on "New Day" Wednesday.

She added, "It is about economic growth for the bottom 20% on the economic ladder."

Hallquist supports "Medicare for all" and raising the minimum wage. Her candidacy was backed by the Justice Democrats, the same group that helped launch progressive candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's campaign in New York.

a person standing in front of a building © CNN But she has declined embracing any labels of being a socialist.

"I'm not a person that's big on labels because I found labels are used to separate people," Hallquist told Berman. "I look at the platform of a living wage and health care for all, that is called civilized society. I don't know even how that became socialism or Republican or Democrat. Let's be a civilized society."

She later added, "I'm not sure I even know what socialism is. I don't have the background to answer that question."

Asked if she supports capitalism, Hallquist said measuring by gross domestic product is a "flawed measure because that just encourages consumption."

If she beats Republican incumbent Phil Scott in November, Hallquist will become the country's first transgender governor.

"I didn't necessarily think about what it would look like to win, but it is starting to sink in, the historic significance of this nationwide," Hallquist told Berman Wednesday morning, adding that she's "proud and honored to be making history for the nation."

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